This past Friday, August 30 2019, I, along with my aunt, my mother, my grandmother, and my 8 month old son were in a car accident.
Main thing I learned:
Always Be Careful, but Never Fearful.
I had been looking forward to this trip all summer. It was our annual family reunion in North Carolina, and I needed a break. I hadn’t had a vacation since the school I work for ended, and I started my summer off by working 2 jobs. This was the only week I had in between summer camp ending, and the new school year beginning.
Not to mention my Master’s Degree classes began August 25th.
I eagerly anticipated the fresh country air, the meetup with family members, and the car ride talking it up with the ladies.
I took first leg, and we started out at 3:30 am. We were talking and eating fried chicken my mother and grandmother cooked as a tradition for long road trips (my great grandmother used to cook chicken, and bring bread in a shoe box for the trip to NC). Magnus (my 8 month old) was in between sleeping and playing in his car seat. And altogether life was good.
But then the sun came up, and the morning rush began. Anyone used to driving down south knows that Virginia is where traffic begins and usually where it ends.
So while in Dumfries, Virginia, I noticed 2 or 3 cars ahead of us were stopping suddenly; in the left lane, next to the shoulder. I was caught off guard at first, but I was able to smoothly come to a complete stop, and wonder what was the hold up.
Maybe a second or two went by when my aunt (sitting in the passenger seat) started screaming. Confused, I turned to her to ask what was wrong, but before I could get my “what” out, we were rear ended. Full Force by a Mercedes-Benz truck.
My aunt was screaming because she could see the truck approaching at full speed in the mirror.
I have never been in an accident of this magnitude before in my life.
I’ve heard stories, and seen videos, as well as car safety commercials; but being In It is something else, honey.
The impact was jarring. So forceful, in fact, that the Mercedes-Benz emblem was imprinted on the trunk of our car.
I don’t remember much. But I remember the initial force of the impact. I remember the sound of the cars clashing, the sound of the rear window’s glass shattering, and the push from one car behind us, to another car in front of us, and the guard rail.
Once the movement started to stop, I remember hearing my mother telling me to get the baby. I remember hearing him screaming. And I remember undoing my seatbelt and attempting to hop out the car.
That’s when I realized my foot was still on the break, and releasing it started the movement again. I immediately paused my sudden exit, and put the car in park. Then I jumped out the driver’s seat, reached over my grandmother in the second row, unhooked Magnus from the car seat, and held him close to me as we cried together against the guard rail. He had blood in his mouth, and I had aches all over. And unfortunately that wasn’t the extent of all our injuries, but we were all ALIVE.
I believe if it wasn’t for our luggage taking the brunt of the initial impact, we might not have had the same result. I thank God for that.
Here’s a picture of our car:
And here’s the truck that hit us:
By the way, no one was killed in the accident.
The force was so great, that cell phones from the front flew to the back, a DVD player hooked to the seat flew to the front, drinks in cupholders were spilled everywhere, our chicken was everywhere, and Grandma’s curlers were even flung from her hair in every which way.
But again, we made it.
So what have I learned from this accident?
1. To be vigilant and cautious; without being paralyzed by fear.
2. To be brave and strong for those who need you to be, and especially for yourself.
3. To be proactive, regardless of your circumstances. In the end, you’ll have less to regret if you took advantage of the time you had.
4. And YOLO. Make the best of it. Push fear, hesitation and procrastination aside, and LIVE. You were made to LIVE. So start doing it.