A few weeks ago I wrote about ‘Sliding Doors’ and narrowly missing a terrible car accident when someone ran a red light through an intersection right in front of me.
Apparently some cosmic force felt cheated because Friday evening I was in a car accident with both of my kids.
Everyone is ok, thank God.
When I was about 9 I was in an accident with my mom. She was driving me to school in her little pickup with my bike in the back. Some woman turned left in front of us in a big sturdy OLDsmobile or Buick- same difference- and completely smashed in the front end of my mom’s truck, wrecking my bike in the back in the process. I blacked out. I do not at all remember anything about the impact. I remember waking up and seeing the damage and knowing we didnt have any money and how much harder this would make life for my mom. She dropped me off at school after and went to work.
Friday the 13th was the scene of my recent accident. I did not black out, but I have wanted to since.
I havent yet had a break down over it. Im sort of waiting for a wave of gratitude and terror to hit me, but it hasnt. Just aching and bruising continue to hold my attention.
Friday was gorgeous here in Washington. It was in the low 80’s. I had the top of my Jeep off for some sunshine and fresh air. After picking my son up from school with my daughter in tow, we headed for my chiropractor appointment. Driving down a 2 lane road, both kids occupied with a device, I was thinking about seeing a movie with my husband later that night when a big SUV decided to turn from the oncoming shoulder right in front of me.
Stereotypical slow motion happened. I saw it happen while my brain was saying, “What is this m-er f-er doing?!” I went back and forth between disbelief and complete understanding. “But my kids are in the back!” was a recurring thought. I knew they wouldnt know until it was too late, so I screamed. Their heads would be down looking at the screen, and I wanted them to somehow prepare for the impact. See it coming. Not get literally blindsided.
My feet were already on the brake-both feet actually- and I tried to steer away from him but the nano second I realized there would be impact, I screamed. My mouth couldnt form any other words of warning in time for my kids.
And then impact happened. Hard crunching, bone jarring impact. Eyes wide open and seeing it all happen while unable to change what was about to occur is one of the most terrible feelings. Especially since it wasnt just me.
The after effect was what I imagine a tornado to be like. The kids were screaming. I was shaking. My car was still on. The radio was going, the kids were now crying and screaming.
It was this insane illogical mix of shattering noise and complete stillness. Deafening quiet.
I checked we were all still in one piece. No blood. No injuries. Check.
Try to calm the kids from my seat..i hadnt yet moved. My son was yelling any bad word he could think of at the truck. My daughter soon followed suit.
My ears were ringing. I would need a phone. Shit. My daughter was holding mine when we hit…”can you reach it, honey? You sure you’re ok?”
My door was blocked by the SUV so I couldnt get out.
“Huh..I seem to be trapped in the car..thats ok.”
The strange slow thoughts that run on a ticker tape across your brain when these catastrophes happen are surreal. I knew there must be a process of things I had to do, but I could not think. The kids were still screaming and crying.
Then the people started showing up. “Everyone ok?!” “Are the kids alright?!”
The guy that caused this nightmare walked past us holding his side. I wanted to jump out and scream, “What were you thinking?!?!!!” But I still couldnt manage to move much. Just shake.
A woman popped up on the passenger window and offered her witness info, but she was in a hurry.
I had to figure out how to simultaneously get her info while calling someone for help and getting insurance info out.
“Did you call 911 yet?”
“No. I should do that first.”
Someone already had called. Next I had to climb over to the passenger side to get out. That seemed to trigger my son to get out, and now my terrified 5yr old is the only one still inside. She is not happy about this, so i get her out. I hug and check the kids out, the fog is beginning to clear. All of these faces are so kindly offering help and assistance, but they are all over my kids. I just want everyone to back away for a minute!
They are mostly focused on my son who is on the verge of hyperventilating. They all seem to expect him to calm down.
“He has adhd. Its going to take some time.”
This seemed to be a key in having people slow down. A woman who lives nearby happens to be a search & rescue volunteer so she stayed with the kids while I spoke with the sherriff.
As a mother, it was very alien and difficult to watch someone from a distance help my kids after something so huge just rocked our world. I wanted to just sit down on the ground in a huddle with them until everyone was clear, but I had to talk with the sherriff. I had to produce documents. Also, we were on a dirt driveway and there were ants. I had to call my husband.
There’s a call you dont want to screw up. “Hey babe! Sorry to interrupt your day, I just plowed into someone. Ok, byeeeeee!”
No, definitely not the right lingo.
So it went more like, *pickup pickup pickup*
Hubbz: “Hey, whats up?”
Me: “Everyone is ok. We were in a car accident, and we are ok. But i need you to come now.”
From there it was all just chaos. Hot, sweaty, scared, confused chaos. I felt like I had to really thank all the strangers that came to our aid. I didnt want to offend anyone by not accepting help. We had a very nice man offer to take my kids into his house out of the sun and give them drinks..
Huh? I dont know you! Of course you cant take my kids into your house without me. Our world just got flipped on its head, man!
But i said, “ok, thank you” and we all stayed put. Later I went with them into his house and got some water. Unfortunately he also invited the accident causer in for a drink. Talk about awkward! I just hoped my kids wouldnt scream, “you’re an idiot!!” at him…but they wouldnt have been wrong. The man’s house we were in had two big dogs.
That I could wrap my brain around. One was a service dog, he assured me. The dogs were very calming. I wanted to bring them both with us everywhere. My husband showed up, checked the kids, then blessedly went to finish up with the cops. The other driver went to make phone calls on the porch. He asked twice if the kids were ok and made sure no one was hurt.
My daughter’s seat belt bruise started to show up. The firemen checked us out, but nothing serious to report. Thank God. (Another recurring chant throughout it all)
We were able to drive the Jeep home, but my husband reported that the brakes were failing and we need to get it towed.
I am so relieved we didnt hit that SUV with the minivan we had traded for the Jeep. I know it would have been safe, but it would have been a smashed wreck hitting that truck at 30/35 mph. There surely would have been a lot more damage to scare my kids. My son seemed focused on a lack of shattered glass and also he was certain the cars were about to explode.
It has taken my son some time to talk about it. My daughter wants to talk nonstop about it. Me, I just want to sleep. All these new aches and pains keep popping up and I just want to sleep for a week. My neck/shoulders hurt the most and i’ve been dizzy. We will see what tomorrow brings as far as new ailments. I’m happy to take it if it means my kids dont have to feel it.
I know I have some strong-willed and powerful guardian angels watching out for us and Im thankful we all walked away from that crash. Now I’m going to sleep.