To the man in the “Fire police” vest at the scene of my husband’s accident this morning – you may not recall seeing me but what you said to me had a profound impact on my state of mind.
You see…at 5:43 a.m. this morning I received a call from my husband. Instantly I knew from his voice something bad had happened. He said he had been in an accident. He thinks his wrist is broken. The car…totaled. And could I come get him.
He quickly gave me the location and I asked him if he was otherwise ok and he responded with “I think….” and then began speaking to, I presume, the emergency personnel that had arrived at the scene.
I ran upstairs, dressed quickly, scribbled a note for his son, and took off driving the 35 minutes through the back orchard roads and tiny villages to get to my husband. I was alternating between praying and thinking of the “what am I going to find” scenarios.
From the bottom of the hill, I can see the line of stopped cars and flashing lights. My heart is no longer beating. We inch forward and I am desperately trying to find my husband among the mangled cars and emergency personnel.
That’s where you come in…
See you don’t know me. You don’t know that I struggle with anxiety. That every single thing becomes a loud noise in my head. You don’t know that the whole way to the scene…the 35 minutes I was on the road to my husband…that every worst case scenario played out in my mind in rapid and incomplete succession. I am sure you get your fill of nosy rubberneckers who ask stupid questions. I am sure directing traffic at 6:20 a.m. was the last thing you wanted to do.
But finally I am able to make my way up the hill. I pull up beside you and say “it’s my husband…where should I stop”. To which you replied “he was evac-ed from the scene.” Through the sound of blood rushing in my ears, I asked you to which hospital. You said you didn’t know.
I creep forward to the next man in the fire police vest. “Please do you know what hospital my husband was taken to?” He said no. I asked him who would know. He said maybe the police there. He told me to park behind a red car but I could no longer see or hear anything. I did a sloppy U-turn of sorts and pulled up to the wreckage.
I jumped out of my car. I’m numb. I’m shaking. Someone beside me says…”why are you getting out. Don’t get out of the car, I’ll sit with you.” My husband had to literally speak to me for what seemed like forever until I could comprehend it was him. He was there. Cradling a very swollen wrist but otherwise seemingly ok.
I grabbed him and bear-hugged him, which no doubt bothered his badly bruised ribs and neck. I told him what you said. I stammered that I was scared…he said you were taken to the hospital. I caused him more stress he didn’t need. I was beyond controlling the anxiety – it’s a very thin thread of control on a normal day. We didn’t need that. He didn’t need to calm ME down at that point. HE was the one hurt, traumatized. All because you wanted to be funny or sarcastic or you were just not in the mood to deal with people.
You emergency personnel do a job many of us could not do and see things many of us could not handle and for that, I thank you. I do not hold a grudge. You don’t know me. Another person might have simply let it go. My husband has asked me to let it go. He is fine. So…I am letting it go the way that works best.