Even as I type these words the sting of tears creeps into my eyes. These were the words I heard from the blue tooth speaker and Jimmy’s voice as I pulled to a stop to drop my daughter off at school on Tuesday. He was trying to catch our daughter because Karen’s daughter is best friends with our own.
My daughter is pulling her backpack from the car and her eyes land on mine, her father’s voice is around us thinking out loud that our daughters best friend will need some extra love and reassurance. The door slams and I see her marching toward the school as I whip the truck around and my own mind is racing with the news. I want to be marching off to see my friend too.
“What happened? Where is she? What are her injuries? Are you SURE she is OK?”
The car feels horribly hot, I want to throw up…my head is shouting to me she is OK so why the hell do I want to fall apart sobbing as if I were an unattended child?
Jimmy continues. The other driver they think may have been texting, not sure, but she swerved into Karen and launched her car from the freeway where it did 4 somersaults until landing upright. It’s a miracle the paramedics told her, that she walked away, breathing, alive.
We hang up.
I call Eric, Karen’s husband, and now the blue tooth speaker has his voicemail response saying he is Eric and please leave him a message at the tone and how he will call me back. I try to leave a message. The garbled words caught in emotion were left for him to retrieve later. But he knows what I have said: “you guys are family…anything. We are here for you. We love you.”
The anger with the other driver hit me like a freight train. Why can’t people understand that typing and driving don’t belong in the same sentence.
Back home, after rehashing it with Jimmy who told me repeatedly to focus on the fact that she is OK, I was upstairs and picked up my phone to retrieve my messages and there as if suspended in time was a message from Karen from the day before. A message asking me if I could bring her daughter home from field hockey because she needed to yet again travel to Orange County to attend to her own mother.
There are moments that are nearly paralyzing because the “what-ifs” in life abscond with ones ability to be rational. Hearing her voice, so herself, so filled with the safety of knowing I would get her daughter, well it leveled me.
It stems back to a different phone call. The phone call where I learned Jimmy’s mom had been killed in a car accident in a car that had made it’s own somersault launch from the freeway. We know it happens. We lived it. That is a phone call I never ever want to get again.
My phone rang. The name flashed it was Karen. My emotions were folded back into my armor as I told her I was beyond relieved to hear her voice. I sat and listened as she recounted her experience…and all I could think was how grateful I am. Grateful for my friend, her life, what we have shared and will continue to share. Grateful. Grateful for this phone call which brings her alive to me through a speaker smaller then my pinky nail bed.
Hearing the facts where she was, what she experienced, how she felt all frightening details were music to my ears because Karen was the one sharing them. Sometimes brushes with disaster wake us up to what we have, all that we are grateful for. I am beyond grateful for Karen. I am grateful for a phone call that told me she was and would be OK.
Tell your family, your friends…tell them you love them.
Tell them if they are driving to pay attention. Tell them that everyone they pass on the road, just like them, has people who love them. Tell them there are certain phone calls they never ever want to get.
Don’t text and drive, ever.