*Warning: This was one of the hardest posts I have written so far and please do not read if you do not feel comfortable with blood & traumatic stories.*
Mother's Day is around the corner and I would just like to share my appreciation for all the moms in my life. I have looked up to so many women the last twenty-two years. Mothers are truly amazing and inspiring and I have learned so many life lessons from every single one of them, whether it's about relationships, family, traveling ideas or just life in general. I would especially like to acknowledge my own mom. She has been my best friend over the years and that nearly came to an end almost three years ago.
Growing up, life was pretty fun. I grew up in a loving household with a beautiful family who took me in and adopted me as a baby. For me, feeling some sort of abandonment issue from being left behind as an infant, I have always had a closer relationship with my mom. A few years ago my sister, parents and I had the privilege of going back to my home country, Thailand. It was probably one of the best experiences I have ever had. In saying that, a lot of stuff happened. We met with our exchange students that our family hosted first in 2004 and then again with another Thai girl closer to my age back in 2013. It was quite surreal seeing them after a couple years but it felt as if no time had passed.
We started our trip in Bangkok and stayed there for a few days to get to know the city before we left for Chiang Mai. We ended up taking a train through the countryside where I had bit of a reality check. Thinking about how life would have been if I wasn't adopted. The poverty level is quite high in this third world country and it made me realize how thankful I was to have grown up in the United States. Once we got to our destination we stayed in a cute little bungalow outside the city. We ate delicious food and went on quite the adventure.
As a family and our most recent exchange student, we decided to go zip lining through the jungle with a company we read about on the Internet. Honestly, I didn't think our family was up for that fun adventure since you're up in the air a few hundred feet hanging from a wire... but we did it anyways. We signed our waivers, went over a brief safety protocol and then we were off soaring through the jungle. Everyone knows the saying, "it's all fun and games till someone gets hurt" well within a blink of an eye something happened. Something I couldn't even process since I didn't have much time to do in the first place. One second you're flying through the jungle looking at the beautiful trees and taking in the beautiful surroundings and then it all just stops.
There was an accident that day, a horrible one. Everyone on that adventure even if they weren't in our group heard the noise... A noise so loud it made my heart stop. We were about halfway done with our tour-on the longest zip line where you couldn't see the other side. Not a lot of people know this and I still beat myself up about it, but I was supposed to go next after the other couple but I chickened out because it was too long and I wanted someone I knew on the other side. It was a weird line, you had to have a running start to get the momentum going so you would make it all the way across... So my mom, being the brave soul that she is, stepped in... and then the crash happened. There was a miscommunication between the guides and we sent her down when the line wasn't cleared. A loud smack echoed throughout the jungle and to put it in perspective it sounded like a car hitting a wall, but it wasn't; it was my mom hitting the other lady.
It felt like hours as the guide on the other side tried to maneuver his way to get to the two women on the line. Slowly but surely he got across and got them safely to the other side. Little did we know how much damage was done after their collision. Sadly for us, we had to go across the line because there was no other way to get out. Once we sent my dad down I was next trying to muster up the courage to get across and to prepare myself for what I was about to see. Once I got to the other side, I wanted to vomit. I had never seen my mom in so much pain nor had I seen so much blood surrounding her head or my dad so vulnerable and in tears. I immediately got off the platform so there was enough space for the medical help that was being provided for them. I patiently waited for my sister and waited for the ambulance to get there. Thinking to myself, "how on earth are they going to get into the middle of the fucking jungle" or "how the hell are we going to get out of the jungle" and most importantly how my mom needed to get out fast... We ended up walking through the greenery trying not to think about the deadly creatures within it and trying to keep calm as we left them on the platform.
Fast forward to the small hospital in Chiang Mai where they ended up getting my mother somewhat stable and where we found out how much damage was actually done. If anyone knows or has seen my mom, she is very little and quite frail, so when the doctors told us what had happened to her, we were truly lucky that she survived this collision. She had many broken bones, fractures and lacerations in her face and her lungs were filling up with blood due to a puncture from one of the cracked ribs. The ride to the small hospital was pretty brutal for my sister and I but to even think how much pain it put my mom in after hearing about the damage was awful to think about. The road was rocky and bumpy for us and for mom who was laying in what they called an ambulance, which actually was the bed of a pickup truck with a roof was just unpleasant.
Mom had to stay in Chiang Mai for a couple days till she was stable enough to travel back to Bangkok where the doctors were able to help her more. We flew her to Bumrungrad International, one of the best hospitals in Asia, it was where my sister was born-so we knew my mom would get the best care. I flew with her just so she would have a buddy, even though I don't think she remembers that. Days felt like they dragged on forever and nights were unnerving. I had stayed with my mom a few nights on the couch in her room where I felt somewhat better about the situation and where I got a decent amount of sleep knowing my mom was near me. It reminded me of the nights she ended up staying in my room when I needed her most, so I was just returning the favor.
Days passed and finally my aunt (her sister) flew in from Seattle to see her and help my dad somewhat take care of my sister and I. I am so thankful for her help and appreciate all she had done for my family while she was there. She kept my dad sane, she helped my sister and I stay calm during all of this and she started a CaringBridge account to give those who were back home an update about the progress mom was making. Sadly, our trip was coming to an end-at least for my sister and I... Our mom and dad ended up staying back till she was able to get back up on her feet through vigorous hours of physical therapy, pain medications and information about how to go on with life being blind in one eye.
The day came where my sister, aunt and I had to leave. I would be lying if I said it was an easy goodbye; it was one of the hardest things I had to do. We said our goodbyes to them and embarked on our long flight back to the States where we stayed in Seattle for a couple nights before my aunt took us back home to Oregon to stay with us for a few days.
I didn't have enough time really to process everything until I got home to see my brothers and my parents friends and that's when it really hit me. I can't even begin to say how many nights I spent crying at home and staying up so late that I would sleep during the day because I couldn't sleep thinking that my parents were back in Thailand. Luckily, I had a huge support system that helped not just me but my sister and brothers as well. It did get to the point where I wanted to stop answering the door to the thankful souls who brought our family food while my mom was gone-but it was also just too hard to look people in the eye without having a breakdown. The constant questions of "how are you" or "how’s your mom doing" was too much for me. We ended up putting a cooler out our front door with a thank you note that we would check ever so often. I am so thankful for everyone who helped out and who constantly were there for us even when my parents came back home.
Finally after a month she and my dad returned safely. We had to make some adjustments around the house so she would be able to get around. But that's what you do for a loved one, right? You somewhat change your lifestyle to help them out. There are still things she struggles with, but she is back to living her life. She can do things she did before the accident, like taking her annual dance classes, help decorate for weddings by making flower arrangements, driving us around sometimes even though that was a major struggle because she has mono vision. But she is taking life on with a full heart and we are forever grateful that she is alive today.
So I want to say Happy Mother's Day to the woman who means everything to me and to the mom who shows undying love, support and is willing to show appreciation no matter the circumstances. Thank you for being the most selfless, strongest person I know, so happy mom's day to you and all the moms in my life.