- Associated Press - Saturday, June 14, 2014

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Was she dreaming? Was she awake?

Emilie Gossiaux found herself in total blackness.

Someone touched her hand; she pulled away. Something brushed her ear; she shook her head. Something pierced her arm; she pulled back.

“Stop it!” she tried to yell but couldn’t unclench her teeth.

She flailed.

She realized she was lying down, and when she tried to get up, paralyzing pain shot through her hips and left leg.

She couldn’t understand why everything was quiet, was pain, was dark. Everywhere she turned, more blackness.

“Pull me out of the wall,” she finally said.

Pull me out of the wall. It’s exactly the kind of abstraction an artist would use to describe the nothingness all around her.

Emilie didn’t know she was blind.

And no one could tell her. Because she was also deaf.

It has been nearly four years since Gossiaux, a graduate of Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, was run over by an 18-wheeler as she biked to the art studio where she worked in New York City.

Deaf since age 5, she was blinded and nearly killed in the accident in October 2010. Her pelvis was crushed, her left femur shattered, her jaw wired shut, her optic nerves severed. Doctors once feared she was “gone,” her mother recalled, beyond the reach of medicine and of this world.

They asked to harvest her organs.

But last month, Gossiaux, 24, walked across the stage as a graduate of the prestigious Cooper Union in New York City, where she returned last spring after intense therapy for her body and her artistic soul.

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