Tuesday, September 01, 2009

When It Happens

This summer was intense for us. My brother's near death car accident with the semi taught me a valuable lesson: it can happen. Not too long after the car accident I went through a period where I was so fearful of it happening again in any which way life is meant to happen when it happens tragically. Because nothing like this ever happened before when it involves family.

Our Family Store has dealt with Grandparents and cancer, a liver transplant for an Aunt, your typical illnesses and surgeries and worries. But nothing ever had come close to what happened that day on 5/26.

Oddly enough the year prior, my dad was in a tiny not at fault fender bender in the month of May. On May 13Th 2005 on a Friday evening about 30minutes before midnight, I was returning home from a wake when I was hit by an SUV directly into my drivers side door. He didn't see me driving through the intersection and he turned right into me. I remember screaming and trying to avoid smashing into the light pole. I remember him coming up to my window, sticking his face into the window saying how sorry he was and I remember thinking, this kid looks either high or drunk. (not drunk according to the test they did on sight. turns out he was a "mayor's son" of a town southwest from ours. My four door Nissan was totaled. But I was okay.

I have always. always always had a tremendous fear of car accidents. The first accident occurred when I was quite young. Maybe not even 6 yet. It was the night of my ballet recital and I was going to do my first solo. My dad didn't show up. He usually ran late to things, but this was weird.

I knew something wasn't right. You just know these things even if you're not old enough to know them. Turns out he was driving home when something happened, what I don't recall but I'm pretty sure this was during winter, and somehow he ended up flipping his truck and ending up in a ditch upside down. I heard him later that night when I should have been asleep in bed, talking to my mom, I think, about the accident. He said as soon as his truck came to a stop, he felt this intense heat coming from the middle of his back. He thought to himself, oh my gosh, did I break my back? Turns out it was one of the cheeseburgers he had picked up from Burger King not too long before the accident. It ended up smashed behind him and the heat of the recently grilled nasty cheeseburger was what he felt on his back. He walked away fine.

That was when I began to fear accidents, but not to the point where I thought something bad was going to happen. More so I was more tuned into the not so nice things that comes with life.

Then Marlena. My mom's forever best friend was killed in a car accident when her car hit a tree. She was under the influence of alcohol which was what caused her to drive her car directly into a tree after losing control. From that point I went through a period where I was a mess.

Any single time my mom would leave the house alone, I was convinced she was going to be killed in a car accident. Now granted my the reason Marlena died was because of alcohol and my Mom never drank, but still that didn't matter, to me, she was going to be killed in an accident and it would be because of someone else. I would beg and plead with her to let me come with her on her quest for peaceful errands. I can still recall the emotional mess I was at that time. Matter of fact, if I close my eyes I can actually feel those feelings from back then. Yes, you already know I'm a freak.

Naturally time went on and I slowly calmed down with the fear that my mom was going to die in a car accident. Not before one school afternoon when my neighbor showed up after school to pick us up. My neighbor never picked us up-it was always my mom. I knew before she said anything. Hell, she didn't have to, I knew that my mom had been in a car accident. She was and she was okay. The same sort of injuries that I had with mine-muscles, tendons, shoulder and neck and back post accident-all very common in collisions. She was okay. I took me awhile to calm down, but like I said, in time, the fear slowly went away. Although I never stopped fearing death by car accident.

My sophomore year of HS after school one day, instead of me walking home, which I very well could have, I took a ride from a boy. He decided to drop off his buddy first before driving me home, although thinking back, why the heck did he do that when I lived closer. Naturally now I know why, he was hoping to make a move. Well, we never got past the cemetery. He ended up rear ending his ex girlfriends car and my head smashed into the windshield, because, I wasn't wearing my seat belt.

I was taken by ambulance to the hospital where I was perfectly fine. Matter of fact I don't recall even having a scratch. The next morning my neck hurt like hell, but other then that, I was fine. The sad part of this is for whatever reason, the kid that was driving the car decided to start a rumor that I was pregnant and had a miscarriage. WHAT?! I know, totally cruel! I was out for a few days after the accident so I guess he wanted to make his story bigger by taking the blame off himself as he was clearly at fault and twist it into a story that made a major impact in my social life at that time. No I was not pregnant. Matter of fact, at that point in my life, I was still a virgin. What a douchebag. But no matter, just another car accident.

I have a friend that lost her parents to a car accident when she was just a little girl.
I have a friend that lost his wife to a car accident when someone ran a red light and she was killed instantly.

A half a mile away there is flowers that rest there every year on Mothers day, on her birthday, and the day of the accident when a local mom of this town that I didn't know, was hit so hard by a young guy that ran a stop sign because he had a seizure, it took them 30minutes to extricate both him and her. She was airlifted out of there and taken to another hospital further away from the local one here. Why? Because our hospital whereas it is an excellent trauma hospital, it does not have a burn unit. She died later that evening. The young man survived and will forever have to carry this on his shoulders. A young man from a very nice family, matter of fact they're a family that attends the same perish as I do. I used to babysit them when they were little.

But this. My brother. Well, it happened. It happens everywhere. But when it happens to you, when it's someone so close to you, it opens up a completely new hallway. Before Jimmy's accident, I feared car accidents. I feared losing someone in a car accident. Matter of fact there were times throughout the most recent years, that I feared I'd lose my brother. This fear was intense. But I still got in the car and drove. I didn't allow that fear to take over my like completely. Maybe because when I drove, I was in control. Whereas whenever someone close to me would drive it was that fear of losing them. Through all of this what scared me the most was losing someone close to me. When it involved the fear of me dying in a car accident, the thought train wasn't as painful, versus when the thought involved losing others.

Here we are right now. When it already happened.
Sept 1st 2009. My brother was given the okay to move out of my parents house and be on his own. He's been driving for weeks now. His hair has grown out so if you're not right up in his face and didn't know what to look for, you won't see his long scar. I see it. His family sees it. We always will because of that day. He still does not remember nor do they think he ever will. His personality is there. He talks. Walks. Reads. Swims. "Facebooks". Dreams. He still has headaches every day. He will still suddenly get the worse case of vertigo. Loud noises hurt him as do bright lights. He can get frustrated and cranky quite easy, but even that has improved as far as his patience. He laughs. He writes. He thinks.

So it happened to him. Because of that, because he'll never remember the accident, but we will, it happened to us. Because it happened, I no longer fear losing someone in a car accident. That fear is oddly gone. Even if I try to conjure it up within my thoughts, I can't get one increase of my pulse or heart rate. Now if you ask me to picture my brother's accident, that's a completely different story. But my fear of car accidents, that hidden cloud behind the hallway no longer is there.

Because when it happened, and when time happened to get us to here to this point, this day, September the 1st, my Grandpa's birthday, things have healed. When our brother was given more time here, I stopped fearing. I began enjoying, because no matter what, something will happen to all of us. But when it does happen, and whatever it may be, no matter how sad, tragic, awful, sick or any other word you can think up for me right now, it won't matter. Because the time spent before the happening, will be time spent content in that moment, in that breath.

When it's my moment to happen, I will be on my way home, to Him. As long as I can figure out how to keep the faith flowing through my veins, until that day, when it does happen.

Please Drive Safe.


Jamie said...

So beatifully said E. Your are right, we just can't waste any more precious time worrying about things that may or may not happen.

Hugs, friend. :)

austere said...

A hug, Crusty.

Well, you know my story.

What is, is. :)

Kathy said...

And it DOES happen! Way too frequently. I'm glad your brother is doing so well. What a blessing!!

... Paige said...

glad to hear brother is doing so well. and you, faith brings no fear of what could be because we know what will be

Cheryl said...

Wow. What a post. Hi old friend. Long time... I'll never forget what happened to Jimmy. It was the first time we ever talked on the phone. I called you and left a message, then you called me to tell me about your brother. I'm SO glad that he's OK. It really is a miracle. And I hope and pray that you're never in a car accident. You or Brian or the boys or anyone else in your family.