Muddled Memories

By Andralyn Iwasa

Photo by Dreamstime
 
The sun had just set on a Saturday night and the sky glowed with color. Filled with excitement at ending our week of staff training for summer camp, four of my friends and I headed to the cliffs. Despite being a common place for staff to star gaze, the area held an element of danger. Large boulders and drop-offs loomed every few feet. We weren’t worried, however, since we could still see the path leading us to an overhang that looked out across the lake. I followed my friends as we made our trek out to a small outcropping perched near the water’s edge. We watched the sky slowly lose color and reminisced about the craziest moments from previous summers.

That is the last clear memory I have.
Everything still exists in a haze.
I remember cold pavement and an overwhelming feeling of nausea.
I remember sharp pricks from needles.
I remember yanking out my earring because the nurse couldn’t.

Trying to find one clear memory amongst the fog feels impossible. I remember receiving an upsetting text and wanting to be alone to sort through my emotions. I don’t remember who sent the text, nor do I remember what it said. I have bits and pieces of memories, but none of them seem to fit together.  

The first articulate memory I have is waking up in the camp directors’ guest room with the feeling of a drum line practicing in my brain. A staff member came in with pain medication and notified me that campers would be arriving soon. That meant Sunday afternoon had already arrived. I didn’t know how I would be able to work when I couldn’t even connect my thoughts properly. Anxiety tore at my already frayed nerves. Then, one of the directors came to reassure me that I still had a job since the doctor had diagnosed my concussion as minor, which meant that recovery wouldn’t take too long.

In the following days, fellow staff members shared my workload, even after I felt well enough to handle loud, energetic children. While I loved finally being able to interact with the campers, I still could not function at my full capacity. Being a part of the program again felt amazing, but I continued to struggle with migraines and sensitivity to light. I would often miss out on my favorite parts of the program because my senses would become overloaded.

As the summer progressed I began to feel a growing resentment towards God. I worked at camp to serve Him. I wanted to introduce kids to His love. Why would He allow something to happen to me when I only aspired to His calling? My reality check came during an attempt to better understand the events that had occurred. I sat down with each of my four friends individually to hear their accounts of what had happened. While the exact details varied, I could pull specifics from their stories and connect them with the thread of foggy memories I possessed.

I had been off on my own for almost half an hour. I asked why no one came looking for me. They told me that every so often someone would call out to me and I would reply. There came a point, however, where I no longer responded and they began to worry. Eventually, one friend heard me coughing violently and went to look for me. He said he found me kneeling on the ground, repeatedly mumbling something about hitting my head. He left me to go get my other friends. When he brought them back they began to ask me questions: What day is it? Who is the current president? What is your name? I responded in a very slow, slurred manner. Realizing that everything was not okay, they walked me down to the car and drove me to the hospital.

As they told me their stories, I began to realize how ridiculous my anger with God was. He didn’t allow something to happen to me, He prevented something worse. I still struggle with the effects of that concussion. However, I try to not dwell on the pain but rather focus on the lesson I learned. I remind myself to be grateful for God’s protection even when I don’t comprehend it.