Tuesday, October 7, 2014. This post is for me. Someone reminded me recently that it is a spiritual truth that some things that can be said are better left unsaid, and that some things that have been said would have been better left unsaid. As I mentioned in the post prior to this one
I struggle with what’s what regarding this “story.”
I told my daughter when I was able to first speak to her after she had sent the text recorded in the previous post that it’s natural to relive traumas, certainly when hardly any time has passed in between. Her experience was including thoughts not only about what had happened — and it took some hours before it was really clear to anyone what that had actually been after police interviews with all witnesses — but was also including a large array of WHAT IF scenarios in her mind.
I assured my daughter that because traumas have so much to teach us about what we need to learn and know to PREVENT them from happening again much information is contained in EVERY kind of reaction people have during and after a trauma.
My first reaction to reading my daughter’s text message was to develop a serious case of hives. I am writing now because in these ensuing days and nights my hives show no sign of leaving. In fact, within my massively trauma-sensitized body my hives are becoming quite interestingly sophisticated.
The spots come and go in places. Their itch comes and goes, as well. But not arbitrarily, it seems.
I found myself thinking about the music-sound communicating space ship in the movie years back, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My body is using its hive communication system to remove from me any illusion that I am ever really free of fear (anxiety). As the days pass, depending upon what is specifically calling my attention in my life, certain patterns of these hives erupt in itches in different places. Sometimes just on my ankles and feet. Sometimes just the top of my head. Sometimes only the back of one leg, or the back of the other leg.
I have decided that it’s best for me to fine-tune my attention so that I can detect exactly what kind of stressor causes which “section” of me to become aggravated. In this process I have also decided to let myself see what I have to say about this whole situation. This will not become clear to me if I don’t put SOMETHING into words.
I came within at the farthest reach 60 seconds of losing my precious daughter to death. My grandsons came that close to losing their mother. If her car had arrived at this spot of hell first it would have been she and her driver that hit that moose and who would be dead. That’s something to react to all by itself. It is not something I can take lightly. Too close. A miracle. Grateful. Beyond words.
The first vehicle to arrive as the huge bull moose stepped onto the pavement of that dark highway was a semi-truck heading west. When he saw the moose as he traveled 65 mph he instantly changed lanes. Nobody was in sight in the oncoming east-bound lane. The moose’s antler hit and sheered off the semi’s side-view mirror. (Check a semi. That was one TALL moose. The driver in talking to police later felt terrible that he did not just hit the moose dead-on, thus sparing all that followed. The police assured him that NOBODY would NOT react to spare the moose by instinct.)
The truck driver then slowed and parked on the shoulder of the east lane at least 100′ ahead of where the moose had been, got out, and witnessed the horror of what was happening behind him. It was later determined that the neck of the moose had snapped at hitting the mirror, dropping the beast a little over the center line but mostly in the west-bound lane. A car directly behind the semi could not see the hulk of the moose carcass lying like a massive wall in his lane in time to do anything but hit it at full speed.
This car flipped end over end over end over end. Three more cars, all of them also traveling at full speed without time to stop or determine course except by instantaneous instinct, came up to the site of the crash and then drove through it. My daughter and her driver Lori* were in the third car.
Lori is in her mid-20s, a North Dakota farm girl whose father made a determined point to teach his daughter to drive as safely as possible under any possible condition. He made sure she knew how to drive through raging blizzards, storms of all kinds. And this horrific “storm” this night found her instant reaction taking the path to the right of the wreck at nearly full speed without braking to send her car spinning out-of-control as she followed two cars ahead of her over scattered parts of the engine block, the front bumper, and every other strewn part of the smashed-off front end of the first car. (It turned out there was only an opening narrow enough for these cars to whiz around the main wreck without hitting the dead moose thrown to the right shoulder.)
The only warning in the pitch blackness that appeared prior to being “on the scene” was a short section of shattered glass on the pavement.
These three cars pulled off onto the shoulder 100+ feet ahead. Lori’s car lost its oil pan and was shaking badly by the time she stopped it.
Speeding through the darkness behind them came another semi and two other cars. It was only determined by police inquiries later that these last vehicles, arriving on the scene without time to stop or even slow, ran over and killed the driver of the car that hit the moose. Witnesses had seen the man standing there at his smashed car. He did live through that crash. How he could have survived that terrible tumbling, with no front end left of his car is completely beyond me (who knows nothing). If he was cognizant at all he must have been desperately screaming for his children.
The 2nd semi coming along behind passed to the left of the wreck. The two cars following him hit the wreck head-on. They totaled their cars but were not injured. Some one of these drivers did run over and kill the first car’s driver, a very difficult thing to live with, no doubt. It was massively important to my daughter and to her driver to hear a mechanic report Tuesday afternoon that there was no blood anywhere on or under their vehicle. The moose had been pushed off of the lane onto the shoulder by the car who smashed into it that no other car hit it. Any blood found on anyone else’s vehicle would have been there from running over the man.
My daughter was the one to call 911. She could not begin to see anything clearly at this point so could only report that “something really terrible is happening out here on Highway 2…..” The EMT arrival time was faster than anyone could believe. It was only once they began walking the scene that a baby was heard crying somewhere down in the road’s ditch.
The man driving the first car and his children were Native American from Spirit Lake. When the media reports that none of them were wearing seat belts and that the children were thrown from the car a dark smudge can be left where it does not need to be. It is often against the lifeways of Native people to use those constraints.
Many people seem to have a very narrow range of vision about such things. They do not want to accept the truth, which is never reported by the press, that in cases like this one if the children had not been thrown into the safety of the far edge of the ditch they would have been killed. If not by the initial impact and car’s rolling then by the impact of the two vehicles that then hit the rear end of that car.
As it was, there were three children, ages 3, 5 and 10. The younger children were completely uninjured while the older one suffered a broken leg.
Who is to say what fate or destiny is? Do people have, as many claim, “a time to die?” What is luck, serendipity, chance, divine intervention? Are there guardian spirits and helping angels?
This man was planning to attend the same conference on Tuesday that my daughter was going to. His brother was to chair the event. And did, in spite of everything that had happened. The children were in full custody of their father without a mother healthy enough to care for them. Their lives had already been hard, and now their father has been taken from them.
Hopefully they were spared any knowledge of what took place at that wreck. Hopefully they heard and saw nothing, as fast and brutally as everything took place. Hopefully some loving, healthy family member will take all three of these children. Raise them. Heal them. Help them into good lives ahead — no matter what.
If you find it in your heart, pray for them.
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