We had a terrible crisis last winter. It could have been so much worse.
It was a road incident that was a hair’s breadth away from being an awful fatality that we’d live with forever, due to the irresponsible behaviour of a drunk.
He staggered oblivious out into the main road in front of our car.
In the dark and driving rain, with black clothing and oncoming lights on a rural road that was not lit, there was no chance of spotting him beforehand. Although well within the speed limit we weren’t going slowly. Charley was driving. He glanced off the side of the car with a sickening thwack which made me think we’d killed someone. Thankfully not – he was hardly hurt, too drunk to even know what had happened, didn’t even go to hospital. We were scarred with the trauma of it for months – I can only just speak of it now without shaking.
Thankfully these incidences don’t happen often. When they do, the sameness of life I might have been bored with seconds before, becomes incredibly sweet.
When the shock and the anger at the perpetrator of it, who walked away unmoved, wore off I was left with the replay of the awful event that could have marred our young driver’s life for the rest of it should chance have swung the other way. It took us both a long time to settle back down to calm.
We all develop strategies over time to even out the pitch and toss of life. And to have strategies to hand is an enormously helpful skill to pass on to our youngsters. However we deal with things will be the way they deal with things. If we react with screams and drama it will not help. We have to be strong, pragmatic and move on forward with the practicalities as best we can. (Even if we crumple later).
And I also guess that these experiences are a reminder to take note, during those times of equilibrium, of what we value about life, even the boring bits, instead of always letting them slip insignificantly by.