“It’s so beautiful …” (little did I know)
I haven’t written this blog for a long time, and I am sorry about that. I was involved in a head-on car collision last December 5, and it’s been difficult to get back to normal after that. No physical injuries to speak of, just bruises from the airbag, and also from the entire front end of the car moving back and crashing into my legs, but mostly psychological effects that I will never get over.
It’s been suggested that I tell the story here, so I will, but not a long-drawn out story as I’d first thought of. I am seriously done thinking about it, but I will never get over the loss of my car (irreplaceable), or the loss of trust in how things “should” work. I am still not driving, and it will be a while before I can. Every time I am in a car, I am cringing, waiting for a crash that I hope I will never have to experience again.
Here is the beginning of the story. I will spend a few days on it, but then I am moving on. I have a fun Death Valley dirt riding trip to write about, and that is way more appealing to me than thinking about this horrible crash – again.
“Trauma can be caused by a wide variety of events, but there are a few common aspects. There is frequently a violation of the person’s familiar ideas about the world and of their human rights, putting the person in a state of extreme confusion and insecurity.” – Wikipedia
Part 1, The Girl Who Lived
The day started out as an ordinary day …
Saturday morning in December. Oh, what luxury to stay in bed a little while longer and sleep in!
It had been yet another stressful week at work. It was December 5, my sister’s birthday. I thought, I should call her. Later, I tried, but she was attending a work-related workshop of some kind and couldn’t talk on the phone then.
I got up, and soon my brother-in-law and I were decorating the inner part of the backyard with Christmas lights. Next weekend would be the party at our house for our motorcycle riders’ club, and I wanted the house to look nice. After we finished with the lights, I worked in the garden for a little while. Then, I ate a decent lunch, for which I would later be grateful.
My husband, Desmond, and I had errands to do that day. We left the house at about 2:15 p.m. We had things to drop off at various places, shopping to do, and maybe even pick up an outdoor fire pit to use during the party. I’d wanted one for a long time, and now was a perfect time to finally get one. I also wanted to look at some sewing machines, and make my final decision on the one I would get to replace my broken one. I was really looking forward to getting it, anticipating that I would get to make good use of it over the holiday break from work.
After visiting my Dad, and as it got dark, we headed toward Home Depot to look at, or get, a fire pit. As we drove west toward the sunset, I remarked, “Look at the sky, it’s so beautiful, all pink and gold and silver.” The streaks made by trailing clouds picked up the fading light and radiated it over the landscape. I drove into the parking lot of Home Depot, looped around, and pulled into a parking spot. I did not know then that it would be the last time I would ever park my Sonata.
I am telling you all these details not to bore you to death, but to tell you how “normal” that day was, with no premonition of what was to come. I could not have known how my life would be turned upside down in a split second, how tenuous a person’s connection with reality, and how almost everything that is important to me could be taken away in an instant.
We walked around in the store for a little while, comparing and looking at fire pits. “I’ll come back with Pat and get it with the truck,” Desmond said. He didn’t think it would fit into the Sonata’s trunk. I thought it would, but I was getting impatient to get home, and we had one more stop to make at Trader Joe’s. So, we walked out to the car, got in it, started the engine. I wish now that we’d taken the time to get the fire pit because what happened next might not have happened. It would have delayed us enough to make the timing right for us to avoid hell on earth.
As I got to the street, I looked at the traffic. Usually, I will avoid turning left onto a busy street, but this time there was no traffic. I looked twice. There were no cars. So I began my left-hand turn to go west. The car was almost straight, and headed west, when suddenly, a pair of headlights appeared out of the dusk right in front of my car! There was no time to react, the headlights had appeared six inches in front of me.
Desmond yelled my name. We both saw the lights at the same time, as if they had materialized out of nothing. I had no time to do anything, and it was going to be a head-on collision.
BAM! The sound of the impact was terrible. The sound of it is still in my ears. I suppose I heard the sound of both air bags deploying, and the sound of the two cars violently coming together. All I saw was a million stars exploding in my eyes …
Next: direct aftermath