One year ago today…I drove happily to my kids AAU Basketball tourney in Cortland. I was over-excited about this new season. I am a basketball mama through and through. I loved the adventure of 3 kids playing highly intense, quick-paced games, all on different teams. I used mega brain cells plotting the different teams game times and locations. I enjoyed mapping out the weekends and looking up directions. I thoroughly enjoyed the crazy schedules and the jump-in-the-car and zip to the next game stuff. It was always so fun to watch the games and crazy wild connecting with parents and coaches as to who, when, where, how….ready, set, go…meet you there! By the end of the tourney everyone; players, coaches and parents were exhausted…but we would be refreshed by the next weekend ready to do it all again. I treasured the thought that these tournaments were a huge connector for me and my kids. I long for my children to remember me as their biggest cheerleader.
One year ago today…the walkway was sloppy, covered with fresh snow. It did not look threatening as I hurried down the path to the side door. Noah’s game was soon to start and we were moving along. Halfway to our destination, my foot slipped, and I fell over backward smashing my head on the icy pavement. I heard the sickest sounding whap as my head met the cement. I lay still… frozen in time, probably from shock, trying to process what just happened. My youngest boy Noah towered above me, looking down into my bewildered eyes. Neither of us spoke for a few moments then we both chimed in simultaneously with the exact same words, “That wasn’t good.”
One year ago today….my kids were off and running, game time! I sat on the outskirts holding a bag of ice on the back of my head. I had scarfed the ice from the concession stand after I reported to the head of AAU that the sidewalks were dangerous. I jokingly quipped, “I sure hope I didn’t just get a concussion!”
One year ago today…a kind woman approached the table where I sit alone.
“Are you okay? You don’t look so good.”
“I’m fine,” I answer. “I fell and hit my head, but I’ll be okay.”
She bought me a coke and left me with my ice, a drink, and a growing headache.
One year ago today…as the hours passed I began to grow dizzy and confused. I managed to stumble into a couple of games. I watched my kids play a few quarters. I held on to chairs and tables and walls as I walked.
“Wow,” I thought, “This stinks.”
One year ago today…I managed to drive to the hotel. Kids were in and out. Friends were around. I went to bed and slept. I would feel better after a good nights sleep.
One year ago tomorrow…I did feel better after a good nights sleep. A lot better!
With renewed strength and energy I hopped into the shower.
“Thank God that’s over,” I thought happily.
After a good hotel breakfast, I drove some girls to their next game.
One year ago tomorrow…I kept pace with the intense game schedules. I saw my kids win some and lose some. I watched good playing and dirty playing and buzzer beaters. By the end of the day though I was walking around in a daze trying desperately to find the doorway to the gym.
One year ago tomorrow… an AAU coach approached me, “Kim, are you okay?”
“I think so? I don’t know…I fell and hit my head yesterday,” My voice trailed off.
“Listen,” He replied, “You don’t look good. You need to fill put an accident report.” He led me over to the tournament Medic.
One year ago tomorrow…the Medic grew more and more concerned as he talked to me. Obviously, the blow to my head was beginning to affect my memory, my ability to concentrate and my sentence structure.
“You need to go to the ER. You should be evaluated.”
“I can’t leave, I’ve got kids here; I don’t know where I would even go.”
After promising that I would call my primary doctor as soon as I got home, I slid into a seat on the sidelines watching another game.
Well, sorta-kinda watching…the lights, the crowd yelling, the whistles.
the thud of the balls on the gymnasium floor.
the buzzers and time clocks ringing.
the players running, running, up and then down.
Another spectator leaned over to ask me a question but his words were muffled.
Life began to downtempo.
I was now living, walking, moving, talking, hearing, seeing and breathing…
in slow motion.
One year ago tomorrow…”Yes, we can stop and get food.” I responded to three hungry basketball playing kids. It had been a busy weekend. Food on the road was part of our AAU adventures. I turned into a familiar fast food joint and we ordered. “Let’s eat on the road guys, I’m really tired and I wanna get home.”
Like any good mama, I didn’t want to trouble my kids with my minor accident so I pressed through and continued on the hour and a half drive home.
One year ago tomorrow…I reached for a french fri but couldn’t eat it. The nausea proved too much. I took some deep breaths as my kids munched away tired but happy. I slowed down because the road was weird, the shadowy figures lining the hills seemed to quiver next to me. The pressure in my head mounted and I felt a tight band wrap itself around my temples.
One year ago tomorrow…”Ben, I’m a bit tired. Do you want to drive the rest of the way home?”
And that’s how it all started……………………One year ago today.