It was a morning like every other, or so I thought.
My husband was in the habit of doing early morning runs in the neighborhood and that morning was no different. He said goodbye to the kids, wished them a ‘good day,’ and half-kissed me as he usually does when I have yet to brush my teeth.
After I brushed my teeth (thank goodness I remembered to) the kids and I hopped in the car to head to pre-school. I was feeling energetic that morning, and the kiddos were all in a good mood. As a group, we decided it was the perfect morning to roll down the Pathfinder windows, blast some music, and hope to pass Daddy running on our way to school.
About a half a mile from my children’s school, I recall optimistically saying, “maybe we will see Daddy, but we are almost there.”
Well, we did see Daddy, but Daddy wasn’t running. Instead, horrifyingly, Daddy was laying on the ground, not moving, surrounded by people. I gasped and thought “was that him lying on the ground?”. His body was blocking the road to turn where he was laying, so I sped up around the corner of the next street and looped around the block. Assuming (and hoping) maybe he had merely tripped or at worst fainted, I slammed the car into park, jumped out of my vehicle, and asked a pedestrian standing nearby to keep an eye on my children in the car. I ran over to my husband only to see him lying there with his head bleeding and cuts on his forehead and his body.
My husband got hit by a car while running.
You can’t make this shit up, unfortunately.
His eyes were open, thank the good Lord. “What happened?” I asked him.
“I hit him” an elderly woman standing behind me said. It took me a minute to process.
She had hit him with her car. She had crashed her car right into my husband.
I distinctly remember turning away from her to avoid pummeling her. At the time, I did not know how serious my husband’s injuries were. Was he going to live? I was so incredibly fearful and trying to keep him calm. An ambulance had been called, and we were waiting for it. I would sit there talking to him as he laid on the ground, periodically running back to my children in the car to inform them with a smile on my face that “Daddy just fell” and that “Daddy is fine.” Back and forth I went, assuring my husband that he would be okay and telling my children that he would be as well, all the while thinking in my head, “What is going to happen?” “Am I going to lose him?” “This can’t be happening.”
An ambulance came to take my husband to the hospital and my brother kindly, at my request, transported my children to their pre-school.
I recall the ride to the hospital, having to call my husband’s mother and my mother and inform them that he had been hit by a car. It’s so surreal to me, even now, saying those words aloud.
To ease any of your anxiety about where this story is going, I will share with you that my husband is fine. He had a concussion; he had to get stitches and parts of his body still very much feel the effects of that accident.
But, did you hear that?
Did you hear what I just called this unfortunate incident?
The woman that hit my husband with her car was beside herself. She felt horrible and probably will the rest of her life. And, despite the fact that I more than anything wanted to give her a piece of my mind (& a solid right hook) that day and in days immediately preceding, I never did, and I’m glad for that.
In this instance, I wholeheartedly believe what made this accident so much better than it could have been was the protective hand of God and my late father, who so cautiously placed their hands underneath my husband as he fell to the ground upon smacking the old lady’s windshield. That may sound cooky, but that is my belief and opinion, and it is what got and gets me past the horror of that day.
You see, tragedies and near-tragedies can teach us things, and while both my husband and I wish this incident never occurred, the fact remains that we learned a few things.
Here is what we came to understand:
- You have one life, and it is fleeting. It can be taken from you in an instant, and that is reason enough for you to make sure that every moment on this Earth is one you can be proud of and one that makes you happy.
- Love requires more than, well, love. In the days and weeks after the accident, my husband was a bit, well, depressed and despondent. Him surviving this terrible occurrence and the kids and I simply loving him was not enough. He needed us to actionably help him get through this. He needed us to put in more effort than we ever have and guess who rose to the occasion? That is what family does.
- People are stronger than we think they are. Especially our loved ones. So often, we take those we love for granted — how much they give and how hard they work. My freakin’ beast of a husband told his damn self that he was not going to let this defeat him — his mind or his body — and he didn’t. In fact, you would think he might stray away from running now, right? Nope, he still runs; he runs marathons, and he dominates the crap out of them.
My husband getting hit by a car while running, and my kids and I driving by and seeing him on the ground has surely not been the highlight of our lives. But, the thing about tragic events is that there are life lessons hidden inside of them, and once you get past the rightful anger you have that such an event even took place, you can find a few tidbits about life that will help you through the rest of it.