The age where kids can legally buy alcohol and they think they are “adult’s. It’s time to party and have fun…

I look back at my life at 21…..

I had been married for a year and a mom to a 2 month old.

I was in a rocky marriage. They say the first years the hardest…we were distant with each other, and quite frankly already on a path to separation…

49 days before I turned 21 my life turned upside down. My oldest was only 24 days old (that’s 3 weeks and 3 days), when my then husband fell 20ft from a tree.(2 of my brothers & myself watched) On his way down he scraped his side (which scraped his liver) and he hit the railing with his feet which flung him onto the porch. He landed on his shoulder and his head….He was bleeding from his ears, trying to get up and speaking incoherent at times….He was flown to Fairfax Hospital….

He broke his right shoulder blade, scratched his liver and had a skull fracture, aka head injury… He was lucky with his liver, generally a scratch is dangerous. In the days that followed I was told he would never hear or talk again. I was also told he would have to relearn everything (talking, walking, eating, etc). Yes trauma doctors always give you the worst case scenarios, exactly what a 20 yr old mom of a newborn needs to hear. In those days his brain swelled to a point they put a tube in his head to drain the fluid to relieve the pressure in his head to reduce brain damage. In the weeks that followed, he had no recollection of me, his daughter or our marriage. With a head injury I was told this would happen. He actually still thought he still lived in West Virginia (born & raised), meaning he lost about 3 years of his life….The miracle is he can hear even though he broke and damaged his inner ear.

22 days before I turned 21, my then husband was sent to Mount Vernon Hospital for rehab. There he would receive physical, speech and occupational therapy. He would stay there for about 18 days as a patient.

11 days before I turned 21 it seemed life wanted to add to my upside down world….My papaw, who I was very close to, had a dark spot in his lung found by his heart doctor. There was no doubt he had cancer, but we waited and hoped. He had not smoked in over 2 years and walked daily yet those 2 smoke free years could not erase 50+ years of smoking, years of working in the coal mines and years at working at gas stations …

When I turned 21 there was no big drinking party. I was just a mom to a newborn and a care giver to my then husband and in the months to follow I was also a care giver to my papaw and within 6 months of the cancer diagnosis, we would lose him to lung cancer…

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