Tim came home from church today and said that there had been a big accident. He wasn't sure what happened, but the police were detouring traffic through a store parking lot. He just couldn't understand how an accident would be so large that it shut down four lanes of traffic, but it did.
Tonight on facebook, there was a quiet post. A man driving a minivan was hit by a truck pulling a trailer this morning, right where Tim had been. The man's 8 year old daughter had been lifeflighted to Buffalo.
Once there, his daughter was whisked into surgery for a severe head injuries. He gave a lot of details and it sounded very gruesome. 70 stitches. Her skull being held together by plates. It was quite a terrifying ordeal for him and his wife as they waited for the surgery to be done, and to find out the extent of the brain damage.
He updated to say that miraculously, the part of the brain affected was responsible for taste and smell, that otherwise her brain function seemed normal. When she woke up, they were both overjoyed to hear her speaking coherently, and acting just like her normal self, just groggy from the anaethesia.
As he watched his daughter sleeping in the hospital room, filled with gratitude and relief, he found that he could not get the truck driver's anguish out of his mind.
He made a facebook post:
'There was a big accident @62 and Jackson run. A truck with a trailer hit a brown Honda Odyssey. A little girl was sent to Buffalo NY helicopter.
I was driving the van. The little girl is my daughter. I'm looking to reach out to the man driving the truck. The poor man felt horrible, and I want to assure him that she's doing really well and that it looks like she is going to be okay. She survived. Lots of stitches. Probably a scar, but she'll live. Everything else is details. We feel very blessed.
All I know is that he's Jehovah's Witness, it was a couple around 55-65 years, NY plates. I want to exend some comfort and to let him know that there are no hard feelings. Accidents happen. We're all human.
If you know this man, please message me privately. I'd like to give him my phone number."
That's pretty powerful, isn't it? Made me feel much better about humanity.
It made my own worries seem kind of inconsequential, but I've been struggling for a while, and today, reality came along and smacked me along side the head. I pondered the situation as I scrubbed grout at the rental. It's been building for some time and I could see my own part in it. I can get a lot of scrubbing done while I'm doing my soul searching.
By the time that Tim ambled in. I knew what I wanted to say, and I said it. I didn't raise my voice. I owned my part in it. I also made it clear that he needed to own his part of it.
He doesn't really have much to say. He's not a talker, and that makes things difficult. After I said my piece I went back to scrubbing.
Finally, in a quiet voice, he admitted that I was right.
I looked at him, knowing full well that's all I was going to get out of him. I said, "You know, you expect everyone else to address their problems. You're pretty vocal about personal responsibility. Why are you exempt from that?"
I scrubbed some more.
He left to do some work over at the renovation.
Marriage is two imperfect people. It just bothers me a lot sometimes that after 25 years, we still stumble.
Did you ever just run into a random person that changes the whole complexion of your day? That happened today. I got to talking to a woman over some lawn furniture set out at the curb, and it was the most fascinating conversation. She and her husband winter in one place and summer here, so I didn't know her, But in an amazingly short period of time, we knew an awful lot about each other. We had people in common. questions asked and answers given, and 'huh!' and so on and so forth. We exchanged phone numbers and e-mails and she said, "You're extremely intelligent. I can tell that about you. You are a good person. I can tell that too."
A random meeting, random words, but boy, today they felt like a blessing. Two strangers hugged on the curb and I headed to the car.
I went back to continue working. Tim came back, and said, a little uncertainly, "Your sister wants to know if we want to come for supper. She's making sloppy joes."
I did want to go. I just needed conversation. I just wanted to talk.
It was a nice supper. The words flowed, and there was plenty of laughter. Her son and his wife and grandson were there too. He is retiring from the Army and they are in the process of moving to the farm up the road that they bought a few years back so it was nice to be a part of that excitement too.
William was due back and we could only stay a couple hours. The car ride home was still quiet, but it seemed a lot easier to bear the silence with the echoes of laughter and talk still fresh in my ears. .