Some things are hard to talk about, even when we don’t think that is so.
Seven months ago I was involved in a car crash that totaled our car and left me with a significant concussion. I was unable to look at screens (computer, TV, phone) for about 4 months and told myself that once I could write, that I would blog about the experience of my accident.
I haven’t. But I want to…sort of.
Life events impact us in ways that often hit deeper than our awareness. What is impacting me that is preventing me from writing about this in a public forum? I feel like I need to write before I can fully move on. I have other blogs that I want to write but feel unable to write them until I write this. So, without a full understanding, I write…
The car that hit me came out of nowhere, swerving around 3 lanes of stopped traffic that were kindly waving me through. He was speeding, fast. I saw the hit and my heart sank.
Then my children in the back and then panic. Were they hurt?
I could barely focus but I turned around and looked at them. My son asked “what was that loud noise?!” My daughter started to cry. I tried to remain conscious. Strangers rushed in and asked lots of questions. Apparently my children were okay. I had an arm in the back on them, vision blurry, head throbbing, stomach churning.
Then sirens and the sounds of my son “MOMMY!!! A fire truck!!! MOMMY!!! An ambulance!!!”
Yes son, they are coming for us. Inside I felt a rush of relief. They asked me questions that I couldn’t answer: “which direction were you travelling?” Uuumm…which way am I facing? The car that hit us spun us into a 2nd vehicle (didn’t know that until I was in the ER) and I didn’t have a clue where I was or which direction the car was facing.
The specific details from there don’t really matter. All that mattered was that my children were safe and they were being carefully attended by the wonderful First Responders. They put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back of the ambulance, giving my son the important job of carrying my back pack and my daughter the equally important task of carrying my wallet. They understood kids! They both told their dad later, with great pride, how they had helped.
My son barely stopped talking long enough to breath over the excitement of being in the back of an ambulance. I focused on my daughter, who remained mute, and on remaining conscious without vomiting. The paramedics attended to them beautifully, making them funny face balloons out of medical gloves and chatting them up.
They explained all the equipment and they gently explained what they were doing to me. They all chuckled at my son’s incredible capacity to talk! My daughter suddenly recovered and joined the discussion. When we finally arrived at the hospital, the paramedics offered the kids a tour of the ambulance bay and the front of the ambulance. These are two kids who don’t take quickly to strangers at the best of times, let alone in moments of extreme duress, so I was both shocked and relieved when they happily went off with the paramedics while I was wheeled into the ER.
When they returned one of the paramedics brought them some juice and cheese and crackers, noting that it was approaching suppertime. Wow. And then my daughter produced some princess stickers and informed me that a fire fighter had given them to her at the scene of the accident. Wow.
My gratitude to those first responders is enormous! I finally wrote a letter of thanks to them just a few days ago. Again, why the long delay?
So now I live my life “after the crash”. I live with a knowledge that today might not have been. That my children might not have bounced back so easily. That life might have been radically different. But angels were watching over our car that day. I believe that with all my heart. Yes, we crashed, but we were all okay. And 7 months later I am 95% healed from the concussion. That is quick and miraculous!
My first blog a year ago talked about the power of words. I think that putting this experience into words is the next (perhaps last?) step to healing. The experience will forever be with me. The images will never be gone. The memory of my 6 year old son telling me “the steering wheel blew apart and a big balloon came out” will never, ever fade.
And so with gratitude, I write. I share the words, though the words don’t even come close to expressing the emotions. But words matter.
And now I am free to continue to write, after the crash.