There are always stories about people who get into car accidents, something happens at work, your body decides it’s not having enough “excitement” and does something it shouldn’t, etc. All kinds of stories where people who left their house that morning don’t come home that evening.
I saw a really bad accident on my way into work this morning. The car was so mangled that I’d be surprised if the driver came out alive. These kinds of things happen all the time, but that’s of little comfort to the people they leave behind.
I had one of these incidents happen to me almost three years ago, now. Two days before my 26th birthday, August 6, 2012, I was in a car crash that should have and could have easily killed me. The steering gave out in my car so I couldn’t steer it. And I panicked. I wound up slamming into a parked car. Luckily it was empty, because the driver would have been killed on impact. And when I say “I slammed into the parked car”, I mean by the time I crashed I was literally sitting inside of my car and the parked one.
When I woke up, there was an EMT over me and all I heard was “3 inches to the left and it would have punctured her heart”. Still not sure what it was. Don’t want to know what it was.
But I was two minutes from my house when I crashed. I had just left my house, literally, two minutes prior. I could still see my house from where I crashed. I wasn’t even going that fast yet, so I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been on a highway.
It was the worst day of my life. Physically, I was torn up; emotionally, I was a wreck. I spent the entire night sobbing and hysterical because I couldn’t process what happened to me.
My best friend Anita was listed in one of my emergency contacts (along with my mom). So EMT’s called both of them. I went to the hospital, but refused to stay, even though I should have. While in the hospital, Anita texted Devon (I should point out we weren’t dating at the time, that didn’t happen until almost a year later) and told him, “Steph was in a bad accident, she’s at Northwest Hospital, she’s not okay, she’ll want you here”. He told me later that he just froze. He sat in his desk chair for 10 minutes and couldn’t move. He told me that was the first time he’d ever had the thought of contemplating life without me in it in some way and he couldn’t handle it. I texted him a little bit after, when I decided to leave against orders, and told him to not come because I was going home.
That day terrified me and still does sometimes. Especially when I see bad accidents like the one I saw this morning.
But saying goodbye to someone is always so important to me now because of that. Devon usually leaves a few minutes before I do in the morning and he never leaves without saying goodbye and “I love you” first. Even if we’re upset with each other, we still do it; even if one of us is working and the other is off one day, we still give the sleeping person a kiss on the head and say “I love you” before leaving. You never know what can happen once you leave your house. People drive like idiots, accidents happen all the time. We’re both educators. Devon works in a “high-risk” school that has been on lockdown three times this year, I’m also in a questionable area.
Always make sure the last thing you say to someone in person is that you love them. I almost didn’t get a chance to say it again. God forbid something happens again, I might not get as lucky as I did the first time, so I always make sure the people I care about know that I care about them just because of that one time when I almost didn’t get a chance to say it anymore.