More than a week has passed since Rose was hit by a car. Her short-term memory lapses are gone and so are the really bad headaches. Just five days after the accident she took two college finals, acing both of them. Amazing! She had surgery a couple of days ago to put a screw in her wrist and she’s recovering well from that. The bruises on her body have gone to purple and yellow, so they should be gone soon. In two weeks she’ll get her stitches removed from her wrist and transition to a more comfortable, removable hard splint/brace. Four to six weeks later, that too will go away.
What won’t go away for Rose is the fear of getting back on a bike. I suspect her strong will and determination will eventually get her mind to a place where she can ride a bike on certain streets under certain conditions. But I doubt she will ever have the same love for riding bikes. After the accident, one of Rose’s friends comment, “Who knew she rode bikes with angels?” We all laughed at that, but I knew.
The greater challenge for Rose right now is dealing with her husband’s response to stress. This accident brought to light some behaviors that have been hidden well in the shadows for some time. We knew that Al has a tendency to be jealous and to make snide remarks. What we didn’t know is that he can be intentionally cruel and have moments of completely irrational behavior—so much so that Rose called and asked to be brought to our house to stay and recuperate before and after her surgery. It’s been frightening for me to witness Al’s behaviors, but others have witnessed these actions as well. Many are watching him now and I hope that creates a sense of obligation in him. Al has promised Rose he is willing to work on his issues, including getting counseling. I can only pray he follows through on that. Tonight she is returning to their home. It is tough to let go.
This has been a learning moment for me as well. I’ve always been careful about letting my grown children make their own choices. I’ve also been careful in choosing my words when I didn’t think they were making the right choice. I regularly ask myself, who am I to judge another? But this experience has been a lesson in learning how much I need to say, not what is appropriate or politically correct. Nearly every day throughout this process I have reminded myself that Rose is twenty-five years old and a married woman. My role as a parent in her life is a bit part and she must make her own decisions. But I could not allow myself to be silent and not speak my mind this time. My daughter nearly died. And in the days that followed her husband was not supportive and at times was cruel, blaming her for bringing a calamity into their lives. I could not be a silent witness. I said quite a bit to my daughter, probably more than I should have. But every word I said needed to be spoken out loud. She knows I will support her in whatever she chooses for her future, but she also clearly understands that I have strong concerns and fears for her safety. I have an obligation. I am a mother until the day I die.
And in case anyone wonders, I’m still praying to those bike riding angels. I hope they got off their bikes and that they are now walking with Rose and Al, guiding them to a smooth trail.