I was feeling pretty good this weekend: I had managed to reach a point where I could be philosophic (as they say) about the gloomy turns that life had been taking. I found light and poetry in my reflections on death. I swore my commitment to love and light over gloom and dark. Life was giving me lemons, and I was making lemonade! Go me!
So it was with light heart and sparkling eyes that I loaded WonderBaby into our car and, with the Husband, plotted a sunny afternoon drive to a small town just outside the city, the kind of small town with cobbled streets and old stone buildings and little cafes and all the sorts of things that you find in pretty small towns that are keenly aware of the effect of their charms on romantic city-dwellers like myself. It was a sunny day, a mild day, and we were meeting friends. Maybe, later, we would find ourselves a Christmas tree. We would be light-hearted. Happy. Grateful for our wonderful life. Somewhere, I’m sure, an angel was just about to get her wings.
We were only about fifteen minutes into our trip, still in the city, stopped at a light, when our sweet day came to a shattering end. I heard the crash, the thundering clang of metal on metal, felt my body lurch back and forward and back again. I felt my neck twist and my back wrench and heard myself scream and then all I could think was the baby the baby the baby and I didn’t think about the pain in my neck as I spun around in my seat and grabbed at WonderBaby, clutching her arms, her legs, running my hands around her little neck as she stared back, wide-eyed, terrified, and I cried are you alright are you alright?
She was alright. She moved, she turned, she didn’t flinch as I poked and squeezed. She didn’t cry. She just stared.
Later, after Husband had restrained himself (with difficulty – my sweet, gentle husband restrained himself only with difficulty) from attacking the silly young man who had sped into us, and after he had dealt with police officers and after he had declined the ambulance to take us to Emergency himself, he said, we were lucky.
We were lucky.
We were fine. WonderBaby was thoroughly examined and determined to be unscathed (this, after she had overturned the waiting room at Pediatric Emergency). Husband was sore, but unhurt. I was (am) hurt, but nothing insurmountable: whiplash, torn muscles along the spine, an embarassing stint in a neck brace that wounded my dignity, somewhat. It was scary – really really scary – but we’re fine.
I’ve had to keep reminding myself of that. I spent some hours struggling with disbelief – why me? why this week? – before the pain got too bad and I relented to a dose of percocet and a Beverly Hills 902010 marathon, after which deep thoughts – any thoughts – were impossible. For a while, the next day, I thought, maybe this is funny, in the manner of being absurd. But I soon dispensed with that thought – it wasn’t funny. We were very close to being more badly hurt. My baby was in a car accident. Some tard got a bit itchy on the gas pedal and put my child in danger. My family in danger. He hurt us.
But, but… true to what I said in my last post, I can’t dwell on the bad and the sad and the scary and ever-present spectre of death. I can’t live sad and afraid. What I can do – what I must do – is be grateful that we’re fine, especially when some others haven’t been fine, won’t be fine, some others close to me. If anything, Saturday’s car accident serves as a reminder of how true is the maxim that we must be grateful for what we have, embrace what we have, seize it and squeeze it hard.
Such platitudes, but so true: life is fragile, and short, and bitter and sweet. Precious, for its fragility and its sweetness.
Precious, too, for the love that abounds in the communion of lives – and for the love that has been running over the cups of the blogosphere this week. While I was brooding, friends were joining together to take calls to action a little further than I ever imagined.
Kristen telephoned me on Friday to tell me that she and Julie, with the help of a host of other folks with big, big hearts (see full list here), had come up with a crazy, wonderful, spectacular idea – to lift Her Bad Spirits and make the world a better place. By doing something crazy, wonderful and spectacular for Tanner. They were putting together a raffle-auction, to benefit Tanner, to raise funds to be donated to MD Canada, in his name. And they were going to solicit letters, too: they would ask parents to ask their children to send him a card, a note, a drawing, a piece of cheer to brighten the life of a boy who has struggled with being different, with being marked as different because he has a disorder that is crippling him and that will, one day, kill him. They were doing all this Tanner. And for me, because they know how much I love Tanner, and how very much I wish for happiness in his short life.
My heart nearly burst. It is still bursting. It will ever be bursting, from this outpouring of love.
(I’m tempted, here, to make a joke about how maybe my over-bursting heart was kind of an air-bag against all the badness of the car accident, which happened the day after I received word of the auction, but then I’d have to account for the decidedly non-bouncy chest that contains the bursty heart, and the joke sort of starts to fall flat – no pun intended – because I got too literal which is why I avoid jokes and why was I trying to be funny in this PROFOUND post anyway?)
Go, go, see what they have done, are doing. Join in. Buy tickets. Have your children write letters. Spread the love.
And accept my deepest, most hearfelt thanks, for being my friends, and for always reminding me that this world, this life, is indeed filled with so much love, so much laughter and so much joy.