“How Is It That I Didn’t Die?”

Jenifer Lewis recounts her journey to recovery following a “terrifying” 10-foot fall from a balcony.

The 67-year-old actress got candid about her brush with death. Lewis embarked on a memorable journey through South Africa and Rwanda before heading to Tanzania for a retreat in the Serengeti.

Reflecting on her experience, Lewis recalled the darkness that covers the Serengeti once the sun sets. Despite her excitement to see the infinity pool from her deck, she accidentally fell into a dry ravine due to an unsecured section of the deck, encountering jagged boulders and sharp rocks.

“It was not safe,” Lewis says. “If you’re on a deck, there should be no opening for you to fall, whether it’s pitch black or pure sunshine. It was an unsafe deck. There was a dim light on the deck and had there been just a 10-ft. drop sign, a small caution sign…there was nothing.”

She continued, “So I’m walking la-di-da and boom, I was on the ground. It was unbelievable because I didn’t even know I was falling. I just went down like liquid, I am on the ground. Everything hurts. I went to move and I couldn’t move my body. I’m coughing in the dirt and I find enough air in my lungs to call out to Laurie.”

Following her rescue, Lewis learned that she had fractured her acetabulum, which is the socket of the hip bone. Upon returning to the U.S., Lewis underwent a four-day evaluation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles before being transferred to the California Rehabilitation Institute, where she spent two weeks undergoing rehabilitation.

Nevertheless, Lewis recognizes the difficulty of her recovery yet she’s grateful to be alive and feels she’s discovered a new sense of purpose.

“It was like, oh my God, how is it that I didn’t die? What do I do now? How do I earn being alive? I’ve got to do more for the world. I’ve got to make a difference,” she said.

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