‘Do you remember your name?,’ one nurse asked. My mouth felt like I was chewing cotton balls. ‘What year is it?’I responded with a weak, soft voice as tears roll down my face.’

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“I woke up before I let Mom or Dad have an opportunity to wake me up. No, it was not a school day. It would have taken them forever to get me to wake up on a school day.

It was the day when I go on a fun trip with Dad – we’ve had many of those trips in the past when I am not in school.

We lived in a small town called Camp-Perrin in Haiti which is approximately one hour and a half from the big city. I loved going to the city with Dad because he knew all the cool spots. I get to eat my favorite foods, discover new places, he never took the same routes. I always wondered how he found all those different ways to get there. ‘He is an explorer!’ That was my conclusion.

I got myself ready quickly and here I was, on the front porch 45 minutes early!

‘Are you going to eat your breakfast?,’ Mom stated.

‘Dad said we are going to stop at Auntie Claudette’s house,’ I replied.

Mom please, we have to go, we have to go, I am ready to go. Let’s go Daddy! Let’s go,’ I repeatedly said in my mind.

It was 78 degrees outside; the clock read 8:22 a.m., the sun was shining, my heart was jumping. I was ready to explore. I almost did not say goodbye to Mom due to excitement!

‘Go say bye to your mother,’ Dad ordered.

‘Bye Mom! See you later’ I quickly released myself from her tight hug and left on dad’s motorcycle.

For 40 minutes, I was in heaven having the best time of my life, stopping at new places and asking my Dad all the questions I could properly formulate, and the ones I could not. No one would have made me believe it would be the last trip we took together. I had already planned another trip, exactly the same, in my mind.

We stopped at Auntie Claudette’s. They knew we were coming so we had a big breakfast and continued on our way. We rode for 10 more minutes. As I turned my head for what felt like half of a second, I saw a big bus approaching us – and that is all I remember. I woke up 7 days later in a hospital hooked up to machines, unable to move, speak or understand what was going on. That was the first time I experienced a panic attack.

The doctors and nurses finally calmed me down. ‘Do you remember your name?,’ one nurse asked. I told her my name. Opening my mouth felt like I was chewing cotton balls. ‘What year is it?,’ she continued. ‘2005,’ I responded with a weak, soft voice as tears roll down the side of my face.

She went on to explain that Dad and I got hit by a bus, the bus I saw half a second before I went into a coma. Dad passed away on the scene. He did not even make it to the hospital.

Courtesy of Manasse Derosier

I would’ve taken the pain of my broken humerus and sacrum intensified ten times more over the pain I felt in my heart and soul hearing what she had just told me. ‘This is too heavy for me to even repeat out loud,’ I thought to myself.

Never have I had someone close to me pass away. To me, death was something very far away from me -let alone MY FATHER! That day felt like I was placed in a foreign country for the first time where I did not know anyone, unable to speak or understand the language, dying of thirst but not knowing how to ask for water. How was I going to make it through this?

Throughout my recovery for the next year and a half, learning how to walk all over again, hundreds of physical therapy sessions for my arm, my mental health was declining more and more.

Courtesy of Manasse Derosier

In 2006, two of my sisters who were already living in the United States 4 years prior the accident, suggested it was time for the family to be together. So, the rest of us left everything behind and settled in Florida in January of 2007, trying to get a fresh start.

In 2015, I realized that things just could not work out for me in Florida. I had to find a better job and create a better life for myself. One day, I decided to pack up what I could, find an apartment and moved to Massachusetts all alone. Deep inside, my higher self knew I needed healing and pushed me to go away to find it!

Courtesy of Manasse Derosier

In Massachusetts, I dealt with many challenges in relationships, at work and mostly with myself.  One morning, I was at a community event, and a lady started talking to me. She asked me about my parents. I told her my mom lives in Florida and Dad passed away in an accident with me. She asked me how. ‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ I quickly replied. She then stated, ‘When your pain is great, do something greater.’

I had not talked about what happened to me in almost 10 years. For all that time, my family was afraid to bring up anything about the accident because they wanted to protect me from going back to the memories. I learned to keep it all inside. But the lady’s words rang in my head for a long time.

The following year, I met the love of my life, who introduced me to spiritual healing. I went to spiritual counseling, started to meditate, and embarked in some shadow work. It was the most challenging process I ever had to go through. I had to dig down deep, heal all those broken pieces and it has been a beautiful journey since then.

I resorted to cooking. Throughout the years, cooking has been my therapy because I always felt like it was the only thing I could do right. Other people could play an instrument, have special skills or play sports, however, for me, the only thing that gave me confidence was my cooking, so I embraced it.

Courtesy of Manasse Derosier

As I went through my healing process, I started learning about different foods and their effects on mental health and wellbeing so I chose to follow a vegan diet, and since Dad was the one who taught me how to cook, I created thevegan.goddess in his honor.

The purpose of my Instagram page is to use that platform to share my passion for cooking and educate others about the correlation of a healthy mental state and clean eating. I feel like every time I step into the kitchen, I reminisce on the experiences of cooking with my Dad and that is ‘something Greater’ for me because it is where my healing comes from.

I now know that true healing exists. It is never a destination, of course; healing is a lifelong journey from my experience. It comes when we allow ourselves to go through the process, it brings us many different experiences that cannot be expressed in words. Healing is everywhere, it sometimes finds us in the simplest and most basic things in our lives. For me, it is in my cooking. It is never too late for healing to have an encounter with anybody, just remain open and hopeful.”

Courtesy of Manasse Derosier

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Manasse Derosier of Massachusetts. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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