in an instant

I have endured much in my life. Less than most perhaps and more than some would probably survive. I have been often ostracized and shunned in school, repeatedly raped, and physically abused throughout my childhood and adolescence by people I should have been able to trust. I lost a baby during pregnancy, had a child removed from my home due to proven false accusations and more. But none of that changed my life as drastically as the incident I’m about to share with you. It required over a year of counseling, extensive PTSD breakdowns, personal and outside sourced understanding and guidance as well as a self-sought new outlook on life in general.

As is typical for mi, I write when I need understanding in my emotions. This situation was no different. However, despite the pain, agony, and ache of revisiting, I managed to form feelings, grasp some sense of purpose, and seven years later collaborated it all into my third book called, In an Instant.  Although something I will never recover from, I do consider myself healed of the trauma and grief.

The day started out no different than any other Saturday. I slept in. I could hear the family bustle in the adjacent rooms. Not a morning person, I woke up slowly, enjoying the sun as it peeked through my curtains and listening to the birds chirping outside. At that time, I didn’t get many Saturdays off from work, so I decided to get up and hit some yard sales. It was a favorite past time of mine.

Hair in a sloppy bun, sweat pants, baggy shirt, and no bra, I kissed my family and was out the door.

I then got into my car and without a care in the world drove down my street, as I had done a million times before. I waved cheerfully at my neighbor and arrived at the end of my street, came to a complete stop at the stop sign but as usual, some overgrown bushes made it difficult from that angle to see any oncoming traffic to my right. Watchfully, I inched my way up passed the stop sign and while stopped, looking in all directions, noticed a yard sale sign at the intersection for a sale just across the street. The street I was crossing was also a two-lane, 35-45 mile per hour road that was several miles long. As I sat at the stop sign, the shadows engaged in play through the sun and the branches of the trees lined the road both to my left and my right. The way was clear in both directions, so I slowly and cautiously proceeded across the street in anticipation of what treasures might await me at the sale there. I looked carefully ahead for any pedestrians who might be leaving the sale and headed back to their vehicles. As I gradually progressed through the intersection I felt and heard a loud thud as my car jolted in such a way it was forced across the road and was knocked into the next lane. With my airbags deployed and my seatbelt tightened across my chest in an excruciating chokehold, I sat there bewildered, as if someone had knocked the breath out of me, confused but not knowing what had happened.

 

I thought perhaps there might have been some road debris or a large branch had fallen from a nearby tree. Perhaps that’s what got stuck under my car, perhaps that was what I’d run over. I just sat there for a few moments and tried to get my bearings together. I released the tightly embedded seatbelt from my shoulder and leaned back to exhale a much-needed sigh. Looking to the right I noticed the sun as it glistened from the passenger’s side of the front windshield. The blinding glare brought forth a beacon of light caused me to notice the rather large spider web break contained there. Baffled, confused, scared, I opened my door and in a shaken state, barely able to stand, I stepped out of the car onto the asphalt.

I glanced over the front side of the car and scanned across to the passenger’s side as well but I saw nothing. However, when I preceded the rest of the way out of the car, I turned and looked to the left rear end of the vehicle. What I saw that day would forever be embedded in my mind as long as I have a memory. There, as if strategically placed, he laid on the ground. His motorcycle helmet was still on. Not a scratch could be found anywhere. Not a wrinkle or a tear on his black leather jacket, his blue jeans, or his boots. There he was, just lying there. Still.  I was still as well, stopped in my tracks, as if my feet were permanently stuck to the pavement.

I walked over toward him and then I’m pretty sure at that point my knees went weak, nearly buckling out from under me to the point I could hardly walk. I recall I stuttered like a blubbering idiot, barely able to speak as I asked nearby viewers ‘Where did he come from?’ as I hurried to go to him. A few painful steps there, upon arrival, I collapsed by his side, and sobbed uncontrollably.

I sat there and stared into his open but lifeless looking eyes, as they gazed piercingly back at me through the helmet. I reached over, grabbed his hand, and placed my heart wrenched, teary head on his chest. I don’t even know what I was doing, listening for a heartbeat? As I lie there beside this man with my head on his chest, clasping his hand I diligently prayed for his life, his soul, his future. I truly prayed without ceasing for God to spare him.

I stayed with him until the ambulance arrived. Paramedics worked on him for nearly an hour roadside as I paced and tried to answer official questions. Once he was ambulanced to the hospital, I was escorted to the police station for drug testing. An investigation was conducted that took over a year. My future lied in the balance. Unanswered questions turned to guilt and fear took over daily.

There is so much more to this story. The man never recovered. He left behind five children and an elementary school teacher wife. Over a year later the thorough investigation proved that he was speeding excessively and I was not at fault.

As for how this changed my life? There are so many ways. I remember one of the entries on the memorial guestbook that I still remind myself of when I get down about the whole situation. It said, ‘I always thought people like him would live forever. Knowing the kind of man he is and where he is now I know that he will.’ All I know is I may never know the reason this happened to mi or why I had to be the one to go through this. But until I can ask God face to face, I have decided to live each day as if it could be my very last because as I have witnessed firsthand, and know quite well it may just be. We are not promised tomorrow and at any time you could just be going on about your business and your entire life could change… in an instant.”

 

 

 

 

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