We were on our way to L's soccer practice yesterday when traffic came to a stop on the two lane road which leads to the field. It's a pretty windy road and in parts there aren't actually any center lines. This is a horse farm area and the initial intention of the road wasn't meant for tons of soccer moms dropping their kids off at our club's soccer facility, or what has become a cut through for a bordering neighborhood to avoid a major congestion area.
First, my neighbor friend called and let me know that the road was blocked. She said she wasn't sure what was going on but saw two ambulances so we assumed it was an accident. She also noted that she saw a little girl crying on the side of the road.
A little girl. I knew my sister was probably just ahead of me bringing my niece to practice. My thoughts immediately jumped to "maybe it was them." I quickly called her. She answered and let me know that she was already turned around and was working on a detour to get to the field. I explained why I called. She totally understand why I went there in my mind.
Our car finally got to the part where the police had blocked the road with cones and we were able to turn around. I said a silent prayer of thanks that due to the nature of the road, and where they had stopped traffic, we didn't have a view of the accident.
40 minutes later, after we had navigated ourselves to the fields through back roads, my levels of anxiety has dissipated, and I pushed the possible accident to the back of my mind.
When I got home hours later after M's high school scrimmage, I mentioned to K what had happened and absentmindedly told him that L's coach wasn't there which made for a crazy night for the kids with other coaches filling in. K immediately said, "Maybe it was coach C in the accident? Why else would he not be at practice?" I didn't want it to be true despite his logic. "Somebody would have known if it was him. Maybe he had something else going on. Maybe it wasn't an accident on the road at all but was something at one of the farms." I didn't want it to be true and convinced myself it wasn't. L loves his coach and we really like him too. His Scottish sense of humor, combined with his patience with the boys has been great. He and I have become friends over the last couple years and as a person I really like him.
This morning the email came telling us Coach C was in the accident. A woman going in the opposite direction wasn't paying attention and was speeding and smashed directly into his car on the driver's side.
Thank goodness he is okay. Bruised, cut up, burned from the side air bag, and a bad headache. No broken bones or internal injuries and the CT scan was clear for any brain injury.
I immediately thought of how I was going to tell the kids, especially L. When he and D got home from school, I first told him that everything was ok and Coach C was fine but that he was in the car accident from the day before and wouldn't be there tonight. The initial look on his face was fear. Raw fear. Then he repeated, "But he's okay...can we not talk about it?" D repeated the same assurances and went up to his room where I found him a few minutes later on his bed rubbing the satin portion of Louis (his lovey) which is something he does when he's nervous. I asked him if everything was ok and said, "Fine, leave me alone."
When I told A he wanted to see the pictures. He wanted details. He said, "Wow mom, he's lucky...and we know that sometimes you don't get lucky." Yeah, buddy we know all about that.
M started talking a mile a minute wanting to know what happened. I kept it simple saying he was okay and like L she repeated me several times and then changed the subject. I thought about how rough driver's ed is going to be for her this year.
Here's the thing. I am slowly learning to accept that Jeanne and Mike aren't coming back. And while I don't go to the same panic/anxiety levels when I think about the accident the multiple times a day like I used to (thanks to some good therapy work), car accidents are still a major trigger for me and our entire family. All the kids have been a bit off tonight. L struggled through practice and was almost in tears declaring "I was awful tonight!!!" I knew why those tears were really building and in hindsight I should have just kept him home.
My day has been peppered with thoughts of their accident. How did it happen? Why didn't Mike keep control of the car? How did the other driver lose control? Was she texting? Did they know what was happening? Why? Why? Why?
It's been almost 6 years. We may all be getting closer to acceptance, but really, some things just don't go away.