Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Paralysed with guilt

Ten days ago, a teenager I refer to as my half child was seriously injured in a car crash. The child of a friend who had died and life long chum to my own son - he has, over the years been very much part of the furniture.

Now he has spinal injuries. Whether he will ever walk again is unknown and whilst he lies in a hospital bed pondering what the future may be, there is another teenager who also had his whole life turned upside down that night. For him, there is physical proof of the acute pain he will be in.

And that is the driver. A boy who having only driven for a month, miraculously walked away without injury. Except this poor child, through no fault on his part lost control of the car in horrendous weather conditions. Perhaps another 20 years driving experience may have made the difference, perhaps if they had left an hour earlier, taken the first right, driven 1mph slower, perhaps if he had done all of this and more - the crash wouldn't have happened.

But the crash did happen and no matter how much he relives the accident in his head, nothing can change the events of that night. This boy, a mere 18 years old himself, has just had his innocence ripped from him and though reassured by others that no one places any blame at his door, will be suffering the kind of soul destroying guilt that most of us are lucky never to experience.

How could it possibly feel to be the driver of a car in which one of your best friends is potentially paralysed. How could you carry on with your venture into adulthood, maintain that spring in your step, hold onto the kind of wide eyed optimism that you have at 18?

When someone you care about is hurt or killed in an accident, it is human nature to question 'Why them and not me?" When you were involved in the cause and are just 18, this is the kind of accident that can leave the most monumental psychological scar. You can be certain that this boy is not thinking as the rest of us are "Thank god none of the others were hurt. Frankly, much better one seriously injured teenager than three. It sounds harsh but in a car crash involving teenagers there really is a worse case scenario.

I cry when I think of the half child but take positivity from each and every tiny sign of progress, from the support he has from family and friends to the staff around him. I have confidence that he will receive the best level not just because of the extent of his injury but because when you meet him, you cannot fail but to adore him,

As for the boy driving, I know that it's frequently the unseen things that cause the biggest harm.  My heart breaks for him.

Life is harsh

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