I had a horrible feeling all day. Deep in my gut I knew something just wasn’t right. I was tempted to cancel all plans for my girl’s night out….the first in what felt like years. Coop was just nine months old, Delaney was 2 1/2.
But how do you cancel based on a bad feeling? When you even imagine yourself trying to make that phone call, it sounds like a bunch of hooey. Yes, I said hooey.
It ended up as a late night.
I was the designated driver.
I called my husband from downtown St. Louis – it was nearly 1am – to let him know we were on our way. He was half-asleep and barely listening. I drove the nearly 30 minutes to the suburbs and dropped off a girlfriend. I sat in her driveway for a few moments trying to calm the entirely irrational fear I could no longer tamp down. That bad feeling was more intense.
Which route should I take home? It seemed like such a monumental decision. Should I take the freeway? Side streets? Which side streets? I watched my review mirror as though I was being chased. I was aware of every speed limit sign, every stop sign, every car.
Except the one that ran the red light.
She crashed into the front right of my car sending me spinning through the intersection and then rolling down an embankment. I wish I could tell you I don’t remember it. I wish I could tell you my chest isn’t tight and my palms aren’t sweating as I type. But I do and they are.
I remember thinking I might die. I can still feel the slam to the left side of my body as the car landed on its side. The car radio was blaring. By the grace of God, my cell phone was in my lap. I never knew why I was compelled to drive with it between my legs, tucked under my right thigh.
Now I know.
I called my husband. I had to let him know I was ok. He didn’t believe me, but he was on his way to me before I was even removed from the car.
A stranger yelled from 50 yards out that the police were on their way. I now know he was afraid the car might explode – so he wasn’t willing to come any closer. When the police arrived, an officer strolled up to the car and said, “so, what happened?” He then told me the Fire Department was going to ‘right’ the car in a little bit and get me out. Not so much. The paramedics used the jaws of life to pry me out.
The witness I talked to months later cried when I told him my name. This 45 year old man reached out and hugged me, “I thought you were dead. I figured there was no way anyone could walk away from that. I called my mom on the way home and cried to her.”
But I did walk away. My left side looked like I’d been taking pitches from Albert Pujols. And I had surgery to have glass removed from my hand. But that’s it.
I was still a mom, a wife, a friend. I could go home to my kids. I walked away.
And everything changed.
I stood in the shower at 5am washing the glass from my hair, unable to send the visuals of spinning through the intersection down the drain with it. It made me nauseous. It still does.
But it made me grateful. I hugged harder. I watched my world more closely. I quit my part-time job the next day. I had thought about starting a website….. I wanted moms to remember what they were doing every single day was simply extraordinary. This was a sign. I was not going to spend one more day doing something that no longer felt right.
I was alive. That was extraordinary.
And this site was born.