At point of impact, nothing and I mean NOTHING had “passed before my eyes” – no flashing of childhood images, no distorted views of hopes that had been dashed or dreams that had failed to materialise – nothing. Ziltch. Nil. Nada. The only thing before my eyes were marshmallows which turned out to be the trillion and one airbags that had slammed into all parts of my body to cushion the blow. So perhaps airbags were the antidote to my life flashing before my eyes. Maybe.
Just like disjointed thoughts that hurtle through a bereaved mind after being told that ‘I’m sorry, there was nothing we could do,’ I remember sitting in the car, squashed by all these fluffy things and thinking ‘Great. How will I get to Sainsbury’s now?’ - even before I’d checked for loose teeth, ignoring the blood on my face. Classic disbelief that it’s happened at all and perverse irritation that now life won’t go on quite the same. It will be different, and all over the place until ‘life’ once again settles into another routine.
And the flashbacks. They started immediately. I had no other thought than of the seconds before, during, after impact – on the way to hospital in the ambulance I didn’t even know where I was going. Blinded by anything other than the sight of the car aiming directly at me and then the violent slam followed by white. Nothing happened between each flashback – they were on a masochistic continuous loop. I didn't want to keep seeing the final moments but I was compelled to relive them.
Paperwork, followed by phone calls followed by paperwork followed by visitors followed by phone calls and more paperwork. So reminiscent of ‘tidying up’ following a death. So much to sort out. So much to do – and then a visit to the deceased – hunk of metal.
Denial. I don’t remember it being like this. How did I get out of it? What happened? Why couldn’t something have been done to avoid this? Where will it go? What will happen now? No answers.
And then the pain. I actually started to believe I wouldn’t get any. I was fine. Nothing broken - I’d been checked out, had all sorts of monitors stuck to my body and been asked where it hurt. Nowhere. I should have been asked 24 hours later. And then again another 3, 4 days later.
It’s not until everything’s finally sorted out - that no more can be done - the "funeral"’s over and you’ve had your fill of sympathy and you’ve listened to everyone telling you how much worse it ‘could’ have been and that luck was on your side, that the shock and the anger starts and the tears just seem like they’ll never end. Because there's nothing more you can sensibly "do" apart from wait for the pain to stop and try and move about normally.
And then as the pains start to ease slowly, you notice that life goes on around you and that you’re actually just another cog in the great wheel of eternity and that when you’re ready you just have to jump back in and get on with it. No spiritual direction required. Just a belief and a knowledge that this has happened. You’ve dealt with it – move on.
Of course without the support and constant love and encouragement from those around me, I could very probably have flaked and ended up never driving again. As it is, I am now incredibly aware of young lads behind wheels I’m convinced they have no right to be steering. And I tense at any approaching car but I know that just like the bruises, this fear will also fade.
And just to prove that life does, indeed go on - I've another agent interested in 'Double History' and I wrote a staggering 7,900 words yesterday to make sure it's the best it can possibly be.
Accident? Pah - I flick a finger in the face of adversity, me! Or do I rise above it? I don't know - I'm only a spectator who happens to get wordy about stuff.
*sighs out deeply*