My name is Tamara. This is my story.
On Feb 23, 2014 my fiancé Rosie and I were on our way out to go shopping. We never made it. Around 2:35 pm, a 77 year old man had a heart attack while driving and crossed into our lane hitting us head on. Rosie was killed instantly.
The front of the car was crushed, pinning both of us inside. I was lifted by helicopter to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and immediately rushed into emergency surgery. The surgeons removed half my large and small intestines and half of my bowel. My liver and bladder were torn. My upper right arm was broken, as was my right thumb, left wrist, both hips, pelvis, both femurs and my left foot. The surgeons later told me that my skeleton had essentially been broken in two.
The police contacted Rosie’s family around 6:30 pm that evening, but no one had contacted my family to let them know what had happened. My family didn’t find out until around midnight when my brother got a phone call asking how he was holding up. He immediately rushed to the hospital and collapsed when he saw the extent of my injuries. The doctors said I wouldn’t make it through the night. I did. They said I would never walk again. I do. I’ve had fourteen surgeries, with more to go. I spent two months in the hospital and two months in a nursing home to learn how to walk again.
Three weeks passed before I was informed that Rosie was gone. I screamed “no” and cried. My brother had to walk out of the room. Rosie’s family blamed me for her death and hated me because I hadn’t died. Her kids took most everything I had. They left me with hardly anything, including my own clothes. I couldn’t do much about it since we weren’t legally married or anything.
It’s been a little over a year since the accident. I moved back into the house Rosie and I were living in at the time of the accident. She loved this house and she was so happy here. I believe with everything in me that this is her home and she’s still here. Rosie and I had been together almost a year at the time of the accident and we were truly in love.
I’m not asking for sympathy or for prayers or any of that. I’m simply asking folks to listen to every word because this could happen to you. It could change your life and your family’s lives forever.
I have accepted what has happened not only to me but what happens to many of us in situations similar to mine. I think about it every day and yes, I do cry often. Sometimes I even smile with tears of joy because of the memories that I’ve been blessed to still have. I am learning to live differently with the hand I’ve been dealt. I struggle knowing what I could do before and what I can no longer do.
I never thought this would be my life. So many of us live our lives day to day without even thinking of what it could be like, remembering to take in every moment with joy and pride. So here’s my advice to everyone reading this:
– Love the people who surround you and support you unconditionally.
– Live every day like it’s your last because it very well could be.
– Remember to smile.
I’d like folks to consider making a donation in Rosie’s memory, a portion of which will go to Kaleidoscope Youth Center. Their mission is to work in partnership with young people in Central Ohio to create safe and empowering environments for LGBTQ youth through advocacy, education and support. CLICK HERE to make a donation! Thank you!