Friday, January 11, 2013

Another Anniversary of Contemplation

19 years ago today, I did this to my car...

(Okay, so I did most of that and the jaws of life did the rest.) 

I don't have a picture of what the accident did to my body.  Suffice it to say, I fared only slightly better than my little Citation.  At least I survived.  :moment of silence for my first car - which I killed:

This morning the whole mess came tumbling back at me as I sat on the couch contemplating my aching back (which went out Wednesday night) and as the memories of being an invalid all those years ago was brought into striking focus.

Years ago, I used to wear the keys to this car around my neck.  Certain people told me I was morbid to wear them.  After all that happened to me, how could I possibly want a memento of it with me daily?  :shrug:  I didn't look at it like that.  For one thing, that little car saved me.  If I'd been in something made of fiberglass - instead of steel - I'd be dead.  For another thing, those keys weren't there to remind me of what I'd lost.  They were a reminder of what I survived. 

Shit happens, people.  Sometimes very bad shit happens.  And we all have several ways we can look at each tragic event.  We can use it as an excuse to fold up shop and lay around whining about our misfortunes.  Or we can use it to become stronger. 

I am not the woman who ran a redlight on January 11th, 1994.  Maybe she did die that day after all, because the person who was pulled from that wreckage is not the same person who got into her Citation that morning.  Sure, every day since, I've had to face certain challenges I wouldn't have had to face.  Some days I wish I could take away all the injuries I still deal with even after 19 years.  But I would never take away the strength I earned.

What's something that's happened in your life that's made you a stronger person?

(The above picture was scanned from a newspaper clipping.  I don't remember which newspaper but the clipping says the photo is by Ben Balog.  Thanks for getting that shot, Mr. Balog - wherever you are.  And thanks to my parents for saving the clipping.  I never got to see my car again - it was sold for scrap and crushed before I got out of the hospital.)


  1. OMG! I knew of the accident, B.E., and of your long road to recovery, but I had no idea. You were sitting in the driver's seat, right where that massive dent is - it is a wonder you survived...

    But I'm so glad you did. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger - and I commend you for wearing those keys to remind you of the strength you had. Do you still have the keys?

  2. Wow, looks like that was quite a wreck. :-(

    I agree that surviving adversity can make us stronger...or more fearful, I think it depends on the person and event.

  3. My hubby was nearly killed on his motorcycle when a woman (on a cell phone) ran a stop sign.

    I was five hours away when I got the news. When I finally saw him, it was far worse than I expected, but at least he was alive.

  4. Oh my, B.E.! I'm so glad you're here today! I'm sending healing prayers your way.

    Not for anything would I give up what I've learned about myself by parenting a child with special needs. I'm stronger, kinder, fiercer, and on the list would go.

  5. Glad you are still with us, B.E.! And from now on, every time I hear Kelly Clarkson's song STRONGER, I'll be thinking of you.

    I still wake up in a cold sweat when I dream of the night we got the phone call from OHP about The Only's rollover wreck. Strangely, none of the bad accidents I was in affect me like that.

  6. *hugs*

    I haven't had to go through anything like this, but my dad is the strongest person I know. He was severely abused as a child by his own father. I won't go into the morbid details, but it was very, very bad. Since then, he has devoted his spare time to helping out in the community. He's a Scout leader, and he's a firefighter. He has fallen through a burning floor, and he has seen the result of accidents that no one should ever see. He had to stop firefighting for a few years because he kept being called to my friends accidents. The worst, however, was when he was the first on scene to a school bus accident in which the entire basketball team was killed (not my town, but small towns are all friends with each other).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that you are a very strong person, and I'm proud to call you my friend. xoxo

  7. Yep, Janet. Driver's seat. The S-10 pickup hit me square at the doors. I've always said I'm lucky I don't have Chevy permanently imprinted on my head. And yes, I still have the keys. I found them in the same box with this picture. =o)

    Since I don't have any memory of the accident, that pic and some second person anecdotes are all I have, so I can agree with you, JB. It does look like a helluva wreck.

    Ack, Maria! I can only imagine what it's like from the family member side of an accident like that. I hope he didn't sustain any lasting injuries. :hugs: Distracted driving, whatever is doing the distracting, is a horrible thing.

    Thanks, Karyn. Special needs kids take special parents. And you're definitely one of those. :hugs:

    I love that song, Silver! Like I told Maria, I can only imagine what it's like. I know my mom was a rock through it all for me - including taking care of the Kid (who was 5 mos old - and not in the car) while I recuperated.

    :hugs: for both you and your Dad, Nat. And you're a pretty strong gal yourself. :hugs:

  8. And yeah, my being here and responding to comments means my back is almost back to normal. (but then again, it felt pretty awesome when I went to bed last night.) Keep your fingers crossed for me.

  9. I live in a tiny community and there was a terrible accident that put the driver in a wheelchair, his daughter in a back and neck brace, and his son in heaven. You just never know what's going to happen when you wake up in the morning, do you? I'm glad you can look back at this and be so thankful (and yes, I believe the durability of the cars back then had a lot to do with it).