It was really cold that day, I think. The problem is I don’t really remember, not just because it was more than a decade ago. It was a rare day where we went on an adventure and our kids weren’t with us, so it was probably the middle of the week. I think we were taking a ditch day while the kids went to school. We headed up early as required, gear packed. Snacks and boards. Drive on up to the mountains to have a day of snowboarding with a buddy of ours. I was feeling strong, I remember that. I had a fairly new board with a sword maiden on her. That board just loved to fly, I expected to wreck. I wore wrist guards to keep me from breaking my tiny bird boned wrists. I wore a helmet.
Top of the hill, ready to head over to the other side of the mountain where there are no green runs. We had just one run down to the other lift and we would be ready to fly. We get ready to head down. Strap in, adjust the gloves and goggles. Slowly start to pick up a bit of speed. I remember the kid coming into my field of vision, and realized the kid had no control and no idea where they were going, it was about to be a crash and I totally didn’t want to hurt a kid or piss off the parents. I reacted. I reacted hard, and wrecked. With no speed behind me it didn’t look bad, it didn’t look bad. Landed on my back, bonked my head. Not a huge deal, I was wearing a helmet. Not a high speed crash. I thought I shook it off, maybe the headache was just because I needed a to drink some water. I remember making it to the bottom of that run and then I stop. I stop remembering.
From that point forward I only know what I was told, with a sprinkle of a moment I will never forget.
I said I didn’t feel good and wanted to take a break. I rode a different chair to the top of the hill, to the lodge. They went up to the other side of the mountain for a few runs. I remember texting, because it felt like it had been hours. I slightly remember asking where they were. Apparently I was asking the same question on loop about every few minutes. Where are you? A run down the hill, chair up, run down and working their way back to me felt like eternity. In reality maybe 45 minutes, lines weren’t as bad then as they are now. There wasn’t a way to get back quicker. But he knew something wasn’t right. Where are you?
They find me at the top of the hill. Ask me a few questions I don’t remember. Ski patrol now involved, asking me a series of standard easy concussion protocol questions. What day it was.. which I got wrong apparently. Who the President is and any of those questions that I am sure I was asked. I don’t remember the exact question, but I sort of remember my answer. We don’t have kids. I kind remember saying that, We don’t have kids. This is scary. At that point I totally check out. Totally check out. Supposedly, I was strapped in to the ski patrol sled and they took a killer run down the hill with everyone clearing out of the way of the whistle blowing. Apparently, there was a means of some form of transportation that ended up with me in the medical center.
Actual hours later, hours I don’t recall at all, I came back. I came back in an instant and I literally felt it. The first words out of my mouth in front of my husband and the doctors were… he killed my wife. They looked really confused. My husband had a look of relief on his face that I wouldn’t understand until I was told the story.
Just after the not much of a wreck, after boarding down a run and saying I would take a break, I had been texting the same question over and over. I couldn’t get an answer to stick. I was on a short repeating loop. I couldn’t remember much of anything. I clearly had a substantial concussion that had caused short term amnesia. Nothing was making sense, and apparently hubs kept asking me the same question over and over too. Who’s John G?
Strange sometimes, what ties you to a person and how it ties to you. Moments that bind that nobody else will understand, or even really consider. Undisclosed mementos, if you will. You see, he killed my wife was finally my answer. It meant that I had remembered that John G killed my wife, I remembered the movie Memento. We had watched that movie together, more than once because the first time it’s confusing to say the least. The premise is that the main character can’t make new memories at all due to an injury, all he remembers for certain is that John G killed his wife. He takes a lot of polaroids to help him remember, and lots of odd tattoos. I enjoyed that movie, and for some reason, remembering that John G killed my wife was what snapped me back into my brain. A movie about not remembering is what made me remember. Weird to say the least.
I believe we have random, seemingly unimportant moments with people all the time. I’m learning to respect and to really appreciate how impactful those moments are even if they don’t seem so at the time. Those precious moments when you look back and feel the smile creep on to your tired face, or make the wonder out loud with a huh. I think we take the little things for granted so very often.
I remembered this story of mine because I recently watched a feel good news story about a pair of friends who simply gave high fives to each other every day on a walk as they walked past each other. That’s it, just a high five as they walked away from each other . Years later, all the high fives catalogued, one of them was in an accident and had a brain injury. It was a high five from his walking buddy that brought him back to the world. Just a high five. Not pictures or favorite songs, a big conversation, just a simple high five. That was when I remembered again about John G and mementos.
What brought me back, and allowed me to recover was a moment that made absolutely no sense to the people around me who hadn’t shared that moment. I could tell by the looks on their faces, they didn’t understand. That didn’t matter. No moment that makes a connection is really lost, no matter how small. I know now that we have connections in our heads and hearts we don’t even really know we have. Whether we know it or not we’re connecting all the time. Thats f’n awesome. Our brains are strange magical things that will hold on to a memento, a memory that we may not even know we had, for when we most need it. Better yet, we hold mementos that could bring someone else back.
I think often about how we.. waves hands violently at the world..all seem a bit lost at times. How some of us have forgotten who we really are. Sometimes all we need is a memento to bring us back.