December 17, 2018. After spending a day together, my husband and I were preparing to leave our kids with a sitter for the night and celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.
I suffer from "mom guilt." For those of you unaware of this debilitating condition, it means I cannot do or buy anything for myself without feeling insanely guilty that my kids are not included. My husband didn't want to celebrate our anniversary together with them and insisted we take some time to enjoy being alone together. To ease my guilt, we decided we would take the kids through the car wash, after picking them up from school, and get them a treat before dropping them off with a sitter.
The car wash is located nearby our kids' school. It was not uncommon for us to go through after picking them up. The trouble was, it is located on a busy street and to turn into the car wash you have to stop at a turning lane with no light and cross two lanes going in the opposite direction before you are able to enter the car wash.
That day, the lane nearest me was lined with cars, making it difficult to see the next lane over. A car in the packed lane, made room for me to turn and motioned for me to go. My husband pointed it out, but I refused. I could see over the cars into the next lane and would wait until I was confident the coast was clear. I waited and when I was sure no cars were coming I made my turn.
Just as I was entering the car wash a car hit us with such force my car did a 180 turn. The side airbags deployed. My husband was knocked out for a good few seconds. The kids were in shock and then tears. The front of the other vehicle was completely smashed in. The back wheel of my car was completely bent in so badly that the car was deemed totaled (the first car that I picked out and bought myself!!! I was devastated!). Just a few inches to the right and it could've been Julian's car door. I try not to think about what that would've meant for him.
It was one of the worst moments of my life.
For some time after the accident I could not get behind the steering wheel without crying. Even in the passenger's seat, every time we passed that turn I would begin to hyperventilate. If we ever had to make that turn I would have to close my eyes until we had passed. I was wrecked.
At that time my boys and I were obsessed with Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse and would play the album on repeat in our car. When I finally felt confident enough to get behind the wheel again and drive on my own, it was thanks to one song on that album, "What's Up, Danger?"
For a long time, the only way I was able to drive was by playing this song on repeat the entire time I was in the car. It gave me a strength and confidence I could not muster on my own. It motivated me to not only face my fears, but challenge them. It became my war cry.
Eventually, I didn't need it anymore and life continued as normal. There were still moments where I would panic while driving (while making turns in particular), but I would just hum my song and power through it. By the end of 2019, I rarely needed aid from my song at all.
The power of what that song did for me has become very clear to me these past few days. Despite the insurance agencies deeming the accident a split fault, I was sued by the driver of the other vehicle. Throughout all of 2019, the date of my deposition was pushed back, until we finally met two days ago.
I have never before had the displeasure of being on the receiving end of a lawyer's questions. If I ever had to do it again, I would rather cut out my own tongue. Seriously. Do lawyers pay for their law degrees with their souls or does it just naturally turn black and shrivel up every time they verbally assault people?
After the deposition I sat in my car and cried. Reliving that day was bad enough. Having to defend myself and remember every minute detail of the incident was truly unbearable. I felt like....I'd been hit by that car all over again. No. I felt even worse than that. I felt like I'd been hit by that car all over again, had my clothes ripped from my body, and had coarse sandpaper scraped over every inch of my skin. I felt weak. I felt violated. I felt raw and cold and vulnerable and abused. I needed a hero.
The past few days have been very difficult for me. I have to drive through that area every day and every time I do I feel more arms tremble and my heart pound.
I've once again turned to my song for strength, but this time I'm determined to make sure that its influence doesn't stop with me. I want to be like my superheroes. I want to do all that I can to prevent others going through the same experience I have. I want to turn my fear into action.
My accident could have been avoided if there was a stoplight at that turn. In fact, while going through this process, I have learned that MANY car accidents in my town could have been avoided with a stoplight placed at that turn. So I have decided to pour my efforts into making that happen.
I have been informed my goal may take years to achieve, if it ever happens at all, but they can't stop me now. This is something I fully believe is necessary with all of my heart and I am ready to fight for it.
Can't stop me now I said, "I got you now" I'm right here at your door I won't leave, I want more What's up, danger? Yeah, what's up, danger?