Monday, August 1, 2016

An Unexpected Bond

I told you a few weeks ago that I had recently met a woman through this blog who has had similar experiences to me: a deadly accident in her teen years, two decades of confusion and paralysis, and a life-changing course of therapy at 40 that brought healing to a wound she did not know was still open and causing her pain and distress.

Before I go any further, allow me to introduce her to you:

This is Carol E. Miller. When she was 16 years old, she survived a plane crash that severely injured her mother and step-father (the pilot), and killed her 12-year old sister, Nancy. 

Carol's memoir, Every Moment of a Fall, recounts the story of the crash, the aftermath, and what happened to Carol in the years that followed. It's a story of guilt and shame and isolation and hope and tenacity and redemption. And a lot of therapy.

Sound familiar? I thought so, too. And so did Carol, when she stumbled across my blog a few months ago and read the whole thing, start to finish. That's why she reached out to me, and asked if she could interview me for a podcast series she's creating for her publisher.

It is also, I think, why she and I felt such a powerful and uncanny connection a few days later, when I went to a reading she did at a bookstore in San Francisco and introduced myself. 

Listening to Carol tell her story was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Over the years, I have met a handful of people who have been in serious accidents. Many more who have experienced other trauma. And I've met lots of people who have undergone therapy. But I have never, not once, met someone who has attempted the same thing I have: to overcome the PTSD monster.

She talks about it differently than I do, and some of our details vary, but for Carol and me, the chapter headings of our lives are essentially identical, and our trajectories are as well. That in itself is astonishing enough.

But there was also, quite simply, the experience of feeling a sudden and powerful connection with a woman I'd never met before who had been through what I had been through. That was an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. It would never have occurred to me to seek out such a person or connection-- it was something I didn't know was missing.

It was, though.

The other thing about Carol is that she is warm and funny and we clicked instantly and deeply, in a way I seldom do with people, introvert that I am. There is just this electric recognition between us, and the feeling that we have more to talk about than we could possibly accomplish in the time we have.

It is terribly exciting.

So tomorrow, she is coming to my house (she's local!) and we are going to record our podcast. We've already realized that we could talk for hours about shame alone, so I don't know how we're going to fit everything we'd like to discuss into a 40-minute session, but we're going to give it a go. I'm really looking forward to it. I'll link to it here when it's posted.

In the meantime, I hope you will take a look at Carol's blog, and that you'll buy and read her book. It's a riveting read; I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting because I couldn't put it down! She has been through unimaginable trauma and come out the other side. If you're drawn to my story, you will also find resonance in Carol's.

And I dare you to get through the epilogue without crying tears of joy.


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