As I was explaining the requirements for a five sentence paragraph, a call came from the main office. Our substitute secretary asked politely if I was available for a phone call. I told her I had students at the moment and asked if she would kindly take a message. There was hesitation, then the words I dread, “It’s your husband.”
With a million horrible scenes plaing in my head like a movie I couldn’t turn off, I ran out of my room, down two flights of stairs and down another hall to the office. She met me at the door with the cordless phone.
“Hello?” I asked fearfully, praying she had been wrong about who was on the other end.
“Honey, your mom and our daughter have been in a car accident. They were stopped at a stoplight and someone rear-ended them. They’re being taken by ambulance to the hospital.” A mother’s worst fear had just exploded into my world.
I could literally hear my world crashing. Every cell in my body was screaming “I WANT MY BABY!” In a blur, I left school and headed to the hospital, a 15 minute drive that seemed to take hours. When I finally got there and was finally directed to where they were, I was not prepared for what I saw.
There was my mother, in a neck brace, sitting on the end of gurnie. And my daughter, still in her carseat, with her head taped down to it. I dropped my things and went to her so that she could see me. There was no reaction from her. My heart broke into a thousand pieces. I don’t know exactly what I expected, but I could tell by her eyes and her body language that she was not herself. As I was trying to get a reaction, a cry – a laugh – a smile – anything, a police officer asked me to follow him to get her information. He merely wanted me to spell her name correctly, give our address and her birthdate. I’m sure I was looking at him as if he were an alien because all I wanted was to be near enough to my daughter to touch her. When he finally let me go back, there was still no reaction. I couldn’t see anything wrong with her except for a large red bump forming over the outer corner of her left eye.
We were taken to another room. She started to perk up and kept asking to get out of the seat. Finally, after what seemed hours, the doctor checked her and let her out. She immediately reached for me and wouldn’t let go. I held her, even after she fell asleep in my arms.
After several more hours of waiting, they did a CT scan. They allowed me to stay right next to her, but when she started crying for me, my heart ached. I started singing our song (You Are My Sunshine) to her. I do not have a pleasant singing voice and often sing off-key, but I didn’t care who was listening. She had stopped crying and I was going to continue to sing until she was in my arms again.
In the end, I found out the details of the accident, which I don’t think I really wanted to know. My mom was stopped at a stoplight. A minivan carrying 4 adults was traveling between 45 and 50 mph and slammed into the back of my mom’s Jeep Grand Cherokee. A witness said the driver never even hit the brakes. After she came to a stop on the other side of the intersection, my mom got out and tried to get to my daughter, who had started screaming. The impact of the crash had jammed the back doors shut. She quickly climbed back into the front seat and climbed through to the backseat to my crying daughter. When the firetruck and ambulance arrived, they had to take my daughter and her carseat over the backseat and out the rear tailgate (which had popped open on impact). Apparently, she fought so hard while they were trying to get a collar on her that they quit trying and just put two sheets on either side of her head and taped her head to the seat. My mom, in the meantime, was fighting the other paramedics. She told them was not going to get on a backboard. She was going to sit where her granddaughter could see her so she wasn’t scared.
In my heart of hearts, I knew she was okay and things could have been worse, but I will carry with me that fear forever. She had a mild concussion (she vomited when we got home and we had to wake her every 2-3 hours to check on her). Today, she is fine. She is playing and dancing. She cannot tell me what happened and whenever I ask, she changes the subject. And that’s fine with me.