This is difficult for me to write about. It’s been a year now since I experienced a horrifying car crash. It was my fault. I made a bad lane change and ended up sideways on the grill of a transport truck at 110 km/hr. There’s no reasonable explanation for why I didn’t die but good luck and the truck driver’s skill somehow allowed me to live.
I heard a loud bang and before I understood what was happening, I saw that to my left was the front of an eighteen wheeler. Had I taken my hand off the steering wheel, I could have touched it. But I held on. Two feet on the brakes, two hands on the wheel, glass shattering all around me, my car seemingly on the verge of exploding or flipping or crumpling, I rode it out for the longest minute or two in my fifty years.
Miraculously, I survived and walked away without a scratch. The car was a write-off and I got a $110 ticket for an unsafe lane change.
But I’m not the same anymore. I don’t like driving. I see danger everywhere. Every lane change is a terrifying event. Every merging car looks like a potential threat. It’s been a year and it’s still there. And I doubt it’s going to change. There really are moments in our lives that change us. That we don’t just get over.
It’s an odd feeling. Like surviving a plane crash, there’s almost a guilt to it. Why me? Why did I live when others didn’t? It’s paradoxically liberating and paralysing all at once. I don’t even know how to describe it and I’ve spent a year trying.
But I now fully and completely understand that some injuries are not visible. And unlike broken bones or the bruises we can all see, it’s not clear to me how the less visible damage many of us have suffered will heal. Or if it will heal at all. And you don’t have to crash a car to have this damage. We all have it. In some way. Somehow.