numb, due to exposure

right now I would like to be browsing delicious recipes on pinterest, or looking at cool party decorations. I have a long list of Christmas presents that I need to research and get working on, and there is plenty to do around my house. But to be honest, I’m feeling kind of numb. Numb in the sense that those little feelings that keep us going all day, they aren’t affecting me right now.

Earlier this week I was talking with my Mom about how scary thing keep getting closer and closer to home. For example, I know several people with cancer right now, one of which has been given less than a year to live. He is the father of a family of 6. A family friend recently had their baby – barely older than Ginny – hospitalized. He’s still in the hospital. Of course, comparatively my dog’s liver disease seems infinitesimally smaller.

My grandma is having to fight her cancer again too.

Today all of those things left my mind. I was driving home. Frustrated that my husband had to work later than I wanted him to. I had him on speaker phone as I said “Well, I’m leaving my friend’s house, so I should be home soon.” Then my tone quickly changed to “on my god, I just saw a terrible accident – I’m fine – but I need to call 911. I love you.” and I hung up. Then called 911. As I sat on the side of the road shaking in my car I described what I had just seen as several men rushed to one car and pulled a young man out of the pick-up and laid him on the ground – he was having a siezure.

The news article is here, but basically the young man lost control of his vehicle (presumably because he was having a siezure, but the news station didn’t mention that), viered to the left, went over the medium (a hill down, then a hill up), basically ramping into on-coming traffic, hitting the other pick-up truck. The pick up truck that moments before had been right in front of me spun out of control. In my mind all I can see is the ramped up pick up headed straight at me. That’s what it felt like.

Then I wanted to throw up.

I felt awkward standing on the side of the road, holding my squirming baby, waiting for the police officer to take my statement, listening to the other witnesses speculate. I just stood, trying not to cry, and wanting to throw up.

Hours later I arrived home, in one piece, alive and breathing, but feeling a little deader on the inside.

This is actually the third deadly car crash I have witnessed. I don’t know whether to call it good luck that I wasn’t injured, or bad luck that I was so close.

I had convinced myself that the other driver was going to be okay. One of the police officers said he was breathing and talking when they were able to get him out of the truck.

But he wasn’t. One moment he was fine, driving home from work, the next his life was hanging on threads too thin to trust for long.

In a few days it will be just a foggy memory, my soul will bounce back, and when I drive home from my parents’ I will see the sign – drive safely in memory of  … – and I will relive that moment.

so death came a little closer today. just for a moment, some one else’s moment.

I hate these moments. My soul is a little more weathered, my nerves a little worse for the wear.

And at the same time,  I am so thankful to have these moments, the ones that force me to stop, to forget the petty arguments I’m having with my husband, and to over look the annoying things people do, and just be.

And I am thankful for the miraculous human brain, the one that is numbing this pain right now, of being so close to some one else’s moment.

the emptiness makes it hard to enjoy frivolous things, but it also makes it hard to cry and fret.

Also – I want to go hold my baby, but she’s sleeping. this may be the first time I am not glad for her to be sleeping in her own bed.




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  1. i am sorry you had to witness that 🙁 i heard your sister was across the lanes from you at the same time… crazy!!! i am glad you and your sweet baby girl are okay!!

  2. Oh Jess. What a scary experience. I'm so glad you are okay. I have been having similar feelings lately about people all around me dying or being sick and told they are going to die. It makes me want to hug Ben and my kids more. Life is so fragile and precious. I hate that I waste time being upset or sad. Thank you for this blog post.

  3. It's a hard thing to experience.

    Close calls always make us rethink life, pause, take the time to appreciate what really matters. I hope you feel better and that you find the good things in your life reassuring and worth drawing strength from so you can be there for those you love.

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