Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Only I Could Total A Car and Not Break A Nail

When I was a little girl, my great-grandmother lived next door. During thunderstorms when we'd lose power, she would come over with her sister, my great-Aunt Carly, and we’d sing songs…..quietly…it was forbidden to sing or even talk loudly during a thunderstorm. So, we’d sit around in the dark with candles and sing this old song. “Til The Storm Passes Over, til the thunder sounds no more, til the clouds roll forever from the sky. Hold me fast, let me stand, in the hollow of Thy hand. Keep me safe..til the storm passes by.”

Nothing bad has ever happened to me in the rain. Until...

It was a typical Saturday afternoon in June. I'd been to visit my son and his fiancee and had planned to stop at the cemetery on the way home to visit my dad. There was something very strange about the clouds on this day. And the wind. A dark and ominous blue they were..so low to the ground...my car wanted to wobble in the wind as I watched branches above me sway with sudden gusts and finger-like spiraling wispy clouds teasing me from above. Tornadoes? Today? Actually, I thought, I should pull over. It was that scary looking. My mind went over all the safety rules for driving in a storm including scoping out the banks to the left and right for ditches to hide in just in case I needed one. Lights on. Pay attention. Very strange weather indeed. One minute it looked like it might pour and then complete calm.  I nixed the graveyard visit - Daddy would have agreed - and decided to try and make it home.
It was a bad decision.

I passed an intersection and rounded a curve just as sheets of water and wind fell from the sky - seemingly out of nowhere. Finding wipers, finding wipers......I couldn't see for a few seconds and then the back and forth sway of the wiper blades revealed straight ahead, within spitting distance, a pool of standing water in the left lane where the pavement was broken. There was no time to change lanes.

Before I could say help the car hydroplaned and I lost control. I was blindly spinning in the rain. Steering was not possible. The car had a mind of its own. Sliding and making circles across the right lane and then back again across two lanes. Where are the other cars? I had no clue which direction I was going. Up was down, right was left and the awful inertia tossed me like a rag doll. I felt myself in the air, tumbling, and then unstable grass underneath instead of pavement. I heard metal noises. Bending noises. Newton's Law of Motion says that an object will continue moving at its current velocity until some force causes its speed or direction to change.
I was about to test Newton's theory.

Now let me tell you what Mimi said in her head at this point. I knew. I'm telling you, I knew.
I knew that when that car finally stopped I would be dead. It was going too fast. I closed my eyes and let go, waiting for the impact. "I am going to die. It's going to be a horrible death. God help me. Please don't let me suffer," I said, with no particular drama at all .  It felt like a slow motion nightmare without the screaming. Acceptance. Total certainty that when the car found a crashing point I would be dead. I knew.

My life didn't replay in front of me as I've always heard. No walk down memory lane. No emotional regrets or bargains with the Almighty. There was just a sadness that this was the way my life was going to end. No time left. One slip of a wheel in a rainstorm meant all my unfulfilled dreams and plans were over. Just like that. No time to finish my life’s work. And I, in complete mortal fashion sans any royal dignity whatsoever was worried most of all, in those minutes inside my renegade car, about feeling physical pain. That is the truth. I wanted to be anywhere but awake. Fear? More like frozen terror.  A few more moments on Earth.

So suddenly thrown from birth’s door in a flash
Of lightning and thunder, wild winds and a crash
What does one think in the face of their death…
“It couldn’t be time, not my time, not yet”


 Slam. Metal. Noise. A jolt. My head was hurting. Sideways in the air on two tires.
I hit a bank. Maybe even a tree. Thud..another bounce in the air.  I couldn't look.
The worst impact was over.
To my utter surprise the car didn't stop and I was not dead.

But it was not over. Instead of riding on tilt-a-whirl wheels through wet sloping grass, I suddenly realized I was going straight. On the ground. Forward. The car would.not.stop. Something made me open my eyes. Straight was good, my friends, but headed straight back into traffic was not. Somehow that car had to stop. Either I found the brakes or an angel found the brakes. Maybe it was daddy’s big shoe on the top of my foot pressing down as he did many years ago when I was about to hit that pine tree.

I would like to forget - and soon - the fear I felt inside my own personal plane car, for in my dreams I'm still strapped in the seat as it spins and spins out of control.....but there is one thing I do not ever want to forget: the feeling of gratitude and joy when the car finally stopped.
Upright. On four wheels. Windshield intact. Still in my seat belt. Hurt. Hysterical. Enter screaming. Shaking. In shock. Babbling. Praying. Thanking God. Exhilarated to be alive.

Have you ever had church in a car?
Well I did.

One little finger......two little fingers.....three little fingers....four...oh don't mind me. I'm just counting my fingers. And toes. And arms. Even my freckles. Like a newborn.

A man came to my window with a dripping umbrella and a fearful look.  He said he’d seen my car fall from the air. "You must have flipped over." He couldn’t believe he was talking to me. Neither could I, nor could I believe I hadn't hit another car and killed someone else. Oh, the horrors.  I remember firemen and backboards, rain on my clothes, CT scans, phone calls, mind-numbing drugs, hugging my son, and a man known only as Jose in the emergency room who stopped to put his hand on my arm when I couldn‘t calm down. I could see him mumbling prayers  by my side. Thank you, Sir, whoever you are.

Every inch of my body was in pain right down to every toe. I could barely move my arms and it was excruciating to lift my legs. Things were twisted and out of place. And oh, my aching head. But I was so glad to be alive I didn't care what was wrong with me or what had happened to my car.  None of that mattered.
I have a feeling a lot of things aren’t going to matter anymore.

Because my head hit the ceiling so many times they were concerned about a neck compression fracture. All clear. No broken bones. No life-threatening injuries. Minor head injury. Bruised ribs. Muscle injuries. Cuts and internal bruises.  It will take some time to feel normal again. I will need to take things day by day.

I kept repeating “I can’t believe I’m not dead. I can’t believe I’m not dead. I can't believe I'm not dead." And honestly, as ridiculous as it seems, I think I was afraid to stop talking, afraid to close my eyes and let go for fear I wouldn’t wake up. I didn’t want to start spinning again. By that time I'm sure I was even driving Jose crazy.

 The storm passed over and I was safe.  In addition to the singing of rainstorm songs, my great-grandmother left another lasting impression on me. It was in the form of this painting which hung on the wall of her tiny house all her life. I must have looked at it a thousand times. It gave me comfort as a child.
She never talked to me about guardian angels but I could see them.
Not really see them. But I knew that she believed. I could see them in her eyes. When I grew up and became a mother myself, I understood why she needed to believe in angels.

It was said by one and then another after the fact that it appeared I'd driven the car to a safe landing.  "It looks like you drove that car to a stop, Mimi, all the way through the wreck. Like someone who knew how to drive."

Really? I couldn't see a thing. I had my eyes closed until the very end. Somebody drove it alright...but it wasn't me.


Julie said...

Whoa. You finally got it out, eh pretty lady? Hugs to you and praises to God for keeping you safe!

The Social Frog said...

WOW Mimi!! Reading this made me tear up! I am so happy you are alive!!! God & angels were with you. Here is a prayer I've said all my life, when I was young my mother taught us it & I say it every day!! "Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God's love commits me here,
ever this day,
be at my side
to light and guard,
to rule and guide

Amazing Gracie said...

Oh my goodness. Reading that gave me chills. I was in a minor accident in '76, but every time I go through the intersection where it happened I have deja vu, involuntarily feeling the crash and hearing the brakes scream.
I cannot imagine how horrible that must have been for you! I am just so happy that you were protected from further harm (Psalm 91!).

Unknown said...

Wow! I'm so happy you made it through that so well. You're definitely here for a reason and I'm very glad!

rose of Walk in the Woods - she/her said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rose of Walk in the Woods - she/her said...

Your words filled my eyes with reluctant tears as I recalled my own hydroplaning accident several years back. Also in June. There were angels.

Beautiful, bright blessings to you Mimi. You are so loved … here and there and everywhere. Thank you for sharing your story. Peace.

Anonymous said...

They make cars every second, but Mimi's are once in an eternity. Glad you're safe and sound. (Gentle hugs)

Big thanks to Jose for helping you find some peace in the midst of turmoil.

Finding Pam said...

Mimi, it was a miracle that you survived. Your words were vividly filled with horror and acceptance.

I thank God you survived. Some one was watching over you that day.

Billie Greenwood said...

My heart is also grateful for your safety. May your healing continue, and angels watch over you.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, Mimi, what a gripping and terrifying tale, told with such impact (excuse the expression:)) I am so glad you survived, you have a ton more inspoiration to spread - and either your dad or some other angel likely took the wheel for you........I hydroplaned once too and remember the feeling of calm acceptance and time slowing as the Inevitable happened....I had been listening to a Caroline Myss tape and the last words I heard were "Wake Up Call." Yes. Not four seconds after my car came to rest for the final time against the concrete abutment (slam! slam! slam! Horrible pain.) a semi toiled up the hill. I would have been plastered all over his gril four seconds later. Gratitude, yes. And a wake up call.

Charles Gramlich said...

Glad you are OK. Reminds me of an accident I had one time, although I ended up in the ditch with no damage to the car. Very lucky. but my thoughts were much the same.

Akelamalu said...

Well thank God your Guardian Angel was with you. It obviously wasn't your time to go Mimi and for that I give thanks. x

Cactus Jack Splash said...

So glad you are safe. Angels are blessings to those who bless others.

Durward Discussion said...

Welcome back. We have missed you and hoped for your quick recovery. Whichever guardians were along for the ride did a great job.

Dawn Drover said...

My life didn't replay in front of me as I've always heard....

It's more like a slow motion movie isn't it? You told it well. We are all so glad that you are safe and sound. {HUGS}

bazza said...

So glad you came out of that without more serious injury. Your writing was like living the experience! Welcome back and get well soon.X
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

ya made it through and now you have new wheels..i think oyu need to take a trip to visit friends in that new car

Red Shoes said...

Oh My God... I am SO glad you are safe. That is so horrifying!!!

You are blessed!!


The Gal Herself said...

"One slip of a wheel in a rainstorm meant all my unfulfilled dreams and plans were over. Just like that." Those two sentences will stay with me, because life is that capricious, isn't it?

I'm glad you had your Guardian Angel to see you through, my Queen!

Ferd said...

Oh My Gosh!!! Mimi!!!
I am so glad you are alive! That is the thing to be grateful for. The rest will work itself out.

Unknown said...

Wow! Your narrative opened my memory to a similar event I experienced 20 years ago.

I thank God, my dear friend, that you are alive and will certainly heal.

Mimi Lenox said...

Julie - Praises indeed. And if you ever tell anyone what I said on the phone to you that day I will deny it. Such a babbling crazed woman I was.
I can get by. I have a head injury ya know!

Thank you for being there.

Mimi Lenox said...

Social Frog - I love that prayer and will write it down. Thank you!

Gracie He that dwelleth in the place of the Most High shall rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Thanks for the reminder.

Michelle - Thank you. I hope I fulfill the reason.

Rose - You too? It's the scariest thing. Glad you are with us today! I so enjoy your peaceful ways and wisdom.

Lois - Your comment made me cry. Thank you. And I hope Jose reads this.

Pam - My doctor said the same thing, "God above was watching over you" he said with a serious face. He rarely gets that serious.
"Someone" indeed.

Billie - I don't believe I'd be this far along if not for so many praying friends from around the world.

Mimi Lenox said...

Sherry - I wrote you earlier but I just wanted to say again what a horrible experience that must have been for you. I would say I have no idea, but I do!

YOU are blessed and so are we.

Charles - You flew in a ditch? OUCH. Thanks for your well wishes.

Akelamalu - Daddy used to say that. He believed in it "being your time" or not. xxooo

Jack - Then buckets of blessings should be on you as well, my friend.

Jamie - One of them knew how to drive. Wink.

Mimi Lenox said...

Dawn - Thank YOU for upholding me throughout. You took care of letting others know while I was in the ER. I credit you with keeping me surrounded with prayers and healing thoughts.

Mimi Lenox said...

Bazza - I hope you didn't get as dizzy as I did! I've missed you too.

Vinny - Yes, I have a brand new car. That I am afraid to drive!!! But now that you mention it, a trip to see you and Nancy might be just what the doctor ordered.

Mimi Lenox said...

Red - I know I am blessed. I have no choice but to fully realize what could have happened to me...and that is a sobering thing.
Thanks for being here for me.

Gal - In a flash and when you least expect it. Gone.
I knew that in my head before. Now I know it in my heart.

Mimi Lenox said...

Ferd - Me too!!! Hope we can get together soon. I need to catch up with you and the Princess.

Nick - See email.
I'm sorry you had to go through something like that too. I will most certainly heal. Yes, I will.

Travis Cody said...

You'll be afraid of the car and the road for awhile. It's the nature of that kind of experience. Don't rush yourself.

But now you've got it in writing, and it can start to move out of your head a little.

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis - Have you been talking to Julie? Ha! She had to coax me out of a parking space today. I've found the best excuses NOT to get IN the car and NOT to drive all day.
You are right. I am afraid.

And yes, you know I had to get it down on paper and out of my head. That is always the first step for me.

The Misadventures Of Me said...

Ive got tears. Im happy the accident was not a killer. Your story brought me back to my own accident in 2007. No final pleas, as you said but only one word I remember and it was a swear. One look at my car also had me thinking an angel or a fairy had its arms around the drivers side of my totaled car as the other side was ruined. The state trooper said I should have been dead.

Thank you to your angel who helped guide you! Glad you are safe Mimi!


Mimi Lenox said...

Laure - I believe I believe I believe...so glad you are safe as well. What a horrible thing for you! I can so relate.

I think the lesson for me is how quickly things change. And you have NO more chances.

Janice Blase said...

Such a selfish thought...but I'm grateful that we didn't lose your voice, Mimi. I so enjoy your writing, and getting to know you through it.

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Sending a prayer of thanks to the heavens for watching over you, Mimi.

You have important Peace work to do, it seems.

My cousin, author Julianne MacLean, hydroplaned her car off the highway down an embankment into the woods and landed upside down, hanging by her seatbelt. The passenger side was completely crushed. She walked away from the wreck knowing angels had wrapped their wings around her - there was no other logical explanation.

She wasn't published then. But she figured she had work to do if she'd survived such a thing. So she followed her dream. Eighteen books later she's still writing, still driving - though she went through several years of rainy-day anxiety because of it.

SO glad to read this post and know you are alright.

Toffee K. Ripple Fuzzypants & Feline American Angels said...

All of the previous comments are more eloquent than mine, so I'll just convey my gratitude that YOU emerged unscathed!

Hugs to you and a sigh of relief, too!

Mimi Lenox said...

Julia - Thanks for the long email chat. What a terrible wreck your cousin went through. It is no small thing...but the way it makes you feel afterward is a huge thing.
Congrats to her. I will read her asap. We have a lot in common. I get it!
Thank you for your prayers.

Jessica - Two sighs of relief and many thanks for your concern.

Jans Funny Farm said...

Oh, no, Mimi! What a terrifying thing to happen to you. So glad you are alive to tell it.

Muse: Part Fairy Godmother, Part Greek Goddess said...

Your writing is visceral and moving. I, too, had an angelic intervention nine years ago when I totalled my car. I was in the far left lane in a three lane highway that abruptly merged into a two lane. I could tell the motorist next to me did not see me in his blind spot as his car began to edge over into my car! I quickly assessed the situation, making note of the motorist's blonde little girl in the backseat of his car, her face pressed into the window. "Make a choice," I thought. Try to save yourself or let his car edge you off the road. I couldn't move forward since there was a car ahead that was already too close for comfort. There was nowhere for me to go but an imbankment with a huge metal barrier. It all happened fast, but it also happened in the same slow-motion you described. "I'm likely to die right now," I thought and accepted this fact well enough to let go. My car crashed into the metal barrier and through it, then flipped twice down a hill. When I woke up, against all odds, my car was so completely totalled I had to be pried out of it with the jaws of life. I sustained a mild concussion, bruises and abrasions and muscle aches. But that was it. A few days later, I went to a wreckage site to see if any of the belongings I had in the trunk or back seat had made it through as I had. The passenger door had been pried open and much to my surprise I saw a gift my angel left behind. I remembered I'd been driving around with a Christmas ornament, meaning to buy glue to fix the opalescent glass flower that encased a beautiful angel. It had been in the backseat, wrapped in bubble wrap to prevent further breakage. On what was left of the passenger seat was the angel that had been firmly esconsed in the glass flower! The workers at the wreckage site had certainly not taken the time to fish out the ornament, remove the bubble wrap and the angel and deposit her on the front seat! (I confess, I did ask them anyway and they just looked at me as if to say "Yep, head injury alright." The rest of the ornament and the bubble wrap was smashed up along with everything else I'd had in the car. The angel somehow flew out of the ornament to wait for me to find an early Christmas gift...xo

Mimi Lenox said...


Chills. You describe it so vividly. So well. I can see that angel on the passenger seat. What an incredible story!! Thank you for sharing it.

Unseen and powerful forces make up what we call this life - the greatest invisible miracle is love itself. Makes me wonder how anyone can doubt the presence of grace and angels when a force as powerful as love - just as unseen - rules the world.
Food for thought.

Mimi Lenox said...

Jan - So am I!! Thank you, Jan.

Mimi Lenox said...

Janice - What a kind thing to say. Thank you very much.

Mimi Lenox said...

Muse - It struck me also that you put someone else before yourself and made a difficult choice in that vehicle. Amazing.

CyberCelt said...

I have been in four wrecks where the car rolled and was totaled. My cervical spine shows each one. LOL

Take care of yourself and if you have headaches, pain radiating up or down your neck, see a doctor, chiropractor or an acupuncturist.

Glad an angel intervened. Next time, keep your eyes OPEN. There is always someway you can mitigate collisions.


Misty DawnS said...

I'm completely speechless (there's a first time for everything). I am so thankful you have guardian angels!
P.S. We have that guardian angel painting too.

Mimi Lenox said...

Misty - That's an old old painting. I'd like to research it now. I wish I had my great-grandmother's original.

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