We got into a car accident a few days ago.
On route 784.
Just outside my community.
Minutes after leaving my house to take my kids to their after school classes.
I slowed down when I noticed traffic up ahead and came to a stop.
Apparently the lady behind me, just leaving her house from the village down the road from us, was busy doing something else, because she didn’t take note of the fact that my car was stopped.
Which caused us to go into a 360 spin several times.
Like your worst nightmare that comes true.
Like the scariest spinning-kind-of amusement park ride, but a million times worse.
Because you have no idea when it will end.
Or if you will hit anything during the ride.
I honestly don’t remember how many times we spun.
The truth is, I don’t remember any part of those intense seconds where we went spinning.
Aside from the horrific screams of my three children who were in the car with me.
I don’t remember what I did with my hands.
I don’t remember what I did with my feet.
I don’t remember anything.
Except I do remember being scared to death.
And I do remember screaming.
Our (new, only 3 weeks old) car was totaled.
And so was the car of the other driver.
They were hysterical and one was practically hyperventilating, but they were fine.
As I tried to calm them down and call my husband with my shaky hands, passersby came over to help us.
I heard someone say something about the other driver using her phone at the time of the incident.
In seconds, I went from complete shock to complete anger.
What the %”%$%$?
WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE ON YOU FREAKIN’ PHONES WHEN YOU’RE ARE DRIVING A CAR?????
ARE YOU STUPID?
DO YOU THINK YOU ARE IMMUNE TO GETTING INTO ACCIDENTS?
DON’T YOU REALIZE YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION ON THE ROAD AT ALL TIMES?
I was so STUCK on ANGER at this STUPID DRIVER!
HOW DARE SHE PUT MY LIFE AND THE LIFE OF MY CHILDREN IN DANGER!!!!
I was beyond angry.
I was enraged.
I stared at her.
At this point, she was sitting on the ground.
Maybe five feet between us.
She, holding her young daughter (3? 4?) bleeding in her arms, I wrapping my arms around my frightened children.
She, in her Arab garb, me in my jeans and a t-shirt.
She didn’t look at me.
She made no motion to come over to me.
Or any hand motions to express sorrow for having caused this accident.
She didn’t give me the light of day.
My annoyance and fury grew and grew.
The ambulances came.
The woman and her daughter got in one.
We went in the other.
Laying on a stretcher next to my daughter, I started to process out loud.
(Now, I realize that after a near-death accident, it may seem strange that I was in a framework to rationally process through what happened using S.T.U.C.K., but it’s the truth. Perhaps it’s because I felt safe in the ambulance? Perhaps it’s because I needed something to do to occupy my mind other than be stuck on anger? Perhaps it’s because I’ve been practicing S.T.U.C.K. so much in my life that it just felt natural to use it then. I don’t know. All I know is that I did.)
Stop. Take a breath. A long, deep breath.
Uncover. I told my daughter that I believe that NO ONE (NO ONE!) should be on their phones while driving a car! I told her that this should NOT have happened to us. We did NOTHING to deserve this! I told my daughter that I believe that this woman should have risen above her religion and above politics and acted like a freakin’ human being! She should have approached us. She should have shown remorse on her face. She should have cared about me! About my children!
Consider. We came up with a lots of these:
- That the driver was in no condition to be able to approach us and show remorse, even if she wanted to. She was also in shock, just like we were.
- All the time that I spent waiting for her to approach me, I never even considered approaching her to ask if she and her daughter were ok.
- That I really don’t know if she was on her phone or not. (Though, I do believe her attention was not 100% on the road.)
- That my child sitting in the last row of the car, was sitting on the left hand side and not the right (where we were plowed into). G-d only knows what would have happened if he had been sitting on the right.
- Had my fourth child be in the car with us (which he usually is, but he was not feeling great and decided not to go to his class), someone would have been sitting in that back seat on the right. I cringe each time I think of what would have happened.
- We did several 360s, but cars coming from the other direction stopped in enough time not to hit us. Had we been hit while we went spinning, our situation would have been much, much more grave.
- We were all wearing seat belts.
- We took the “big” car which I hardly ever take. It was just a fluke that I took the car my husband typically drives, which no doubt about it protected our lives.
- The accident happened less than a mile from the house; close enough for my husband to be able to get to us quickly;
- Numerous passersby stopped to help and control the situation; Though, truth be told, they were all Arab and they were all standing near and speaking with the other woman. Aside from one passerby who approached us (who happened to have been a religious Jew), we stood alone. Humanity, people!
- Our car didn’t fly off the road (like the other car unfortunately did);
- We met two amazing high school ambulance volunteers on the ride to Rambam hospital – two souls that understand the word humanity;
- It was an accident and accidents happen.
I got stuck on
anger fury, and it’s ok. I’m still carrying many emotions, but I’m trying to cradle them in other rational thoughts – like the miracle that I am even alive and able to write this blog post. That my children and I got out of this unscathed.
I still can’t help to wonder if, once the other driver heals from this experience, she’ll attempt to find me, reach out to me, make contact in anyway whatsoever. She only lives a five minute walk from my house. Though, people are telling me not to bet on it.
In the meantime, I’m thanking God for having bestowed favor upon me.
And I’m counting my blessings for having survived.