Towards the middle of last week my best friend Kim and I started planning a Saturday night out. We’ve been friends since the end of fourth grade. When we were little a big Saturday night was one of the few times a year we could have a sleep over. In high school it was a trip to the mall and a movie. In college it was a night spent at a local dive listening to someone we knew play piano, ordering fries with cheese sauce and staying out until the wee hours of the morning. These days our big night out is to grab a bite to eat sans my immense number of offspring and to go shopping. This big night included a trip to the big three craft stores and a stop at Target.
February 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm
At the last minute I agreed to watch my seven week old niece for the evening. Her parents had not been out since she had been born, and they had graciously volunteered to watch my sons so that Daddy D and I could have a Valentine’s Day dinner together. We packed up Kim’s car and headed out, with my niece in tow.
The evening was delightful. A leasurely dinner at Ruby Tuesdays while the baby slept through the whole thing. The craft stores had what we needed, and on sale even! We went to Target and made our purchases. We started to head home. One quick stop at the local Walmart, as Target hadn’t had the birthday gift Kim needed in stock and we were driving my niece home.
All night I had a feeling of dread. Very rarely does it ever prove me wrong. Out across the road darted a deer. Not uncommon in these parts. Crossing in front of us without a problem. My heart raced, but nothing else had happened. Further down the road we came across three small deer. They stood in the middle of the road, lapping up the melted snow. I braked and waited. It took awhile for them to figure out that maybe they should move. But still, the feeling did not go away. Carefully I drove the distance to my sister’s house. I delivered to her a safe and sound sleeping baby.
Back into the car I climbed. Excited to be almost home. Three miles from my house to be exact. But the back roads had begun to ice as the temperature dropped. The sanders had not been dispatched. I gripped the steering wheel tighter. Going not even twenty miles an hour I continued to drive. We started the first of three downhill turns. The stop sign that signaled the start of the main roads reflected back at me in the distance. Two turns down, and then we started the third. As soon as I moved the steering wheel just a bit I knew we were in trouble.
I turned the wheel and the back of the car went a different direction. I tapped lightly on the brake and it only got worse. I knew there was nothing that I could do. In painfully, excruciatingly stalled moments we spun and spun. Waiting to hit the snow bank. Praying all the while that I hadn’t killed myself or my best friend.
And then we hit. The impact wasn’t very intense, we hadn’t been going very fast. But we were over an embankment. When we hit the snowbank it slowed us, but then gave way. We rolled over, landing on the roof. The two of us suspended upside down supported only by our seatbelts.
I dialed 911. We tried to dial our families. Except for the two minutes my phone worked to call the emergency in, our phones did not work again. No reception. So we hung. Gripping each others hands. Talking it all through. Waiting.
First the tow truck arrived. Then the ambulance followed by the firefighters. They dug out Kim’s door, cut her seatbelt and took her out. Next they made their way through the overturned vehicle and did the same to mine. Climbing up the embankment, surrounded by emergency personnel and fireman I realized that Daddy D hadn’t been called. But he knew many of these firefighters, being one himself. I began to ask if any of them had called him, and then a silver Rav 4 rolled to a stop in front of us as we reached the road. The window lowered, it was my brother in law.
He told me he was going to my house to sit with the boyz. Daddy D had called him. He heard the emergency call go out and he knew in his heart it was me. He called and asked my brother-in-law when I had dropped the baby off and with the answer he knew he was right. He wanted to be there.
Kim and I were put in an ambulance. The trooper was taking care of the report. We were filling out paperwork. The doors opened in the back. There he stood, clothed in his firefighter gear, the yellow of which blended with his blonde hair and complexion. All I could see was his blue eyes. Relieved. With the hint of a tear. He said to me “Dear, I don’t like meeting like this” and my heart leapt. It was going to be okay.
Daddy D took care of everything from there. He would update us as need be. The car was pulled out. He emptied it of as much as he could. He drove us home.
Later that night as we laid in bed he looked at me with the same eyes. He told me how he just knew. How hard it was to sit and wait, knowing all the while what was happening with me. And as he poured everything out, our face inches apart on the pillows, it was an amazing gift. I felt cherished. I was his beloved. He was making sure I knew that.
Today is Valentines day. He went to work, talking with me throughout the day to make sure I was okay. The doorbell rang. It was the mailman. He had packages that I had ordered, but also handed me my mail. There on the top was an envelope. Addressed to me. From Daddy D. It was a beautiful card sent way before the accident. Signed with the words “and many more years to come”.
This Valentine’s Day I have been given the reminder that I am lucky to be here. I have been reminded of the passionate and deep love that I have. I am hoping that it is for many more years to come.