In the New York Times, Tim Kreider writes about surviving in a piece entitled Reprieve.
Fourteen years ago I was stabbed in the throat. This is kind of a long story and it’s not the point of this essay. The point is that after my unsuccessful murder I wasn’t unhappy for an entire year. (...)
I’m not claiming I was continuously euphoric the whole time; it’s
just that, during that grace period, nothing much could bother me or
get me down. The sort of horrible thing that I’d always dreaded was
going to happen to me had finally happened. I figured I was off the
hook for a while.
In a parallel universe only two millimeters away from
this one (the distance between the stiletto and my carotid), I had been
flown home in the cargo hold instead of in coach. Everything in this
one, as far as I was concerned, was gravy.
My friends immediately mocked me out of my self-consciousness about the nerve damage that had left me with a lopsided smile. I started brewing my own dandelion wine in a big Amish crock. I listened to old pop songs too stupid to name in print. And I developed a strange new laugh that’s stayed with me to this day — a loud, raucous, barking thing that comes from deep in the diaphragm and makes people in bars or restaurants look over at me for a second to make sure I’m not about to open up on the crowd with a weapon.
It didn’t last, of course. You can’t feel grateful to be alive your whole life any more than you can stay passionately in love forever — or grieve forever, for that matter. Time forces us all to betray ourselves and get back to the busywork of living in the world. (...)