Fortunately, everything turned out alright. Better than alright, actually, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.
Like all stories shared here, this anecdote is 100% true and offered to inspire personal reflection, deep understanding, and conscious conversations. While I would never tell you what to do, or how you should handle this situation were it to happen to you, this is my truth.
Let’s go for a walk.
It was Cinco de Mayo, and I had just finished chatting on the phone with a new client when my son Garrett suggested we go for our daily walk. It was a bit chilly and overcast, so I put on my long coat and knit gloves over a long sleeve t-shirt and new brand-new jeans. These aren’t the fashionable “ripped up” jeans, but good old-fashioned Levis boot-cut, for which I was grateful later on.
We’ve taken this walk every day since the beginning of the pandemic. The route around the lake is almost 3 miles long with about half a mile along M-15, the highway that connects Clarkston, MI, just south of us up to Bay City, MI. I originally started walking this route with my chocolate lab, Tootsie, when we first moved here in 2005. Even after she passed away, I continued my daily walks and was thrilled when Garrett decided to join me.
It all happened so fast.
I was busy chatting to Garrett, explaining the new mentoring program I’d been discussing with my client, when I noticed the reverse lights come on an SUV we were walking past. They were only about six inches away from my left thigh when the vehicle started moving. Garrett saw it too and moved faster than I did to get out of the way. As he leaped forward to safety, I tried to move, but my feet became tangled, and the bumper knocked me to the ground.
I fell into a heap, pulling myself together like a pill-bug (or roly-poly depending on where you’re from), doing my best to protect my head as the back of the SUV loomed over me and pushed me out into M-15. I fought to breathe, which was hard because I had squished myself to be as small as possible. As I heard tires squealing, I remember thinking, “I don’t want to die today,“ before closing my eyes and hoping for the best.
Fortunately, Garrett made it to the car’s passenger side, where he banged on the window to let them know I was under their vehicle. The driver pulled forward, leaving me exposed to the oncoming traffic of M-15. I had just a split-second of panic before Garrett ran out, waving his arms to stop traffic, scooped me up to standing with his hands under my arms, and carried me to the side of the road.
I was struggling to catch my breath and saw a big man running toward us from the nearby party store parking lot yelling, “Call an ambulance! I saw the whole thing! Call 911!!! She just crumpled under the car!!” He was moving fast, determined to make sure I got the help I needed.
I’m fine. Just let me breathe.
I remember trying to relax my muscles to breathe and stand up straight. I tell everyone, “I’m fine, just let me catch my breath. I’m okay. Just give me a minute.”
By this time, the lady in the passenger seat had come out of the car to check on me. We recognized we’ve known each other for many years. She apologized and asked if I was hurt. Garrett loosened his grip so he could look me over for any signs of damage, and I say to them both, “I’m fine, really. I’m okay! Let me breathe. I’m going to be okay. I’m just glad to be alive!”
The big guy didn’t believe me. “That’s just the adrenaline talking. You can’t be fine. I saw you crumple up and get run over. We need to call an ambulance!!”
By now, I’d caught my breath and was standing up straight and tall. I turned to the big guy and said, “Hey man! I understand what you just saw was really scary, but the truth is, I’m actually fine. Look! Would I be able to do this if I was really hurt?!”
I put my thumbs and forefingers together and held them out by my side for a minute. My breathing was back to normal. My hands didn’t shake. My voice was under control. I even considered doing the Stretch for a split second but decided I needed to stay focused on the moment and connect to the people involved in the accident with me.
I explained that my son is a trained EMT (emergency medical technician), and if I needed any further help, he would make sure I got it. In the meantime, I just wanted to go home and count my blessings.
(Sidenote: My friend was dropping her grandkids off at my house for an hour, something we’d been talking about for weeks, and I didn’t want her to miss her appointment. This, combined with the fact that I didn’t feel any major damage, gave me the confidence to head home.)
My friend had her cellphone out, insisting she gave me her number if anything came up later. Pulling my phone from my back pocket, we noticed the screen was still intact! And my glasses weren’t even scratched. Hallelujah!
Realizing I wasn’t seriously hurt, the big guy finally gave up. I thanked him for his concern as he went back to his truck. Then I turned back to Garrett, my friend, and her daughter, a newly-permitted 15-year-old driver.
Bumps & bruises.
I walked over to the driver’s side door, and she opened it, asking if I was okay. I told her I was, and as scary as it was, we all were incredibly fortunate that day. I suggested she look both ways for the rest of her life before backing up, right?! She responded with a smile and “Of course, I will.”
Her mom came over, and we all chatted for a bit, going over the minor bumps and bruises I had sustained. The most significant source of pain came from the muscle of my left hand, between my thumb and my palm. It hurt like a bugger that day; however, the pain has since subsided with barely a bruise left behind.
While my coat was a bit shredded, my new jeans had nothing more than a slight scuff on the left knee, although both knees had minor scrapes and bruises upon closer inspection at home. I also have a minor cut on my left shin. There’s a pretty decent bruise on my right butt cheek too, but overall, mostly what I’ve been feeling is incredibly grateful, lucky, and blessed.
I’m feeling lucky.
We got back home and handled the two kids, ages five and three; the mundaneness of making sure they ate dinner and had coloring supplies helped get Garrett and me back to normal. After dinner, I took a hot bath with Epsom salts, lavender, and eucalyptus, so while my body felt sore, my heart and soul were grateful beyond words.
Garrett keeps hugging me, telling me, “I’m so glad you’re alive. I’m so glad you didn’t get mangled.” Darling hubby Blake handled the news well enough, considering the gravity of the situation. He and Garrett have both been keeping a close eye on me, telling me to take it easy; there’s no need to rush.
The following day I noticed my thoughts going back to the sound of squealing tires, imagining the devastating possibilities of what could have happened. While I did my best to keep my thoughts in the present moment, eventually, I decided to write out the details of the incident in my journal. That helped me process and release the fearful thoughts. However, I’m still a little jumpy while riding in the car, and I haven’t taken another walk yet, but I plan to eventually. I’m considering talking to a counselor to get some help processing the trauma and managing my emotions.
Thinking about how many times I’ve walked that route, I did the math the other day. Walking almost every day of the year (let’s say 250) times the seventeen years we’ve lived here equals 4250. That’s a lot of walks in which absolutely nothing terrible happened. I’d say that’s pretty good odds.
What does it all mean?
While praying thanks to God, I’ve also been asking, “What I am supposed to learn from this?” The messages I’ve received from my Oracle cards were about remaining present, being grateful, and staying grounded.
The most obvious lesson I’m meant to learn from this experience is that the world needs me. I’m alive to share my story, the Boat analogy, and the truth that we are all so much more than the drama, problems, and fear distracting us from our power and distancing us from each other. We are ALL Boats, charting a course on the seas of life, which reminds me of the mentoring program I mentioned earlier.
To create a beautiful life and relationships worth sharing, I’m developing a mentoring program to help people ages 10 + develop more personal awareness. At the same time, seeing their unique gifts to live life to the fullest. Based on the four systems of the Boat analogy, the program includes lessons from the new book; You’re the Boat, Take 2. I’ll be talking more about it once it’s ready for prime time.
In the meantime, I know how lucky I am to have a son who is trained as an EMT living with me! If Garrett hadn’t been there, more than likely, if I made it out alive, I would have called the ambulance. However, for now, I’m alive, grateful, and happy to be able to share this experience with you, my friendly blog reader.
Have you ever had anything like this happen to you?
What do you think?
I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.
P.S. I made this video the other night, feeling grateful to be alive, healthy, and loved.