Saturday, October 15, 2011


Yesterday, I was driving across town with my two kids. We were en route to the great little fish market in our town to pick up salmon to cook for dinner. It was raining, but the sun was shining, so I told the kids to look for a rainbow. My older son quickly pointed out a fading double rainbow in the sky. I'm a sucker for rainbows, but this one was hard to see and I recall saying, "I'd better watch the road so we don't wreck!"

Moments later, we got on the interstate and came up over a hill. Suddenly, I saw brake lights in front of me and I realized that the car in front of me had abruptly slammed on their brakes to avoid something. I glanced ahead and saw that traffic in both lanes was completely stopped.

The roads were wet--my least favorite of all driving conditions since I've had two absolutely terrifying car wrecks in the rain (I talk about the other wreck here). I jammed on my brakes as hard as I could and we came mere inches from hitting the car in front of us. As soon as I hit the brakes, I instinctively hit my emergency flashers in an attempt to give the car behind me enough warning to avoid rear-ending us. They slammed to a stop, and I saw in my rear view mirror the car behind them veer off into the grass on the right to avoid missing them.

I heard loud squealing brakes and watched in horror as the cars right behind us in the lane next to us were not so lucky. Three cars veered off to the left to avoid crashing, lost control and went directly into oncoming traffic. According to a local news station, there were six cars involved, but amazingly only one person was transferred to the hospital (with unknown injuries).

It was scary to be right in front of that car wreck. Obviously, it was much better than being in the car wreck, but still, it was a very stark reminder of how truly fragile life is. A traumatic car accident can shatter your peace of mind forever. Having two traumatic car accidents can really do a number on your sanity. Watching helplessly last night as others had a traumatic car accident left me very, very shaken.

My Car--The Organ Donor--After my Car Accident
It could have been us. We could have slid into on-coming traffic. But it wasn't us. We were okay; we are okay. It's hard to feel so vulnerable. I remember how difficult it was for me to get back in a car after both of my car accidents, particularly the second one, because I had been the one driving the vehicle and I had been the one who had to get back in the driver's seat.

It is so easy to let what if fears consume you. What if I hydroplane. What if I wreck again. What if. I came across this beautiful story this morning about a woman who overcame her fear of driving again after her own traumatic car accident.

I don't want to live a life of fear. I don't want to live a life of what ifs. Being human means being vulnerable. You can either let that fear consume you or you can choose to live life to its fullest. The choice is up to each and every one of us.


  1. So very true Alyson. I often find myself moving back into living from a place of fear...which began during childhood...hard to break the worry habit, but the sense of freedom that comes with that is amazing. We have today. Embrace it, right?
    Your accidents would be enough to traumatize anyone for awhile. Goodness.
    Enjoyed your post Alyson...wisdom for us all.

  2. Wow what a moment, like watching your life flash before you in seconds. It's so true, it's so hard to be vulnerable but it's miraculous at the same time. It allows us to see and be grateful for so much more, all the little miracles around us each day that many miss or take for granted. At this point I think that makes you a miracle expert.