In sickness and in health: It’s been stormy but there are blessings in the clouds

Earlier this year, Rebecca’s husband, Nick, was hit by a car and seriously injured. Here, in one of a series of columns, she writes about the aftermath of his accident

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The Independent Online

Nick’s accident is the worst thing that has ever happened to him, obviously, and to me. I have to add “so far” because I do worry that something else will come along to add insult to traumatic brain injury.

I’m constantly checking myself for lumps and compulsively switching everything off in a bid to stave off burning the house down. I torment myself with questions without answer.

Will Nick ever recover? Will he wish that he hadn’t? How will his daughter cope with the already rocky road of adolescence without her dad? How will I find the strength to keep fighting, to stay strong, to be Nick’s wife as well as his carer?

But – cliché klaxon – every cloud has a silver lining, and while the past five months have been stormy, to say the least, they have also had blessings wrapped up in the cumuli.

Some of the silveriest are two friends of mine and Nick’s, Samuel and David. They have opened their hearts, and their home, to me and to Nick’s daughter Mia, since the accident. They live near her, and to the hospital where Nick is. They have scooped me up and showered me with love. Walking their puppy, Maggie, makes me glad to be alive. They have given me keys to their house, a place that I think of as my own version of Rivendell, the last homely house.

I try to say thank you in words and in actions – I bought a bench for us all, I do my utmost to remember all the complicated housekeeping rules, I bring treats and make an effort to be entertaining. I don’t think there’ll ever be enough good deeds to show them my gratitude, though.

Being able to speak to Mia’s mum is another priceless silver lining. She bought me a ticket to Mia’s school play and introduced me to some of the other school mums. After a chequered decade, I can now tell her how proud I am of her daughter and what an amazing job she’s done in bringing up this wonderful, funny, clever girl.

Another triumph to come out of adversity is that I have stopped being a coward about driving and have womanned up. I need to see Nick and I need to drive to do so.

Who could have imagined that a car accident would get me back behind the wheel after more than a decade of being a wuss. These days, I can also ring up 25 companies to argue with them about direct debits and only cry once (or twice). I have become friends with people – Cath and Nick, Blake – who are just so bloody great that I have to pinch myself.

It’s all right for me, of course. I’m not the one lying in a lonely hospital bed. But I hope that Nick knows, or will know one day, how much he’s loved. His accident has had people flocking to see him, to ask about him, to talk about him and to pray for him.

He’s in a lot of hearts, including my own. Before, I knew that I loved him no matter what, and now that we’re dealing with the “what”, I know how precious it is that our love was – is – so solid. It’s been the worst of times, but also seen some of the best.