I look at the Daily Prompt provided by WordPress quite often as it shows up in my Reader and yet it rarely speaks to me. Today’s was Close Call – Tell us about a bullet you’re glad you dodged — when something awful almost happened, but didn’t. Right away I thought of the car accident I was in on June 17, 2006. I remember the date because it was one year to the day that I had surgery for the first and only time!
It was a lovely sunny day. I was visiting my brother in Nova Scotia – this was before I moved there myself – and he had some business to take care in Truro so I went along for the ride. On our way back, around 2 o’clock in the afternoon, we were travelling down the highway talking about clouds. My brother was a weather office in the Canadian Air Force for 30 years and is the only person I know who can actually make weather discussions interesting, fascinating actually. So there we were, going along, discussing cloud characteristics.
Off in the distance, ahead of us on the shoulder of the road was a back hoe. And what for me was a close call, for him turned out to not be a good day as he was illegally on the highway. There are two reasons why these huge machines are not allowed to “drive” on the highways. One, they can’t go fast enough and two, they have no side mirrors!
So there we were, chatting away, enjoying being together, sort of keeping an eye on the back-hoe on the shoulder. After a bit, the backhoe began to move off of the shoulder and onto the highway. Well, we were zooming at 120 kph and he sure wasn’t going to be able to get up to that speed. Time to switch lanes and catch him and pass him.
My brother looked in his rear-view mirror, put his signal on, and proceeded to enter the passing lane at the same time that the car behind us did the same thing. Yep, we’ve all done that, not seen the guy in our blind spot as we prepare to switch lanes. He, of course, blew his horn and my brother did what we all instinctively do when this happens, he pulled back into our lane.
Well, that avoided the guy behind us running into us but it created a whole new problem because, now the back-hoe was completely in our lane and we were moving toward him at rapid speed. At this point on the road, there was a thin shoulder with a guard rail so pulling over onto the shoulder ourselves was not an option.
I knew we were going to hit him. My brother told me afterwards that he realized our only hope was to line up the center of the car with the center of the back hoe shovel.
All of this happened within probably two minutes. I remember, very clearly, thinking “I’m going to find out what it is to die”. I crossed my arms over my chest like this, although trust me I didn’t look near so glamorous then – or anytime before or since – I
leaned over towards the window and closed my eyes, fully expecting that my next awareness would be on the other side of the veil.
As you can see, my brother did exactly what he decided was our only chance and the shovel of the back hoe hit right between the
two front seats. There are many things I remember from that day:
- the police commenting that when they saw the car, they looked at each other knowing no one had walked away.
- telling the ambulance driver, as I lay on the stretcher, that my mother would be proud of me because she’d always told me “always make sure you wear clean underwear. You never know when you might be in an accident” to which he responded with a laugh and “trust me ma’am, if I had been in that car accident, my underwear would definitely not have been clean”!
- how kind everyone,at the scene and at the hospital was
- telling the doctor “what do you mean only 3 stitches? You just put me through the pain of freezing the top of my head and you’re only going to put in THREE stitches. “
But mostly I remember realizing two things:
- the absolute peace that came over me once I realized I was going to die. There was no fear, not even a sense of adrenaline rushing through my body, just absolute, total peace. And,
- I now believe that old saying “when it’s your time, it’s your time”, because logically that day should have been my time but it obviously wasn’t.
Those are two very precious gifts to me. The knowing that when that moment comes, a glorious peace descends and the knowing that death is not something I need to worry or wonder about. When my time comes, it’ll be my time.