The summer between the two collisions, I took to jumping into lakes. The idea of my body, shooting like a bullet through the scrim of its own reflection, into the cool, mysterious waters below, was irresistible. Once under, I’d open my eyes to witness the miraculous effects my weight had on the elements around me–the small schools of fish beating their way past me, the haunted sounds of current shifts and pressure changes, the millions of air bubbles rising toward the water’s sunlit surface. The first car crash had brought me face-to-face with my mortality, but these stolen underwater moments did the opposite: they reminded me that I was, in fact, divine.

Things got messy that summer, as lines and labels started to disappear. For the first time in my adult life, I was unbound by marriage, and even my role as a mother was changing as time with the kids was split in two. Who was I with so little to define me? Where did the old version end and the new one begin? The answers came subtly and inexplicably, sneaking in like those underwater echoes of the lakes, and my life started to take a new shape. Despite my disdain for the suburbs, I signed a lease on a crooked red house in Westchester because a voice in my head called it “home”; late one night, I applied to a yoga program in Bali, even though I couldn’t find it on a map; I bought a pickup truck, which seemed impractical, but something told me that it would keep me safe. Looking back now, I can see that within the seeming chaos of my circumstances, there was a much higher intelligence at play.

It was a rainy October morning when a garbage truck pulled out in front of me on a 50 mph road. Shaken, but relatively unscathed, I felt my world shrink down into a few simple elements: family, hope, love. These things were all that seemed to matter as I sat across from my husband at P.F. Changs that afternoon, deciding to try again. Looking back, I see that life was telling me to pay attention, to sort through the debris and reclaim all that was still salvageable– and then, to let the rest go. I began to write, trying to make sense of all that had happened, and seeing for the first time my own resilience and strength. I had been sinking under the weight of things that were no longer mine, but now my words were like pockets of air floating me back up to the surface, saving me from drowning. forcing my arms to open wide.

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