Deeply loved and deeply love…

02.23.15

It’s 4:49 AM. I am wide awake and have several thoughts running through my mind, however, I can’t seem to stop thinking particularly about two recent chats with two friends.

“It was really hard for me not to be able to do anything to help when you had your accident” said one friend while reflecting on my accident. Another, “It was an honor to be a part of your story during that time.”

This was the same friend that bought me a brand new, Breville juicer when there was a risk of infection after my second surgery and I was hell-bent on giving my body every fighting chance to heal through fruit, and vegetable juice. Side note, I think it worked. Seriously, ask me about it.

It isn’t just what they said that has me awake right now, but the love in their eyes when they said it. These two guys showed up for me.

One of them, a professional bike tour guide, rode his bike 20 miles to the nearby Asheville airport, rented a car and drove to Nashville immediately upon hearing the news. I have tears in my eyes thinking about the both of them walking into my hospital room.

Another friend with a pregnant wife offered to sleep in the chair next to my hospital bed because he didn’t want me to be alone.

It is an incredible feeling to know that someone would show up for you in your darkest hour. Several days after June 14, 2014 quickly proved to be my darkest hours in 29 years.

Nerve pains plagued my mind and body day and night for somewhere around 90 days after all of the nerve blockers and swelling went down from my surgery. In case you’re not caught up to speed…I had everything below my left shin amputated after a freak jet ski accident severed my left foot.

The first few weeks were horrific.  Every 3 seconds it felt as if someone shoved a hot needle into my left foot. Sometimes, just a stabbing sensation. Nothing was actually happening to my body, but it truly felt as though I was being stabbed.

Again, I have tears in my eyes now thinking about my mother kneeling beside my bed praying these words…God, he has had enough, please take these pains away. He has had enough. He’s been through enough.

My father – a friend recounts – couldn’t be in the same room when I was in pain. I somehow, even in the midst of pain and in and out of sleep, completely understood.

These stories of friends and my parents bring tears to my eyes, but it also fills my heart with love.

I have had a life change. Things are a little harder now with one foot. And the last 8 months have proved to be the hardest of my whole life. But the words of my friends in the beginning of this post remind me that I am not alone. Those words also pule in my veins and make me feel strong because through that experience I know that I have a bond strong enough with some to make them want to ride a bike a million miles, or buy a juicer.

I would do the same for those guys. They know that. And for my parents, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do.

Until 07.14.14 the biggest challenge in my life at that point had been trying to play and sell music for a living. And while I look back and shudder at some of my darkest times in the last 8 months, I also swell with love and gratitude at the opportunity I was given to experience deep love and connection with my friends and family. Maybe that’s why you hear people that have lost parts of themselves talk about how they wouldn’t change it; they wouldn’t go back, because if they did they would have never known how deeply loved they were, and how deeply they loved others.

-Jake