Near-death drama

It has been 12 years since the day I almost died.

I seldom reflect upon it anymore, nor have I really written about it. Well, except for when I poured out my soul for an essay contest in college, only to win an honorable mention. I suspect I would have taken first if I’d have actually died. Nothing like tales from the crypt….

Memories of my accident came back to haunt me in consuming flashes last week on our way home from a trip. A semi-truck did not see our SUV and changed into our lane. I do not want to think what would have happened if my husband had not been quick to react. Shaking, I looked over to the right-hand side of the car at my sweet boy who would have received the brunt of the impact. Once again, I was reminded of what a simple blessing it is to be alive.

It was March 1996 and my friend Heidi and I planned to ski at Park City Mountain Resort. I was the Executive Director of PR for our student government and had been heavily promoting this student-sanctioned ski day. And so what better way to publicize it than to skip school and do it?

I had intended to clean out my car but didn’t have time so we threw our skis in the backseat and grabbed some fast food instead. We were driving on the I-15 gabbing away when we encountered a slow-moving semi truck in the middle lane. The left-hand lane was blocked, so without hesitation I moved to pass the semi in the right lane.

That was when it happened.

Without seeing us, the semi changed into my lane, sending us reeling across the three lanes of traffic into the median. We bounced off it in a deadly pinball game, only to land underneath the back tires of the truck. It proceeded to run over the backseat of my car and spew us back out onto the median.

This is the account the witnesses gave. My experience was very different. I felt the initial impact and knew we were spinning. But then there was light. It wasn’t something that I saw but rather, it was something that penetrated me to my core. I lived an eternity in those few seconds that I could never even try to describe other than to say I have never felt so divinely protected.

When we finally stopped, there was a long pause as we sat in stunned silence. I chose to break it.

“Heidi, I don’t think we’re going skiing today.” Hilarity ensued. We surveyed the damage. The semi’s tire tracks were merely three inches from my seat, completely destroying the back of the car where our skis were located.

“I’m sure glad I didn’t clean my car today.” More laughter.

Within moments, a trauma nurse and police officer were on the scene. “These girls are delirious,” they prescribed.

I didn’t have heart to tell him we were always like that.

Eventually, they had to call in the jaws of life to get us out. We were rushed to the hospital and were miraculously given a clean bill of health.

Well, minus some inevitable bruises and whiplash. The next day when I was limping around my apartment, someone asked how I was doing.

I looked pointedly at them before blithely replying, “I feel like I’ve been run over by a semi.”

Duh. :-)

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