Why Me

Posted by Amber Collie in Life After Paralysis on September 23, 2022 # Lifestyle

These two little words, “Why me?” can send you down a path of confusion, desperation, depression and zero answers. Yet, it’s a common question that flows through our minds when anything tragic happens in our lives. We naturally ask questions like this; we want answers, we want to understand why this situation or problem has happened to us. Did we have a part in it, was it a mistake, did we deserve this? When I read stories or watch the news, it’s flooded with horrible stories about tragic events. These constant negative stories cause fear, anxiety, and do not make you feel good. I don’t want to be naïve and unaware but sometimes, hearing about all these devastating real-life stories over and over is just plain overwhelming.

I use the news as an example of what our minds absorb and take in and how that makes us feel. Imagine your life is going along as usual when a sudden unexpected event happens to you; you are immediately thrown into unfamiliar territory. I have lived through a few life-altering events. I can speak from experience, that it was better to keep a little distance emotionally from overloading myself with too much detailed information or analyzing the situation to death, at least in the beginning stage, because this only seemed to cause extra pain.

One example, one ordinary day at the beach hanging out with friends, my 15-year-old son Zack stood up from the sand, ran into the ocean, dove into an oncoming wave, but hit a sandbar, instantly breaking his neck and becoming a quadriplegic. That day was the last time he ever ran or walked. 12 years post-injury date, we now have over a decade’s worth of knowledge about spinal cord injuries, broken necks, damaged vertebras and how to care for a quadriplegic.

When Zack’s accident first happened, it would have been very easy to keep replaying the injury part over and over in my head. I could dwell on what happened to my son that day and easily get stuck feeling sorry for him, and our family has to go through the intense pain this type of injury brings with it.

Wanting to make some sense of this injury is expected. Questioning, “Why me?” would be a typical response, and this thought can have a temporary place in the healing process because you need to express the emotions, and allow yourself to hurt so you can move on to the healing side. It is not easy, and everyone goes through these things differently. Just do not stay there, feeling sorry for yourself. It really helps no one long term. After my son’s accident, I allowed myself a pity party for an hour, or maybe a day, and then I had to change my thinking. Again, I am not saying to ignore these natural thoughts, feelings and emotions, but keep them in perspective as you adjust. I would advise collecting the facts, learning what you can, and asking hard questions, but figuring out what things are helpful and are not.

I curved my daily intake of news and even visitors while in the hospital with Zack. I limited who was allowed in to see Zack; are they supportive or are they devastated and crying? I did not want my son to have to console others while they visited him, which did end up happening multiple times. It was a slow acceptance of this life-altering injury. We spent months in the hospital. Each step had both physical and mental healing. I decided during this time period that there would be no more asking, “Why me?” or why Zack. The injury had happened, and I could do absolutely nothing to change that fact, so it was simply better to start accepting that this did happen and then focus on how we could make something good out of a tragic moment in time.

My life has had many parts; I could write a book just on that section but let's fast forward to when I married Adron Collie. Two weeks after turning 20 (yes, very young!) I had Zackery at age 22, Levi at 24, six years later Kaden, and 18 months after that, daughter Laila, making me a busy mother of four. At that time, I also ran a photography business. The year Zack was injured I had a child in Preschool, Elementary, Jr. High and High School. Four kids in four schools! I thought I was so busy, just getting their drop off and pick up times correct was a challenge. I have to laugh now thinking back on that because little did I know my life was just about to turn upside down.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.