Thursday, January 17, 2008

Don't Make Me Blog That

Thank God and all my lucky stars I was not in a hurry today.

I was first in line at the stoplight turning left. Everybody, including God and his brothers, were on their way to the grocery store for the big snow storm we're supposed to get tomorrow.

I needed bread, canned mandarin oranges, and a black sharpie pen. Not exactly an emergency.

Except that I wanted to get home before dark.
Green light go! Almost to the store.

Signalling. Turning. Pushing the gas.....Busy traffic. This snow thing in the south is amusing. There won't be any bread left on the shelf. I'm sure of it.
Starting my left turn.....

when the oblivious driver in the noisy red pickup truck ran the red light just a few seconds before my left driver's side almost turned straight into his path.

I held my breath
My foot hit the brake
Hand to mouth
I couldn't scream

Traffic stopped and the fool went on his merry way, probably not even realizing that he'd almost caused an intersection massacre.
Thank God I was looking.


The man in the SUV beside me - who had also had to slam on brakes - was cursing and white as a ghost. In a split second my life could have been over. His life. And a slew of other people who happened to be in the path of one reckless driving fool.

Just a few seconds without warning. What a thought.

Right there in the middle of the road. In the middle of town. With no one around but me and God and ambulance drivers and strangers and flashing red lights. Suddenly, I felt incredibly alone.

We resumed our paths and cautiously crept through the turn, the ghost-faced man heading straight through town and onto the interstate. I pulled over for a cup of coffee. I sat in the parking lot of the fast food place looking at the scene that almost was.If I hadn't been paying attention, my family would be getting a phone call right now.

Could my spirit have hovered peacefully over them there in the misty rain......and been truly ready to leave them?

The answer is no.
I had to ask myself - what is the last thing I said to all of them?

The very last thing.
My son and I went out to dinner last week. I joked with him about his new suit and dark sunglasses that brought out the "mafia" look. He smiled that crooked smile of his that melts me every time. And then - in true pencil skirt fashion (forgive me, son) - he put on a scary dramatic face and snapped a silly picture. "Don't make me blog that," I told him. We laughed and talked.
Will somebody tell him to straighten his tie when I'm gone? We parted with a quick peck on the cheek, goodbye in the car and "I love you - I love you too" exchange as always. Those would have been our last words. Check. Good.

My blue-eyed baby boy, his son.....did I get all the hugs I needed last week? Did I squeeze hard enough? Sometimes when I call he is "busy playing" and can't come to the phone. "I'll call ya back, Mimi," I hear him say. "Later."
There won't always be a later.

My sister today on the phone. Nope. Just our usual "Have you talked to your mother?" conversation and laughter about the crazy snow predictions and grocery lines. A quick "catch ya later." She's still not shopping with me since I disgraced the family with my pink feather fan in the local toy store.
Score zero for that one.
My parents? Hmmm.......another quick "How are you doing today?" conversation.
My mother and I chatted about nothing. Boring subjects like laundry and dress sales. Dodging the typical guilt trip from her. You know. The usual. And we were through with a click, taking for granted we would talk again.
But she did not put my Dad on the phone.

What is the last thing I said to him? Think!

Oh, I remember. Check. Good on that one too.

And then I thought.......what about other people in my life who mean so much to me. Are there scores to settle? Mysteries to solve? Questions to ask? Praise to give? Can I whittle through the "stuff" with them and pare it down to what matters?
Why should I talk about the weather when I want to walk through their hurt?
Which would they remember?
Forecasts of doom or my hand on their shoulder?
Does my heart need to spill? Would I be happy leaving them now with still so much to ponder? Do they know where to find my journals? I've said it all there.
Haven't I?
No. I have not said it all.

Where does my unfinished business lie?

Did I say what I wanted to say? EVERYTHING I wanted to say?

No. Not so good on that one.

Not so good.
Mimi Writes one year ago today? I've Got The Memes


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh gosh mimi dear! thank heavens you are alright and this was a post i shall think about deeply...

hugs, bee

Carver said...

That is so scary. We had that same rush to the store in anticipation of the snow where I live. It was such a mad house and horrifying to think how a momentary lapse of attention can end so badly on the road. I am so glad that you were alert and avoided a collision. It does bring in to focus what matters when faced with a situation like that. Take care, Carver

Linda said...

This must have been the day for fools to just pull out in front of people as I had a similar experience here in Connecticut but not enough to make me start thinking about things said or unsaid.

This was a very thought-provoking post, though, and very well written. I know that there are things that I need to say to people before I leave this world and I sincerely hope I get the chance. Some might be easy - others really, really tough but I'd feel bad going to my grave before I said those final "I love yous".

Nancy said...

"Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't." ~ Richard Bach

Scary, heart stopping/racing moments always make us regroup our priorities.

I'm glad you are okay =)

kathleenmaher said...

Those near misses are so terrifying. Much more haunting than any ghosts. Especially when you reflect and envision as you did here everything that near-miss...missed, thank God. You're pushing through some awfully heavy stuff this month, Queen Mimi. Just make it through January, and things are bound to lighten up.

MedStudentWife said...

Its happened twice(knock wood)to me. I don't drive (but act as active 2nd seater/navigator) and both times I have seen the situation before the driver;I think its been my "gleep" that has saved us both times.

Its not fun and yes.. so much races thru' your head - after. But it's amazing how much you assimilate in those split seconds; the "I'm okay" as your heart thumps crazily even tho' you haven't quite figured out what could have happened, yet.

The last one was after Christmas on the 401.It was with a trucker - a "youngin'". And it would have been his fault. Sad to say, I hope we scared him as much as he did us.

I am happy you told the tale :) and I am happy your story turned out well.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bee - I think I stopped breathing for a full minute. I couldn't exhale!

Carver - I hope we get what's predicted. I need a clean fresh slate to write upon. Oohhh.....I smell a post.

Linda - I'm glad you're OK. You have to be alert every second on the road. No more cellphones for me, I think. I wasn't on it today, thank goodness, but I am certainly guilty of that too much.

Nancy - I love that quote. Thank you for sharing - and for visiting.

Kathleen - I do feel as if I'm "pushing through some stuff" this season. I have to remember that it is only a season. This too shall pass. I'm feeling awfully reflective these days. Good friends - like you - help.

Medstudentwife - It IS amazing how quickly those thoughts run through your mind. Now I understand about "life flashes before your eyes"!

teflonjedi said...

Oh my...I don't drive any more (because I'm in China and they won't let me), but I have had a few of these instances just the same, all my life. These are scary scary things to contemplate.

(sorry, I'll go back to lurking now)

Travis said...

This is the reason I don't play this kind of regret game. The time we have is the only time we have. The last thing I've said to a loved one isn't the only thing I've ever said to that person.

I've said I love them. We've laughed at silliness. We've talked about the serious stuff.

I'm at peace with my loves.

I just don't think it should be about the last thing you said. It has to be about the width and breadth of a life, not the last 5 minutes. No one can be all they need to be and do all they need to do in the last 5 minutes.

I'm glad you were paying attention on the road my dear.

barbara said...

I'am giving you this first ((((()))
So very glad that you are sound and safe !!

You went through a big shock there, and that always stirs up a lot of things.I would not be too hard on myself, if I were you.
Instead of searching for every that is not done, go forward ....

Keep on sharing and loving like you know how to do.
God bless dear Mimi.

Akelamalu said...

Oh my good God thank goodness you're OK.

It does bring it home to you when you have a near miss like that - life's too short for pettyness, thanks for the reminded Mimi. xx

Patti said...

I'm so glad you were alert and are fine, Mimi. That was a horrible scare!
Life can change in a split second and we all need to be reminded of that.

Beautifully written post.

Hope you have a peaceful weekend!

Robin Lee Sardini said...

Hi Mimi,
Whew! A friend of the family was killed this week in a car accident, and another little boy that I knew was also killed in a separate car accident. I WOULD NOT have wanted to read about you, too! Thank God you are here and it was NOT "your time"! It reminds me of a post I wrote a while back about a near miss that I witnessed called Divine Choreography.
You are still so needed here, my Friend! So very needed! I appreciate you more than you know. I feel the gamut of emotions when I visit your kingdom. You capture the intricacies of life and illumine the delicate truths of our human experience in every post. I am very grateful for you, Dear Queen Mimi!

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Thank heavens you are okay! That is scary.

Mimi Lenox said...

Trav - Thank you and I totally agree. It really is about the depth and breadth as you so beautifully stated. And that very thought hovered in my brain while writing this post - but I didn't express that nearly as well as you just did!

Great response. You said it well.

Mimi Lenox said...

Teflonjedi - Yes, they are scary indeed. I've seen you lurking. Come out and comment more often. We like it when you do....or just lurk. That's OK too!

Barbara - "Keep on sharing and loving..." Yep. That's the point. Thank you.

Akelamalu - "Life's too short for pettyness"....You've got that right.

Patti- How are the kittens? We're expecting snow annnyyyy minute. Time for a peaceful frolic in the snowflakes.

Robin - I am so sorry for the loss of your friends. What tragedies. How awful. My sympathies. I am grateful for you too!

Cheysuli - Glad you are my friend Mr. Future President. Thank you.

Lee said...

Great post, Mimi. You've given us a lot to think about here. I think Travis is right, that it's more important how you live your whole life, and participate in relationships. But, it's moments like you experienced that remind us to examine the details of our lives to see if we're really living in a way that we will be proud to have people remember.

I know I need to work on that some, Mimi. And thanks for reminding me of that.

I would like to award you the Brain Building Blog Award, Mimi. Please stop by and pick up your award when you have a chance.

Julie said...

Wow...unfinished business, eh? If we felt everything was finished what would be the need to continue?

But I can see the necessity of parting ways in a way that if it were the final meeting that you would have no regrets.

The last thing I said to my dad, "The next time you see me I'll be much happier." Less then two weeks later my husband invited Christ into his heart. I was happier...I just couldn't see Dad's happiness for me. He had died that week.

*goes for the tissues*

Jeff B said...

I too agree with Travis's observations. It would be easy to beat ourselves up over an argument we had with someone before they (or we) passed, but that doesn't void all the love we sharred with them before hand. Glad your still with us!

Misty Dawn said...

Mimi - I'm so glad you are ok. I'm so glad you avoided that accident. I'm so glad I can still read your words of your fabulous posts - like this one. This is a wonderful post, which I will continue to think about for a long while. I also have to commend Travis on his comment - those words will always stay in my mind.

Pinky said...

this makes me think....I've not said the things I need to say lately, either.
So glad you're alright.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

It's the middle of the night and I am totally foggy but do you have a son? Eeek, I need more sleep.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Well, you are okay and that's the important part. I do understand about the rest though. None of us quite do it as well as we should. So, I love you Mimi, and would have really missed you if things had turned out differently. Glad you are a defensive driver. Have a great evening. :)

Mimi Lenox said...

Lee - Thank you so much for Brain Building Award. I read your post and already have it in my sidebar. I love the way we interact as bloggers in this realm of "thinking" and discovery.

Awww Julie - What a story. Thank you for sharing. Speechless.

Jeff - No. The last year, the last day, the last five minutes do not void a lifetime of love. Good point.

Misty - Thank you. Travis is a wonderful writer and always gets to the point (unlike moi.....)

Pinky - Thank you. And there are a few things I need to say to some special people in my life as well. Ask forgiveness from one and share my heart with another. Working on that one....

Maryam - You and your Marrakesh time clock. You've been reading my blog for over a year now. Yes, I have a son.....dear, go to sleep. I think you may need some....I just sent you an email. I'll 'splain. lol

Sandee - OK. I was having a lonely little pity party in Bloggingham today and then found your comment just when I was trying to talk myself OUT of having a lonely pity party..."Shouldn't you be out DOING something Mimi? Why are you HERE all the time? And on and on and on...." I just don't want to go anywhere. So there. And so I pity-partied. And've gone and made me cry.

The first time I read this comment I cried. The second time I read this comment I cried and now I'm tearing up again. You took my words to heart and demonstrated how to do it for all of us. Here I go again.

And oh, I love you too.

exskindiver said...

hi mims,
i see what you mean now.
glad you were kept safe.
great post.
you inspire all of us.
thank you.

kellypea said...

Hmmm...inconsiderate drivers and untimely death have been on my mind lately as well. You've really captured the "stop-action" aspect of this kind of event. I love your writing.

Michael said...

Hi Mimi! You are just doing great. this is the first time I've dropped by your blog. But I found it to be really interesting! Can we exchange links?

I've a birthday blog that you can check out. Hope you'll like. I would love to find your thoughts placed out there. Thanks

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