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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Girl Interrupted: Charlotte woman reclaims life after injury
Tamika Hall refuses to let tragedy take away her smile
 
Published Thursday, March 14, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

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25-year-old Tamika Hall is rebuilding her life after suffering a traumatic brain injury. She is now employed and working on her Associate degree with hopes of running a business.

Growing up in Charlotte, 25-year-old Tamika Hall didn’t have many female friends. She was always hanging with the fellas and considered herself a tomboy. That changed when she enrolled in Clinton Junior College in Rock Hill, where she befriended a female classmate named Unique Bullock.

The two became fast friends. Bullock was planning to marry her high school sweetheart and had asked Hall to be in her wedding, but they never got the chance. On Oct. 28, 2006, Hall and Bullock were involved in a car crash. Bullock died in the collision. Hall was rushed to the hospital, where she spent seven weeks in a coma.

When she regained consciousness, Hall had no recollection of what happened. She had suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Hall had no idea her best friend died. It was a secret that her family and friends kept from her because they did not think she could handle the news.

“They didn’t want it to hinder or stall my progress,” she explained.

Hall did not learn the truth about Bullock until the following May when Clinton held its summer commencement. The school awarded Bullock a posthumous degree, and that was when Hall learned she was not resting at home as she had previously been told.

“Until then, I didn’t know that she had died,” said Hall. “I kind of felt betrayed because they didn’t tell me. When I found out I felt deceived. I felt so hurt.”

To make matters worse, there were conflicting stories about what caused the crash. Initially, police were told there was a deer that the driver swerved to avoid hitting. Later, according to Hall, another passenger in the vehicle admitted to her there was no deer and speeding was the cause.

Getting back to life

Left feeling lost and confused, Hall said there were many reasons for her to be angry and upset, but she learned that she could not live in that pain.

“There are things that I’m tempted to complain about but I [don’t] because God has brought me too far,” she said. “I thank God that I’m able to go through it or experience it.”

Hall spent several months in a physical rehabilitation facility before moving to a nursing home. She had to learn to walk, talk and write again and do so many of the things she had once taken for granted like simply sitting in the floor.

“I was so terrified of sitting on the floor," she said."I didn’t know how to. When you have a brain injury you don’t think normal. You think things are much more harder than they are because you don’t know how to do them.”

Prior to the crash, Hall considered herself a high achiever. She was involved in everything from cheerleading to the yearbook committee and had plans of becoming an entrepreneur.

“People used to always ask why I was involved in so much stuff,” she said. “I’d say because I want to make it. I’m going to make it. Even now, I’m still going to make it.”

In God she trusts

Hall turned to her faith and began attending church more regularly for encouragement and motivation.

“I’ve learned that you never know that God is all you need until God is all you’ve got,” she said.

Determined to regain her independence, Hall refused to be deterred by those who counted her out. Even in therapy, her nurses would try to place limits on her abilities.

“I wasn’t going for it,” she said. “I didn’t want to be combative, but I wasn’t going to let them tell me what I could and could not do. The Bible said, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’”

After completing physical therapy, Hall decided she wanted a job. She participated in Easter Seals UCP’s Supported Employment Program, which helps individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities find employment. She is now employed at Taco Bell as a lobby attendant. She is also working on finishing her associates degree at Clinton and spends her free time writing poetry.

“I enjoy doing anything where I can express myself,” she said. “I love writing. I love cooking also... Anything that you can make yours by doing it your way, I am interested in it. I can do it well and I can stand out by how I express myself with it.”

The next goal on her agenda is learning how to drive and getting her license.

 “In God’s time I know that it’s going to happen,” she said. “Because everything that God is involved in has to be decent and in order. As long as I’m doing my best, I know God is going to bless my effort and in his timing, I will get it.”

She also hopes to get married one day, but is in no rush to find someone to date.

“The Bible says, ‘a man who finds a wife finds a good thing’ so he has to find me,” she said. “I can’t go looking for him.”

Comments

Tamika don't stop fighting. Please don't quit on God because his hand is unchanging,and he will never leave you, don't quit on yourself, and please surround yourself with family and friends who truly care and love you. Surviving life is not easy, but you have shown that it can be done, through your faith and persistence.
Posted on March 15, 2013
 

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