I sat down with Ms. Jones on a Sunday evening at the Mother Joseph Care Center in Olympia, WA to chat about how she’s doing and how she is processing this experience thus far. Enjoy!

AS: How are you feeling right now?

LJ: I feel comfortable. I feel a relief of pain and so happy that I had a shower this afternoon.  I feel full of joy. The world will never be an ordinary world. It never really was before, but now it’s much richer and I have so much gratitude for my family and friends. I feel steeped in the beauty of what the love of another human being has given me.

AS:What has this experience been like for you thus far?

LJ: That is probably one of the most difficult questions you could ask me simply because words fail. The experience has been more beautiful, more miraculous, deep, rich and life affirming than I ever could have imagined before the accident. My compassion and empathy is limitless- I thought I knew love- I thought I knew the bounds…and I thought I was compassionate to the depths of my soul- empathetic and caring deeply… I saw myself as off of the ordinary path. This has blown everything out of the water. It has deepened every experience in my life. Until I had this experience, I can see that I was held back. There is nothing like almost losing my life to help me realize clearly how I was living and how I want to continue to live.

AS: Can you describe what it was like in the moment when you  felt your life was threatened?

LJ: I felt powerless. Never have I felt quite that powerless because I had two little lives in the car with me. I felt life suspend itself.

AS: Can you describe that?

LJ: It was too soon to feel fear. To be afraid that the children were hurt. It was happening- Boom- life suspended. I had no idea what I was going to end up with. I didn’t know if more pain was coming.

AS: Did you experience the cliché “life flashing before your eyes”?

LJ: No… Life was very much what was happening, not what had happened before.

AS: How are you feeling about your recovery time ahead?

LJ: I am feeling very accepting. I am actually looking forward to it.

AS: In the quiet hours before you go to sleep, or between visitors, what do you think about? Are you processing everything that has happened?

No, I am so close to the bone with myself –  when visitors leave or it’s quiet, I amsimply with that quiet. I don’t do a whole lot more with that, just accepting the simplicity of what is right now. I don’t need to process it. I feel trust. I am not missing that feeling of urgency that I have to make things different. I  love the feeling of knowing that I cannot control things anyhow. This is about being in acceptance and I can find my strength in that.

AS: What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to time with more family and friends. I am looking forward to learning how to knit… cleaning up my contacts, and reading books I ordered. I am looking forward to doing the things that I never allowed myself time to do. I am looking forward to the seasons changing. And getting back in touch with people whom I lost connection with when I moved from Oregon to Washington. I am also looking forward to getting up more frequently in the wheelchair, and field trips with the care center… an outing like checking out a library book sounds like a trip to Disneyland to me. It will be thrilling.

AS: So far, what are the most important things you have learned from this?

I have learned to let the love in more than anything else. And again, I thought I had been doing that before but never like now. I have learned to let people show their love for me in tangible ways as well as other ways. I have learned something I already knew, but I’ve learned it on a deeper level – to cherish every moment of life- to honor the “everyday” things like drinking a cold cup of water, or a hot shower… these simple pleasures can bring such joy.

AS: Is there anything you miss?

I miss being able to get up and walk to a movie theater. Or get in the car and run an errand. But when I think about it I chuckle because my perspective has changed so much that any small thing is something I appreciate so deeply. Looking forward to where I can go in my wheelchair tomorrow, or getting my hair shampooed is HUGE. The things I thought I would have missed, I’m not missing. Coffee sounds too strong, gourmet meals sound too heavy, working out sounds overwhelming…What I really miss is not being able to fully return the love and the beautiful gifts that family and friends have given to me. I am just a receiver right now, and I long to be a giver also.

AS: What are three of your favorite things right now?

LJ: The sound of childrens’ voices I know are my grandchildren coming to visit me..My daughter’s laughter… A hot wash cloth with some face cleanser in the early morning hours.