It is mid-March, I am pale from never leaving the confines of my home and cabin fever has taken its toll on me. Grocery shopping needs to be done, my husband suggests I accompany him and see how I feel while riding in the front seat. Then we will be able to gauge how often I can make trips from home. It is certainly a hassle to transport me because I am of no help getting into and out of our truck, but my man never complains.
As we head to Cuba, Missouri, just twelve minutes from our home, my heart clenches as my husband does not turn left towards the interstate, instead continuing to drive on the outer road, knowing we will drive the exact route of our collision.
I have never questioned him about this decision, although I do wonder if this was an oversight or his way of urging me to overcome this obstacle.
Passing the turn off, I mentioned that I was becoming nervous due to the direction we were traveling. Instinctively, he reached for my hand, holding, caressing my clammy skin the entire drive. Not being clear on exactly where our desecrated pile of metal landed, Greg softly said, “Right here.”
My eyes moved to the right side of the road, the scene looking different in the daylight as our wreck happened under the cloak of darkness. Railroad tracks, pine trees, pain. Three vague memories create an ache deep within my heart. That night, the impact, our girls quivering voices brings a heaviness to my broken soul. Throwing me into a silent, lonely place filled with immense heavy sadness. Each time pained thoughts of this chaos chisel through my protective wall, it overwhelms me with these emotions and I wonder how long it will take my spirit to heal.Quietly, slowly bringing in long, deep breaths as we pass the spot in mere seconds, my body releases as if it broke from a fever. Reaching our destination, I release my grip on Greg’s hand, rip my jacket off due to the profuse sweating happening underneath and announce, “We made it.” Just a week later we again headed to Cuba, but this time night has fallen. We were attending a fundraiser my family had organized for us.
Before I knew what was happening, I was staring into a huge set of white head lights passing by us. Mesmerized by their intensity, my eyes becoming huge, my breathing stopped, reliving the impact at that exact moment. As the truck was equal distance to ours, my head jerked hard to my right just as it did when we were hit that frigid evening. Quickly realizing I was staring out my own window, we were not actually colliding and that this was just a flashback, I forced my heartbeat to slow.
Eyes tightly squeezed shut, softly I urged, “Greg, I need to travel more at night, to get over these feelings that I have. I did not realize I still have so much anxiety about traveling in the dark.”
Although this is my first expedition into the night, it would not be my last flashback under these circumstances. If I conquered this episode of apprehension and survived to tell it, surely I could conquer the ones to come.
My largest challenge is just that, challenging myself too hard, too early.