Anger and hope
Crozier is inspired by Jill’s fortitude. “She never seemed to feel sorry for herself,” she says, “and she never gives up. I remember seeing her in the hospital having to relearn to do the simplest things and thinking that if I were her, I would just want to quit. She never did.
” Villalobos says she is amazed by Mason’s progress. “She has come so far so fast when you consider the accident was only two years ago. It doesn’t surprise me that she is still optimistic…and a hard worker—that was her at her core before the accident.”
Mason concedes that she is angry about what happened. “But I have gotten less angry over time,” she insists. “And there is too much good left to do. So I am really trying not to let my anger rule my world. It is just hard, because I used to run when I was mad, and I was not mad very often…. I am still working on trying to find a way.”
One way Mason has found to cope is by sharing her story, both online, through a detailed blog about her recovery, which was started by her brother and recently taken over by Mason, and through talks she gives at local schools and clubs. In her presentation, Mason says she tries to “teach kids about what drunk driving can take away from someone.”
“I really feel like it is important to tell them at that age. They are new drivers, and they need to make the right choices. And, by seeing me, someone who is…younger, it will teach them they are not invincible,” she adds.
Telling her story has helped her in many ways, she says. “It is nice to be able to reach out to people.” Plus, she says, “the audiences’ reactions are just incredible…. When I am done, the kids are just silent. They really hear me…. They really seem to think, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to be careful.’”
The road ahead
Mason has lots of plans for the future, including more athletic competitions, a relaunch of her career in marketing, and a move out of her parents house, where she has lived since her accident.
Mason is hoping to move back to the South Bay, find a roommate for about 6 months to a year, while she continues searching for a home to buy. She plans to continue giving her PowerPoint presentation about drunk driving and also work part time in marketing or public relations like she did before.
Mason says she is excited about the move, and a little sad, too. “It will be different,” she says, saying she will miss friends and family. “But I think it is something I need to do to learn how to live again.”
—Elizabeth Kelley Gillogly is the contributing editor of Santa Clara Magazine.