Saturday, June 18, 2011

the sudden stop at the end

Have you heard the saying that goes "It's not the fall that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end"?
Our van was killed on Wednesday, June 15.

(This is an example of what our van looked like afterward. I didn't have a camera with me.)

But the important thing is that those of us riding in the van at the time are untouched aside from a little welt on Rosalie's shoulder from her seat strap, and a few small bruises up and down my left side. And the man in the other car had only a scratched arm.

I was heading east on a straight road when a small truck drove south across the intersection. He had a stop sign and had thought it was a four-way. He couldn't see me coming because of a semi to his right. I was looking straight ahead and didn't see him until it was too late. We hit his passenger side nearly head on. I had just enough time to swerve slightly to the right. (In retrospect, and after talking to the paramedics, it would have been safer to hit him straight. At least for those of us in the van.)

I had been worried about getting home in time for Rosalie to use the bathroom because if we stopped, the ice cream for Clarissa's birthday celebration might melt. In the first seconds after the impact, with broken glass everywhere and a haze of smoke from the airbags, I first made sure my girls (Meredith and Rosalie) and I were physically okay. Then, of all things, I thought of the ice cream again. My saner side had to remind my perpetually worried side that if the ice cream melted before we made it home, it would be OKAY.
Someone who witnessed the crash told me to just stay in the car, but with a 4 and 6 year-old panicking from the chaos and shock, I felt we needed to get out. My door wouldn't open so I unbuckled the girls and went through the passenger side door. It turned out to be the only door that would still open.
Once outside several witnesses rushed up to us and asked if we were hurt. One woman told me she'd never seen a crash before. Another woman was an off-duty paramedic who checked over my girls while a policewoman took my information. And there was a Polynesian man who just kept asking me if we were hurt or if there was anything he could do for us. He asked us so many times, I wondered if he was in shock.
So the paramedics had to check us out. They gave my little girls a stuffed animal each. ( Rosalie pulled off her rain boots in the ambulance, dumping safety glass fragments on the floor.) The police gave us a report for our insurance. The tow trucks came and took both cars away. And my mother-in-law came to drive us home. Luckily, she was in town and not far away.

Later Rosalie was telling Lissa what happened. "We bumped into something BIG! I think it was a tent."

Casey and I had been talking earlier that same day about needing to get a newer van, and how much we both hate shopping for cars.

Two final notes--
Yesterday we ate cake and ice cream for Lissa's birthday--the ice cream made it home just fine. It had melted just a little so I kept it in the grocery bag when I stuck it in the freezer. When I unpeeled the bag yesterday, there were some blobs of shattered safety glass frozen to the drips.
Usually we are the ones getting our car registration done the last few days of the month. I was so on top of it this year--our registration stickers arrived in the mail on the 17th.

(For future reference, may you never need it-- If they ask you what tow company you prefer, don't say "Whatever." Say "Anyone located close to the center of town." Or they may send it out to the boondocks because that's the next company on the list.)


Katie said...

yikes. it's sounds like you are lucky to be alive. that scares me so bad. but i guess your decision is made for you about getting a new van huh? i like that you had safety glass ice cream for lissa's birthday. last night as we were going to sleep i said in a half-awake voice. it's clarissa hope's birthday today." and then joey and i both said "happy birthday lissa" but it was in a whispery voice so she might not have heard us.
SOOOOO glad you are ok. I like your whole selves.

kate said...

that's so scary! i am so glad you're all ok! will you be able to get a new van through insurance? love rosie's comment about the tent. we hit a baby deer on trapper's loop once and it went a flyin'. i thought malan would be upset about the poor deer, but the whole way home she kept saying things like "that deer hurt my ears."

Jake said...

That was a great post, so funny about the ice cream worries. glad you are all ok.

edith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
victoria said...

Good thing you didn't hit a tent or you'd REALLY be in trouble! Glad you are all okay.