Thursday, February 05, 2009


Yesterday was not such a good day.

It started with Bubba going on one of those frustrating crying jags. The kind where there is no discernable reason for the crying, just loud, angry, prolonged crying. In frustration, I yelled at him to please shut up. Three words. Loud, angry words that I immediately wished I could take back when I saw the look on my child's face. My infant's face.

I made my baby afraid of ME.

I felt like dirt. I wanted to cry. I hope I never have to see that look on a baby's face ever again, the look of plain fear, a look that I caused to be there. I felt awful. I still feel awful.

I decided we needed to get out of the house. We took a drive out to Scrapbooks Etc. in Mesa. My phone was dead, so I left it at home. We walked around the store, I got some ideas, calmed down, and bought a few sheets of paper for a project. It was getting dark when we left, and I knew we'd probably be getting home just a little bit after my husband.

When I pulled into our parking space, he was actually out there in the lot. I asked him if he'd just gotten home, because he didn't have his work bag with him, and he said he had actually gotten home about ten minutes earlier. Then he asked me what the house had looked like when I left.

Immediately, I started to try and think what I could have left out for the dogs to destroy. Nothing really came to mind, and I told him that it looked like it always did, and asked why. Apparently, Leila had a stomachache and there was liquid poo all over. I immediately asked if it was on the couch (because that poor couch, I dont' know how much more it can take!) and he said that thankfully, it was just on the carpet and just in the living room.

He thought she had done it and I had left the house because I didn't want to deal with it. (Thanks sweetheart for the vote of confidence in your wife.)

We entered the apartment and it was awful... three large, brown puddles splattered from the front door into the hallway, with numerous smaller spots in between. We're talking piles here. The dog only weighs 13 lbs - I don't know how she had all that in her. It smelled horribly too, as I'm sure you could guess. We opened all the windows to air the place out, and I holed up in the scraproom with the baby while my husband got to work cleaning the mess.

By the time I got the baby to bed and the bulk of the mess was cleaned, it was 9:00 and we hadn't eaten dinner yet. There was no way I was cooking the meatloaf that had been planned for that evening, so we decided to just run and get something from Burger King. I went ahead by myself so that my husband could work on the carpet a bit more.

When I was about a block or two away from the intersection where the Burger King was located, I noticed that there were cars just sitting in the middle of the road, and the people headed the way I was going were all moving to the right to get around them. Obviously, there had been an accident, and since there were no flashing lights of police cars there yet, it had just happened. Living in a big city that is notorious for it's bad drivers, fender benders are a dime a dozen. You see one, everyone slows down to rubberneck as they go around it, and then you're on your way and life goes on. Not a big deal.

Except this time, it was a big deal. The light turned red when I got up there, and there was just one car ahead of me, so I could kind of see what was going on. There was an SUV perpendicular to the street I was on that blocked most of the view. A woman in an old car had pulled into the intersection in front of us, and stopped there at a right angle to the SUV, which looked to be part of the accident. She got out of her car and handed an oversized coat to another man. People were pulling over and running from their cars to come help, or maybe just to watch.

Then I saw the guy with the motorcycle helmet in his hand. He was young, and he looked like he was freaking out, just walking in circles and rubbing his head. The helmet was intact, in spite of all the glass and metal shards on the ground. The other people there were crouching down and paying attention to something on the ground though, and not that guy.

The light changed, and the car in front of me began to slowly move forward. I could see the driver craning his neck to try and get a better view. The woman from the old car started walking over toward us, and motioning for us to stop. The car in front of me went ahead and moved through the intersection, but the woman was in front of me now, so I stopped. She kept making motions at me, and I had no idea what she wanted me to do, so I rolled down my window.

I shouldn't have rolled down my window, because then I could hear as well as see.

I was far enough forward in the intersection that I had a clear view between the two vehicles. There was a man, lying on the ground, wearing a motorcycle helmet. It was crushed. The visor was shattered and hanging off to the side. He was obviously disoriented and trying to get up. The guys there kept telling him "Stay down. Patrick, stop trying to get up. Stay down, man". He was looking toward me, so I looked away, back at the woman in the road as the police pulled up. She ran to them, so I was able to continue through the intersection to the Burger King.

The Burger King on the corner, set at an angle, where when you're sitting in the drive through, you're facing the intersection and can watch everything that is happening.

An ambulance came. The police were directing traffic around the accident. Then they started setting out flares. I left the plaza on the opposite side, intending to go home the long way, when I noticed that they were closing off the road, all the way down there, almost a quarter of a mile away. In my experience, completely closed roads around accidents mean only one thing: fatality.

I made it home okay, but my husband took one look at me, knew something was wrong, and asked me what happened. I lost it completely. I cried. I cried for what I had seen, I cried for that poor man, I cried for those people who were there by his side and would never forget what they had seen. I prayed for that man, Patrick, and I thanked God that my husband has no desire whatsoever to own or ride a motorcycle. I promised him that if he even thought about it, I would know, and I would beat him with a blunt object. I was sure that I had seen that man die, and I prayed that I was wrong.

I know that what happened would have happened whether I was there or not. However, I feel like I was put there for a reason, to see - my life isn't all that bad. Yes, the baby crying is indeed frustrating, but in the end, it's just a baby crying. That's all. There are worse things - the dog having explosive diarrhea all over the living room carpet, the loss of a life... It was like a smack in the head to open up my eyes and appreciate the good in life because it's so precious and can change so fast.

I couldn't go to sleep last night. I stayed up until three thirty in the morning, afraid that when I closed my eyes I'd see the man in the road again, afraid that I'd hear the other people there calling his name. My left eye started to twitch from the stress of it all, and finally, I had to give in and go lie down. Of course, everyone knows that once you lie down in bed and try to get some rest, that's when your brain really launches itself into overdrive, and you end up not being able to stop thinking about things. I cried again - for that man, for those people, for myself, and for my son who I made fear me, if just for a second.

That loss of control on my part set in motion the sequence of events that led me to that intersection at that moment. If I hadn't gotten frustrated to the point of yelling at the baby, I wouldn't have felt the need to get out of the house. If I hadn't gotten out of the house, I would have seen the dog start to go in the living room and would have been able to get her to the tile so the mess wouldn't have been so bad to clean. If the mess hadn't been that bad, I would have been able to make dinner after all and would have had no need to ever leave the house last night. It feels like something bigger than me wanted me to see that I guess.

My husband looked online for any mention of the accident this morning. The paper didn't release the man's name, but said that he and the driver of the SUV were both taken to a hospital. It said that the police closed the intersection to conduct an investigation. I thanked God for answering my prayer and letting me be wrong about what I had seen.

But the lesson remains. Have patience. Remember that in the grand scheme of things, the stresses in your life probably aren't all that big of a deal. Hug your loved ones, and tell them that you love them and what they mean to you. I'm still shaken by what I saw, but with time, I'll be okay again.


Blogger kingsqueen said...

Awww...Sara, how awful! I know exactly what you mean about "brain in overdrive".
Maybe you were there for a purpose. I'm glad that you took something positive from it anyway, and I, too, pray that that man is going to be okay.
I hope that today has been better for you.

7:34 PM  
Blogger emily said...

Thank you so much for this post. I needed to hear this today...prioritizing my own worries and issues that in the "grand scheme" really aren't that bad. Thank you! I hope your day today is 100x better full of a smiling baby and lots of patience!

9:05 AM  
Blogger Susanne P. said...

i hope you are feeling better. i yelled at my kids just like you did, once, and it tore me apart. i think it happens to us all. don't beat yourself up.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Miss Anne said...

oh sweet pea, dont fret... i'm sure it happens to everyone..

our lives are so precious, and this was just a reminder... ty for writing this...


11:24 AM  
Blogger em said...

Oh man. I am sending a hug your way...what an awful day!!! I hope today was better!!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Samara Link said...

What a day! Any of those things independently would have been plenty. You must have felt so totally overwhelmed with them all happening consecutively like that. It looks like you've recovered based on your last couple of posts, which is great. You know, the whole thing with Sawyer -- I don't have any real mom thoughts to offer, except that he knows you love him and he is well taken care of. He'll be just fine! I hope you're not too hard on yourself for that. You're a great mom. It's not an easy job.

7:27 AM  

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