I always say life has a funny way of throwing you a curveball. Whether you can hit that ball out of the ballpark or not is really the issue. Last Friday a curveball came in the size of a Lexus as it swerved onto my side of the road and collided with my car, sending us spinning with the gas and smoke from the airbags suffocating us.
First off, the girls were not with me. They were safely playing on a bouncy castle with their Nanna.
If you follow me on facebook you’ll know my injuries have been minimal with aches and pains, cuts and bruises which still slow me down and stop me in my tracks every so often. We were lucky. My car not so. It has to be scraped. I adored my car, but that’s all it was, a car. I adore my life that little bit more and I’d rather I was here more than the car.
The collision, which happened last Friday after I picked my brother and his partner up from the airport after their oh so very, very long flight from Oz, was one of the most frightening moments of my life because we saw it coming.
We saw the other car join our side of the road and hit us almost head on. There was no time to stop, to sound the horn, to anything. My reactions were instantaneous as I tried to turn the car away from the collision. Perhaps the slight movement I made, meant the collision was not as bad but I really don’t know.
I can still feel the movement of my car as we were jolted and spun around at a speed that felt as quick as lightning. I can still hear the panic in my voice as the only word that came out, which was “Jesus”, sounded gravelly and hollow with a level of fear I have never comprehended before. I can still feel the steering wheel as I gripped it tighter and attempted to manoeuvre the car out of the way to safety. I can still feel the airbag explode from the steering wheel and I can still taste the chemicals and smell the dust from it as it spilled into the car. I can still hear the screams of myself and my brother, who sat next to me, and his partner, who sat behind me. I can still feel the panic and the desperate need to get out of the car once we had stopped but my door wouldn’t open. I can still see the cuts and welts which instantly reddened and became swollen and angry. I can still feel the disorientation, the panic, the fear and the worry of not knowing if everyone was ok.
A car accident is a micro second of fear when all you can think of is the worst.
The days and weeks after are filled with questions, doubt, more fear, apprehension, exhaustion, pain and quite a lot of paperwork. But we’re here.
Three ambulances, a rapid response vehicle, two fire engines and three police cars arrived. Every paramedic introduced themselves to us and a few were impressed with my hair, or lack thereof, and tattoos! which made some of the difficult conversations that little bit easier.
They made us feel at ease. They kept us safe and checked each one of us for pains and injuries. A kind firefighter talked me through looking after myself once everything eased up. The garda who took our statements was non-judgemental and professional yet supportive and sympathetic. They were all amazing. They are who I think of when I look back at last Friday.
Our aches and pains will go. The intense memories we have now of the seconds of fear and panic will fade. I’m sure I’ll manage to sort something out with my car, which was totalled, once the insurance companies get through the red tape.
But it’s the Garda, the fire fighters, the paramedics who do this every day. They are the ones who witness events like this. Events which are a million times worse. We were lucky. So very, very lucky. We will get through this but as part of their job, they put themselves into very upsetting and dangerous situations every day. I admire them.
Our curveball won’t linger in the air. We can hit it so hard and so far out that it never reaches us again. When I look at what we have gone through, I know that this curveball has left the ballpark because we are safe, we will heal.
Be safe on our roads. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t use your phone. Always put your seatbelt on. Drive safely.
FYI I got myself back into a car on Wednesday which was daunting but within minutes it felt natural again.