Well, sadly this post will not be like my posts from study abroad or interning in New York. Sometimes, there are some pretty bad things that happen and it becomes very hard to even find the time and energy to write some of these things down.
This was one of the hardest things I have ever written on here.
I promise I will go into detail about all the amazing things happening here at Alabama (which I will do in a future post), but this part is a bit hard, so if you are reading, please be cautious.
I’ll just get right out with it. On Sunday night Dillon and I got into a horrible car crash.
On our way back from Fall Break, we were on a back road in Alabama, in the rain, with no shoulder and minimum lights or civilization. I remember we were talking about who should be driving, based on out levels of tiredness. It had already been 6 long hours of rain. Dillon had drove the first four hours and it was my turn to take the wheel. We both were being stubborn about the whole thing.”I’m too tired to drive the rest.” “I’ll be fine, I swear.”
All it took was one slight slip up. One slight swerve. One bump off the white line and the car lost complete control.
We were headed directly into opposing traffic. My only instinct was to drive the car in the other direction. I spun the wheel around and then…I can honestly not tell you. My next memory is looking to see the air bags to my left. The whole crash is not in my memory no matter how hard I try to picture it.
According to Dillon’s explanation and the tire marks, the car had spun for 20 yards until it crashed onto a hill off the side of the road. The air bags deployed and I immediately checked to see if Dillon was injured. Luckily, he was not seriously injured at all. We stepped out of the steaming car and walked with a flashlight up the road to see the tire marks and pieces of my car scattered across the 20 yard stretch.
We called the police the second after escaping the car, and what scared me the most was that it took the police 20 minutes to reach us. A lot can happen after a car wreck in the middle of nowhere in the rain in back woods Alabama. A nice couple had stopped and pulled over to make sure we were okay.They stayed with us until the police came. Sometimes I still have hope in the good of humanity.
Once the police car and tow truck showed up, everything felt so surreal. The police officer and tow truck man treated the situation as if it was any other day on the job. The officer asked me the basic questions and left Dillon standing in the rain. I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe a dramatic dialogue, or at lease for one of these people in charge to ask “are you okay?”
In the moment I didn’t cry much. I screamed in distress and lost my breath, but I didn’t cry. Looking back on it, I find that part strange. Dillon tells me that I screamed a high pitch shriek as the car spun. I don’t remember screaming.
The tow truck drove Dillon and I to their lot and two friends picked us up and drove us home safely. It is truly amazing how much your friends are there for you in those terrible times. I tend to keep to myself when I am gong through tough things. I tend to not open myself up entirely to people. When I mentioned the crash to people at school, I was taken back by how much people really cared. I know this is coming off depressing, but if anything I was just so grateful to see all those smiling faces.
The tow truck driver could fill an entire blog post himself. After only 30 seconds of driving in the tow truck, the driver swerved off the road for a second and then miraculously continued driving. He said, “that would have sucked, you know, that happening twice in one night.” My adrenaline-rushed body could not even make sense of what he just said. Then he turned to us and brought up the uplifting fact that he is on empty and that apparently gas stations in Alabama close after a certain time on Sundays. (Yes, because emergencies only happen on days other than Sundays) We drove to four different gas stations and with a mile left of gas, made it to the only station open. Just as we pulled into the tow truck’s lot the driver laughed and said, “opps just realized I haven’t been wearing my seatbelt this entire time. Eh, not worth it to put in on now.” He then proceeded to drive into the towing lot.
If you laughed during the tow truck story, I promise you are not a horrible person. I laughed myself about it for hours after the accident. Funny how such a horrible moment, can be clouded with comedy. The way you are no longer able to comprehend your situation and just break down into a hysteria of laughter. Maybe that is the only thing keeping people sane in this world.
The hardest part of the situation was not the crash or the police or even standing in the cold rain and feeling it hit my body for the first time like I never had before. It was the days that followed.
I thought I would be fine. I thought it would just be another thing to deal with and I could just go finishing my homework and going to work.
It ended up consuming every waking hour.
I know I should not think in terms of “what if,” but I can’t help myself. Every time I close my eyes, I just see the moment where I turn the wheel in the other direction. I remember seeing Dillon’s face and never being that scared in my life.
There had to be someone looking out for us. Everything that happened in that crash was lucky. I know it’s a strange juxtaposition when you use the words “crash” and “lucky” in the same sentence, but that might have been the luckiest crash in the history of crashes. The car turned into opposing traffic, yet in that second, there were no cars in the way. When the wheel turned and skid, there were no obstacles or guard rails in the way other than that dirt hill. The car hit on the front and the air bags perfectly deployed as the sides of the car were hit.
If we had hit another car, we would have been dead.
If we had hit an obstacle, we would have been dead.
If the car did not hit at the exact point of impact, we would have been dead.
Everyone keeps telling me to not think about the “what ifs.” It’s impossible to stop.
I did not want to write this blog post to just update you all about my situation, but just to remind everyone how precious life is and how lucky you are to wake up everyday.
As I sit in the ER at 1:00am (to make sure there is no damage to my already scoliosis ridden back as well as the chance of a concussion), there are no words that can even begin to illustrate my appreciation for life. I am one of the lucky ones in this room. There are people much worse off, who are stuck sitting in this room with me. Usually ER waiting rooms would annoy me, but today I sit here alone, typing away, and thanking the world for not have been strolled in on a stretcher, after being pulled from a burning car. I just get to sit and wait. I get to listen to the baby cry in the corner and the college kids discuss a drinking story. It was all the most beautiful noise I could hear. A symphony that reminds you to put everything in perspective. Yes, you are in the ER waiting room, but it could always be worse.
Some of you might not know this but I was in a wreck my senior year of high school, where another car had hit me. The car was totaled and I had a limp and terrible whiplash for 6 months. On that day I had also found out my social security number was stolen. (No worries, that was all figured out)
It’s okay if you laughed at that story too. I find myself chuckling about it to this day.
Two horrific wrecks that could have been fatal, yet I am still the luckiest girl in the world. I am alive and laughing.