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Thursday, March 12, 2009

The What If Moment that changed my life:

My Way older sister, Rambler has a think about it Thursdays post and her big question is this:
Tell me about your What If moment....

Pull up a Chair and get comfortable, because this is a long one, but well worth the on:

I think my what ifs are that I am so lucky and appreciative for what I have and where I am in my life, it was so close to have been taken away from me.

Chas and I decided to go camping for a week in Yosemite. I was anticipating the trip before hand and had that "feeling" the night before. It lead me to put together a first-aid kit. I had one of those large bottles of advil and a lot of gauze...we had a close call just an hour into our drive there when we witnessed an accident in front of us and after we drove away from it, realizing "that could have been us that the car drove into" (a car had driven onto the highway crossing traffic without stopping or slowing down and hit the truck directly in front of us.) I said to Chas, if i get hit by a car this weekend, i am downing 10 Advil......foreshadowing.
We had our camping trip and were on the last of the 5 day trip. We drove through Tenaya Lake as part of our last day and on our way home to East Bay of San Fransisco. We Parked the car off the road, just after a big bend. There was enough room to do so safely, and in fact it was a sort of Parking "norm". We walked down the hillside to get close to the lake edge and I suddenly realized I hadn't taken one picture of Chas and I during the entire trip (I was a Photography student, so yes, it was a big deal). I ran up to the car to grab the tri-pod and the camera. I was on the drivers side back seat door leaning into the car and pulling at the tri pod. It got stuck on something from the other side of the car.....I pulled and pulled the tripod to no avail (as though someone was pulling on it from the other side.) I went around the car and began to remove the camping gear from the car and place it on the roof. This included pillows and bags. finally the tripod "let-go", just as it did, there was a very loud screeching sound, a big bang, and I don't quite remember all of the in between... I am sure it was but a millisecond.

A women traveling to the United States from Amsterdam was on a journey through the US National Parks and was driving all of it! She had made it through to Yosemite, and fell asleep at the wheel while making the turn on the big bend in the road. She ended up driving into our parked vehicle at around 45 miles per hour on a 35 mph stretch of road. Her Vehicle hit our Car and ricocheted off it continuing about 50 yds away into a tree stump, her airbag already deployed from the first impact. Our vehicle had swung into me in such a way that it picked me up "gently" lifted me over the open car door and threw me down the cliff side toward Tenaya Lake. I landed in three locations, all soft patches of dirt (in a 90% Granite Environment) rolled to a final stop with the pillows I had placed on the roof of the car softening my final landing against a Tree and a Granite Rock that stopped me from continuing into the Lake, and to certainly a more serious life and death situation.

Chas watched the whole thing happen with in 5 feet of the scene, he had been walking up from behind the car to help me.....he said he thought I was dead, and that I flew like a rag-doll.

Here is the Big What if:
Had my Tripod not been stuck, and I hadn't walked around to the other side, I would have been crushed (fatally) between the two vehicles, instead of being thrown.

Had I missed the soft patches (small as they were) and instead hit the granite rock(yes, one really big rock) I certainly would have been injured more seriously.

Had the pillows not been at my final landing, I would have felt more impact against the Tree and the Granite Rock.

Had the Granite Rock and the Tree not been there, I would have fallen into the ice cold lake below....where there were some nice pointy rocks to break my fall. 3 feet to the left or right, and I would have probably fallen in.

Here is the Beautiful Lake:

When Chas jumped down the hillside to my side I was facing the opposite direction from which I stood at the car. I was dazed and in shock. I remember watching the other car hit the tree and I remember telling Chas to go and help the other motorist, I told him I was going to be fine, but that the other person may need more help.

There is still a shared Big what if between me and the German Woman:
Chas had walked 2 miles to a "nearby" payphone to call for help. they dispatched a Park Ranger who arrived with in the hour. When the Park Ranger arrived we were sitting with the other motorist, and I was hugging her, telling her it was Okay. I had downed 10 advil, and was helping her with cleaning her wounds. We were holding hands, because she was shaking so much. The Ranger came over to us and immediately became angry that we were all seated together and were conversing, sharing black cherry soda's. He wanted to know who had been "hit" and I raised my hand. He pulled me away from the German women and asked why I would sit with her. I told him I was glad we had all survived, I also knew she did not do this "purposefully" and when I saw her face, knew we could not fight over "this". "Just Be Thankful for our Lives" and try to make the best of it all. I told her she needn't worry about the cars, the insurance companies would take care of that (Chas's car was only 2 months old, if even). The Ranger said she was lucky to have had this experience with people so understanding and levelheaded. He was really glad we were alive......Here is the really big What IF: One week prior there was an accident in the EXACT same spot and had an almost exact replica to ours, women next to car that is hit is thrown into Lake, and dies. The driver of the car that caused the accident hits a tree and is in critical care. I had survived. The tree that the other vehicle hit had been removed and reduced to a stump. This stump is what the other driver hit, and her impact was based on the car being hit in the undercarriage and stopped before impacting against the tree......this also saved her.

I had decided to wear this Guardian Angel Pin that week and that day....there was that "feeling". I hadn't worn it in two years. This was the Guardian Angel Pin given to me by my Aunt and Uncle who had lost their Son Zachary soon after he was born. It was a small simple pin. I truly felt that there was something carrying me gently through that day, placing me softly on the ground throwing the pillows to my final destination "holding back the force of things". I had no injuries except for a strain to my left wrist where I tried to catch myself on the fall down and a couple of scrapes on my legs from the final roll. In fact the Women from Germany had been more injured from the force of the seatbelt and the air bag. She had no one to help her, no one she knew to call.......but then a car drove by that Chas had flagged down to ask for some assistance, and it turned out to be friends of this woman also visiting from Amsterdam. they were able to stay with her. We still had a several hours drive from the lake to the Valley floor, where they had the First Aid Stations, Car Tows, etc. There was only one car tow and the ranger gave it to us first. The other women would have to wait, but she had friends there to sit with her. We had a friend who had left our campsite that last evening and he called us when we got to the Valley Floor to see if we were still nearby, because he was still in the area........and he lived near us! So he came back for us and took us home.

Do you have any What if Moments, that changed your life?



The Rambler said...

Anti~ I firmly believe Dad was there. Straight up, believe it. This story ALWAYS makes me cry. I am so thankful your here today. :)

Dammit, I'm crying again. I need a tissue!

(Sticking tongue out at you)


Martha said...

Please pass the tissues, Rambler. I'm so glad you are with us today, the world and my life with you in it is a ray of sunshine.
I will blog about mine, and let you know when I post it. Thanks, ((Hugs))

Janna Bee said...

Wow. Just... wow. What an amazing story. You are an amazing person. I'm glad everything turned out okay.

Femin Susan said...

the picture looks amazing story...i loved it..

Lady with a View said...

Gosh anti...that is an incredible story. Thanks for taking the time to share it - I love reading things like this - I find them very inspirational. You are suppose to be here girlfriend - no doubt about it!

Me said...

Wow! What does one say to that? What an amazing story! I am glad you and all involved that day are okay! I truly believe things happen for a reason.....

Jill (Sneaky Momma) said...

What an incredible story! I sincerely believe that there are factors that are involved in stories like yours that we cannot see. Amazing.

The Rambler said...

By the way...I'm not WAY older....brat!


Penz said...

That is crazy and amazing. You were being cared for big time love. For me, my big what if would be, what if I didn't get pregnant with my son at 15. Where would I be, the answer to that is probobly dead or in jail. I was living a rough life, in the worst part of town, doing many things that I shouldn't have. God saw my heart and he gave me a reason to stop it all and I did, when I found out, at that moment, I became a mother, a woman, and a better person. I thank him everyday for giving me my son. Now he is 13, but he is living right, not how I was at 13.

Your story makes me think of all the things that could happen to us in our lives, but that the things that we take with us most are the things that make us appreciate what life is about. Thanks love and have a great weekend.

Martha said...

I posted my What If story, thanks for inspiring me.

Patty said...

Wow, I wondered over here from another blog and found this amazing story. What a miracle that your alive. I am glad you are, now I can bookmark your blog and visit again!