Just over a week ago my girlfriend, her family and I spent a beautiful lunch in the sun under large, white, cool umbrellas with fantastic food, drinks and service. I was meeting many of them for the first time. I think we all enjoyed ourselves and I heard I made a solid first impression. While I was not particularly apprehensive I did wear nice clothes for the occasion.
As we were leaving the area her parents were driving and we were in the back seat. We were involved in a two car accident. My girlfriend had a forehead laceration that required twelve stitches, severe concussion, a ride in an ambulance and an overnight stay at the local hospital. The rest of us had some bumps and bruises which are now healing. We are all still recovering from the shock and are all incredibly grateful for walking away from this accident.
Since I wouldn’t hear of leaving my girlfriend in the hospital alone I stayed despite the official visitor policy. Some rules can thankfully be finessed to accommodate unusual circumstances. Hospitals are not my favorite place in the world but this and other experiences have shown me that caring, dedicated doctors and staff are quite common, helping others through difficult health situations. In the case of hospice when nothing else can be done the staff can help people end their life with dignity and help the families with such a difficult event. So I have had enough experience to accept the pace of all the interruptions of peaceful rest for tests, beeping machines and “doctor’s orders” carried out by the male nurses that were so helpful and kind to my girlfriend during her time there.
The automobile we were riding in and the other automobile will both likely be deemed “totaled” by the insurance companies. I won’t be posting the pictures I took but no picture can adequately capture what it was like. It could have been a whole lot worse. Our tow truck driver confirmed this after he has been working for two days straight towing cars after similar (and worse) accidents in the area. Whatever financial impact and inconvenience may follow, the real lesson to keep in mind is that we all are walking away from this accident.
At times like these our choices are most telling. Sometimes sad people feel sad. Sometimes angry people feel angry. A wake up call like this is a rare opportunity to examine our choices and review the life affirming choices we have already made in new light. We are a product of our choices and it feels most real and evident when faced with life threatening events. If this writing helps remind anyone of the wonder and fragility of life then I walked away from that accident for a reason. I look forward to doing all I can to capitalize on this renewed opportunity to touch people’s lives in some small way.