When reality sets in…

I thought I was doing fine. I thought I had gotten my grieving for Christina “out of the way” before she even passed. I was a mess from the time she told me she was officially going ahead with her plan, to the morning I got that awful phone call from her sister. And then it all seemed to go away and I became numb to everything.

The last few days have started to make it all feel very real all of a sudden. Her mom and sister have moved out of the apartment. It’s occurred to me that someone else is going to move in and live there. Someone who will have no idea what happened there – not just towards the end, but all of the good, happy times too. They’ll never know how hard she worked to even move in there, how many hours she spent researching and talking with people who could help her get out of the nursing home. They’ll never know about the birthday parties, movie nights, dinners, and sleepovers that happened there.

I spoke with a reporter last night who is writing an article about her. He wrote a piece about her several years ago, so I suppose this is a follow-up of sorts. He was very nice and asked all the right questions and wasn’t judgmental about her decision at all, which I really appreciated. I can’t wait to read the article. However, I’ve been thinking about it today and it’s hit me that this is it. Is she going to be remembered as “Christina Symanski, the paralyzed woman who chose to end her life”? I would hate for that to happen because she was SO much more than that. I would hate for her death to define her life, but I suppose that’s what happens in situations like this. People who didn’t know her are going to read about her and form opinions and criticisms, but they won’t know the whole story. They won’t know who she was before the accident, or how things changed. They won’t know how kind and funny and giving she was. They won’t know that she didn’t like whipped cream in desserts, or that she was one of those annoying people who couldn’t stay quiet through a movie. They won’t know she was afraid of zombies, or that she couldn’t stand TV shows with laugh tracks. They won’t know what an amazing friend and daughter and sister she was.


4 thoughts on “When reality sets in…

  1. It hurts at the thought of people only seeing her as the person she was since June 2005. I wish they would see everything about her and not just her injury or death. I understand people making quick opinions on her situation without knowing the full story but I feel it is necessary for situations like this that they know why she made the decision she did. Who she was before had a huge impact on how she was after the accident. I just wish people understood that side of her.

    Anyway, this post made me cry. I hate that we’re all not closer because it would be easier on the days that reality smacks us in the face.

    • I’m usually horrible about replying to blog comments, but I’m trying to get better.

      I’m sorry for making you cry. I just had to get it out. I’m so glad her story is going to be told, but it literally just hit me yesterday that that means that she’s gone. People are going to read her book and form opinions about her and her life and they’re not really going to have any idea who she truly was. I hate that.

      I find myself getting upset out of the blue, and then I look at the calendar and realize it’s an anniversary. I’ve been super emotional about her the past couple of days, and what is today? Two months.

  2. Hello Erin

    I just wanted to let you know we don’t know each other nor do we have friends in common.

    How I know of you is through the blog of your friend Christine/life paralyzed(her post reminded me of how I might of felt if I were/was in her position). I found her blog when a friend of mine had a friend of hers become paralyzed in a diving accident and as a nurse became interested in SCI. Anyways I just wanted or needed to say what a wonderful friend you must of been to Christina…I read her book (lulu.com-ebook) and the things you had done/did for her all I can say is WOW what a wonderful person you must be(and your Husband).

    Best Wishes

    • Hi Laura,

      Thank you so much for your kinds words! And thank you for purchasing Christina’s book. It was only recently published on Lulu and we haven’t begun promoting it yet – we were waiting until it’s available through BN.com and iBooks – so I was surprised and thrilled to hear you’ve already read it!


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