This past weekend, my family and I were in a pretty bad car accident. We were on our way home from dinner and I was thinking about the leftover pumpkin pie we had in the frid—BAM!
A pick-up truck slammed into us and slammed us into the pick-up truck in front of us.
My first thought was, “What the hell just happened?” The confusion quickly gave way to fear because all I heard was my children’s screams from the backseat. I turned around and saw both of them shaking and screaming and crying for help. My husband quickly unbuckled and got out of the car and into the backseat for my son. I unbuckled and reached into the backseat to grab my daughter, screaming for the other people involved in the accident to call 911. At that point, I had no idea whether either of my children were seriously injured.
My head was pounding. Suddenly, a police officer was at the scene, asking me if the children were okay. “I don’t know,” I stammered. “I don’t know.” We got the children checked out and miraculously, they didn’t have as much as a scratch on them. I’m still thanking God. Over and over and over again.
The driver was arrested at the scene for driving while drunk and spent the weekend in jail. Good. However, he’s now out, awaiting his court date.
Now, a few days later, I’m still a little shaken up. At every red light I’m panicking. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the jolt from getting hit. I can still hear my kids screaming. My nightmares are upsetting and I am still scared.
I’ve spent this week indulging in self-care: baking, taking lots of naps and trying to do things to lift my spirits. I wanted to write a little about this, just so I can clear my head, as writing as always been the best way for me to sort through my feelings. Yes, a list might be the weakest way to present my thoughts here but this will have to do:
1) I really really love my children – This is the reason I am still shaking four days later. I am so thankful that they weren’t physically hurt, even as they are dealing with their fears of getting “kaboomed” again (their term for the crash).
2) Drunk driving is more common than I previously believed – the driver was stumbling around the crash scene, asking questions and apologizing but he wasn’t really making any sense. It was “only” 6:30 p.m., so who is out on the road, drunk at that time of day? But according to MADD, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes. EVERY.TWO.MINUTES.
3) I have to allow myself to feel what I feel – When people have asked me how I’m doing, I smile and say, “I’m fine.” But really…I’m not. And I need to be okay with that and allow myself to go through the motions of getting back to normal.
4) Children are surprisingly resilient – After the crash, the ambulance took us to McDonald’s to wait for my parents to come drive us home after they towed the car away. My kids were running around playing and I was sitting there still in shock. I couldn’t believe they were laughing and playing. Healthy. Uninjured. Alive.
5) Material things seem much less important now – The car is totaled but I don’t care. (Also, shout out to Chevy engineers for keeping us safe in the interior. We went to go get our things out of the car at the impound lot and if you looked in the interior, you’d have no idea the car had been in an accident! I had been concerned when my husband came home with the Chevy Cruze, that it was such a small car. But ultimately, the salespeople were right – it was an incredible safe and well designed car.)
6) I am not in control of a damn thing – I am such a control freak and I keep running through my head what I could have done differently to avoid this situation. But there’s nothing. I am not in control of a damn thing and that’s kind of scary.
Please consider this my PSA: Do not drink and drive. It is not worth it. You might have a beer or two and think you’re okay, but don’t even take that chance. Have someone else drive or spend the night with a friend.