It was an accident that sent David Francisco to the ER with a spinal cord injury. It was a life-changing accident, but an accident nonetheless.
Freya Markowski was driving along in Berry Hill, Tennessee, when she suddenly heard hundreds of voices in her head. Distracted, she blew through a red light going 40 miles per hour. Before she knew it, David’s lifeless body was thrown from his bicycle into her windshield.
It was an accident, but Freya’s guilt and shame quickly took over. “I remember being in a black hole,” she says of the days, weeks, and months that followed. With a history of mental illness and drug abuse, Freya was already in a fragile state.
As David was rushed to the hospital with a spinal cord injury that left him without feeling in his legs and feet, he began thinking of the driver who hit him. “I forgave her at the beginning,” he remembers.
Unsure if he’d ever walk again, David probably thought about his career, too. As a musician, he needed his limbs to walk around on stage, play his music, and live a happy life. But, amazingly, that concerned him less.
“I figured she probably also was going through a lot. I’d been shown so much support, I wanted to show her some” back.
And he was right. A few months after the crash, Freya overdosed on heroin and died for a few minutes. She was revived and brought to a hospital to recover.
While Freya struggled with the guilt of her actions, David frantically searched for her to tell her that he was going to be okay. After months of looking, David had all but given up. Then he saw an opportunity.
Since he was still in the hospital, the musician sent his dad on a mission: Freya was due to appear in court on charges of failure to yield causing serious injury — David’s father was to show up and convince the judge and shell-shocked woman that everything was alright.
The charges were officially dropped.
Ever since, David and Freya have helped one another recover, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
David went through physical therapy and can now walk with aids, and after months of texting back and forth, he and Freya agreed to meet up. Almost a year after the fateful crash, they locked eyes in person and embraced.
“I forgave myself the moment David held me in his arms,” Freya said.
David says of his forgiveness, “It just didn’t make sense for me to be angry, as long as it was an accident. I was never angry at her.”
Thanks to their combined work, David is back to making music and performing. It just goes to show that forgiveness, compassion, and empathy can cure almost anything.
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