It has been really hard for me to delve into these experiences—experiences which I would prefer to put behind me, and to pretend didn’t happen. Many times during this process I have broken down and cried; these times are traumatic and not ones I look forward to. It is OK to tell people that what happened is none of their business, and that I prefer not to talk about it. However, I have learned a lot from my experiences and now it is time to take responsibility, to never forget and to use these experiences to focus on a better future.

I don’t remember the pain I don’t know how justified I am to talk about life threatening events, serious injuries, etc. as I don’t remember the accident. I don’t remember how it feels to be unsure of whether you will live or die. I don’t remember the worry, the fright, the pain; and therefore, in some ways, I don’t understand what happened to me and how it feels to have your life and future at stake.

There are two weeks of my life that are unforgettable to others, yet don’t exist in my memory. They were two weeks which brought out beautiful qualities in others; and a time that, when I came to accept what had happened, changed my life forever. My first memory approximately two weeks later is vague and unclear. I was talking on the phone to my best friend who was leaving to Israel that day. I was screaming and crying to her that it wasn’t fair, I would miss her, and why wasn’t I able to go, too? I didn’t understand that I was sick, and that the professionals were uncertain as to what extent I would recover.

The lack of knowing the feeling of being hit, or the feeling of waking up in a hospital, at times can be very distressing due to the lack of clarity, insight or understanding that it causes. But at most times, it is a blessing, and I am thankful not to be tormented by those images.

Finally, after 19 days in Post-Traumatic Amnesia, I began to develop a sense of understanding and inevitably came to the question: Why?

Does G‑d exist? Well, of course, He does, or the world wouldn’t be here.

Is G‑d good? This was my first point of getting stuck. If G‑d is good, why am I in this situation, and why are there so many people ill?

“OK, simple answer,” I thought. “G‑d doesn’t exist. I don’t want to believe in a bad G‑d, so from now on the world is in human hands.”

A great fear suddenly came over me as I absorbed the idea that my health and the world are reliant on human beings. Human beings are selfish, fighting for their own survival, and limited in their capabilities; this was not too reassuring.

Now I appreciate exactly how difficult it is to come to acceptance Alright, so G‑d is back in the equation, and wanting desperately to believe that G‑d is all good, but having an inability to reconcile that belief with what has happened, I decide that there has to be another force, an evil one that is causing all these people to be ill.

Considering this, G‑d Himself is not so powerful and all dominating because if He was He would be able to stop these evil events from occurring, or better yet He would be able to teach us what He would like us to learn through a more peaceful and safe tool.

I don’t understand why, but this answer didn’t sit comfortably with me. I had to resort to the last option: that G‑d is inherently good, and that everything He does is for a higher purpose. I used to think that this answer was a cop-out answer. However, now I appreciate exactly how difficult it is to come to the acceptance that our minds are too small to grasp everything, and sometimes we need to let go of a need for understanding.

Nothing G‑d does is black and white. We don’t say something nasty to our friends and then fall down backwards; we don’t behave rudely to our parents and then get hit by a car. These are very dangerous things even to say. It is like saying that the Holocaust happened because the victims were sinners; how would that justify what happened?

Who are we to judge why it happened?

Our minds are limited. We cannot understand how G‑d works and what He does, and therefore we can’t come to solid conclusions about everything. I now believe that the healthiest outlook, and the one that got me through, is that everything happens for a reason, and even though the reason is often unclear, ultimately that reason is for the best.

Additionally, G‑d only gives us a challenge that He believes we are able to handle. He gives challenges to us in order to help us grow, to reach our potential. Without the challenges and the struggle of working hard to achieve our goals, our lives are meaningless. The challenges are a tool to grow and to climb up; and we pass away only when our missions in this world are complete. Sometimes, I feel that I am safe because clearly G‑d wants me to be alive now, and I don’t feel I’m anywhere near completing my mission. Then I think this is a sophisticated form of a self-deceiving fallacy that most people live with—i.e., “nothing bad can happen to me.” This is a tough question to contemplate after having a life-threatening occurrence.

There are a lot of expectations from those around us to feel the same sense of love towards life as they do. I have had exposure to Chassidic values and education that would naturally lead to a strong level of passion and dedication and optimism. However, there are also life-threatening events, and hence life-changing events. For me, this has challenged my beliefs and assumptions about the world and about G‑d, and therefore, at times, it is hard to hold onto them, however reassuring they are. While injury can impact on speech and walking, things that are obvious and tangible, my injury impacted on my spirit, my beliefs and happiness. This is in a sense my disability; it is not my fault but it is in my control.

I was at a cemetery in Safed and came across the grave of an 18-year-old who had died in a tragic car accident; I cried and cried. I realized how grateful I am to be alive and how much I should be living each day to the fullest, not to be upset and to focus all energy into good and into making myself and the world a better place.

The accident is part of my story now; and as with every event in life it is up to me to decide how much importance I want it to play. This is what I want to take away from the experience and hope others do as well: to focus my energy on the future, on what I will learn from both positive and negative experiences, on what kind of a person I want to be in the future, and on what choices I need to make now in order to achieve that. I need to examine myself and my surroundings for the good and for the bad, and make plans to improve things that I am not happy about, rather than to let them destroy me and my faith

May we be blessed to be “optanoids”: a compromise of being paranoid and recognising that there will be tough times, yet being optimistic and having faith that everything is going to work out for the best.