Just 19

by Lexi

My friend was in a car accident with no one found at fault. Her car somehow ended up hitting a median and from there she was hit on the drivers side when her car twisted horizontally in on coming traffic. There was no alcohol or drugs involved. She was on her way home from work that Sunday night. 8/20 - just a couple days after her 19th birthday.

She was doing so well for someone whose body was so broken. She sustained brain injury, 9 broken ribs, both shoulder blades broken, a stretched spine with shattered vertebrae and a broken clavicle. Even with all of that and being pronounced dead at the scene, she amazed doctors as her spine re-aligned itself and she started breathing on her own most of the time after only a mere week and half. They moved her to a trach and she was excelling with that so much they were discussing taking the trach out.

About two weeks into her recovery from the accident, the doctors said that they thought she had suffered from a mild stroke and her fever bounced around staying anywhere between 100 to 104. She zoomed right through it and started physical therapy and had her first surgery for her back. They had her sitting up and she was mouthing words.. singing to her Ipod.

A couple days ago, they had to replace the trach parts because the swelling we were all waiting to go down finally had. The new trach nicked an artery and she was rushed to the OR. She died Saturday, September 17th at 10:45 in the morning. I still won't forget the moment or where I was when I got the news. I was sitting in the middle of a town festival with my kids and boyfriend. I immediately felt this sense of despair and started bawling. I spent a good portion of the day (while trying to still celebrate my brother's birthday with him) in a semi-trance repeating to myself "she's gone.. she's dead".

I had thought that I had prepared for this but I think that after all the progress that she was making all of us stopped thinking about the possibility of death and started looking forward to recovery. Like I said, she was doing so well. It's been over 24 hours since I sat in that place with so much life around me but feeling like the world stopped as soon as I got the message.

I met Courtney as a worker at the job I have now. She was a new hire a couple years ago and I always tried to get her to stand up for herself and make her voice heard. I tried to keep her going even when things were rough. She was the most kind hearted individual that I have ever met and to this day, the only individual that I've ever met that I truly believe never really judged me poorly for being who I was or believing in what I did. She never took my bad temper personally even when it was aimed accidentally at her. She was always a good sport and she was excited to come back to work after graduating from her CNA classes. She wanted to be a neonatologist.

I know that I will never meet another person with such a big heart. She prayed constantly for everyone, even those who treated her wrongly. Since yesterday I have struggled trying to find a word for the way I feel. I've been sick a lot this weekend making it even harder for me to tell myself to keep moving. Her funeral is on Wednesday and I am going to fight to take a couple hours from work and go. I don't know what I'll do if I don't go. I still remember walking up that hill every day after work to go see her. I remember her last words to me.. she mouthed "bye Lexi".. I was on my way to work that morning. Those are the last words I'll ever get from her. I remember the last words I told her when she was walking out the door before the accident.. "See you on Monday.. Have a good birthday.. don't do anything I wouldn't do"..

Now here I am .. with no words to explain how I fee8l.. just her story that I have repeated in my head over and over trying to figure out just what happened. How something like that could happen to someone so pure of heart. To a family that was like their daughter.. pure of heart.

Courtney succeeded for about month before she passed away on Saturday morning. Her strength and love touched so many.. and gave me hope that some day, I'd be able to be as strong as she was during this trial and as loving as she was her whole life.

Courtney Coulson 8/18/1992-9/17/2011 I love you Court.. rest peacefully.

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