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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crash

It was a beautiful afternoon.  It was October 23, 1986 and I was no more than sixteen and one half. I was a Junior in High School with a shiny new license and lucky enough to have the use of my mom's old station wagon. I played field hockey, and the team would practice every afternoon at the Middle School, which was a short drive from the High School.  The daily ritual was to pile in the wagon and I would drive to practice.  It was a beautiful afternoon.

This was October 23rd.  A date that forever lives in my memory as one of the worst days of my life.  A day that haunts me still, even 26 years later.  I remember every second.  Every.  Second.

11 girls piled into my car that day. How was I to know what would happen?  That I was driving faster than I probably should have.  That in my inexperience I swerved around a corner too suddenly and that the car would fishtail.  That in a split second I would hit two trees and end up on a front lawn just inches from someones house.  I can hear screaming and then silence. I was in shock.  I was not hurt.  The others were not so lucky.

I don't think you understand the impact something like this has on your psyche.  Even now, I can picture the car; twisted metal, smoke, shattered glass, flat tires, clothing strewn about.  A body pinned underneath, blood, dirt and deafening silence.

God was watching us that day as no one was killed. The injuries were many and although physically I was not hurt, I still carry this burden.  Like it was yesterday.

I learned many lessons from this event.  My mother wrote me a note that night and I still keep in a jewelry box in my bedroom.  It spoke of love and family. She said at times like these "the ones you can trust are your family" and that I need to "be prepared" for what may come of this. This confused me.  I was 16 and I got into a car accident.  What possibly could she be talking about?

She was talking about the days and weeks that followed. The police questioning, the criminal charges, the criminal lawyer I had to retain.  The hate mail I and my family received from sick cowards.  The two page, full-spread pictorial of the accident in the local paper. The questions being asked to all the rode with me that day: "Did she have any enemies in the car? and "was she drinking?" I was 16 and had no clue... No clue that a car accident would turn into this nightmare.  That it was seen as an opportunity for many to show cruelty and hatred.  That friends I thought would show support wouldn't. I was 16 and had no clue what the real world was like. My mother knew and as she so eloquently warned me in that letter; telling me to sleep in peace and that she loved me.

Life has a funny way of showing even a young girl the hard realities that your life can change in an instant. 26 years later I remain forever changed. My injuries have not healed.

Today is October 23.





1 comment:

  1. I can't even imagine the burden you must be carrying. Hoping it's a little lighter today now that you've shared it with us.

    ReplyDelete

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