On Thursday, I was reminded that I am blessed. So very, incredibly blessed. Blessed with my husband, blessed with my children, blessed with those they married, and blessed, at least as important as all of them, blessed by God.
He sped through the red light. I never even saw him. The first impression made to my brain was the impact and the loud crashing noise on the right side of the car (passenger side). Immediately, there was the sensation of moving sideways, a direction that cars don't travel. Another two loud sounds - one was a second impact on the left side of the car, the other was the sound of airbags popping open. I can't honestly tell you which came first and which was second.
The car came to a full stop and I knew that I was fine. Really fine. I did what my trained MADA (Magen David Adom - ambulance volunteers) told me you aren't supposed to do. I got out of the car. The airbags release dust/smoke whatever into the car (CO2 if you want to get technical). I thought in those first seconds that maybe it was smoke.
When I got out, the first thing I saw was the damage that the pole (or poles) had done to the left side of my car. The car was just over 2 months old and in perfect condition. The back seat still had the plastic on it.
More than that, the car did what it was supposed to do - it crumbled with the impact...and protected the driver. But more than the car, God was there. No, I'm not claiming to have seen Him or spoken to Him - but look at the miracle that happened. My car was hit on both sides - three of the four doors were badly damaged - the only door that was left without a scratch was my door - the driver's door. I was able to open the door completely and easily.
The back seat doors on both sides were completely destroyed. I walked away...so easily, so well.
People came over to me and asked if I was okay. They told me to sit down; they offered me water. Others went to check on the other driver. This was not a case of people not getting involved - I was surrounded by caring people focusing on me.
In those seconds, they told me they had seen the other driver run the light...and ram into my car. For the most part, all I wanted was my husband next to me. I tried calling him but he was already in the meeting where I had dropped him off 20 minutes before. He didn't answer. I think I cried a little bit - mostly from being shaky and realizing how serious a crash it had been.
A man came up and handed me his card and told me he'd seen everything. I looked at the card he handed to me and saw he worked at the same company where Lazer was having his meeting. I asked him to call the person at the company and gave him his name.
I explained my husband was meeting the man there. I guess I didn't explain it carefully enough. One could say this was a coincidence...but it was already the middle of the day...not so early that it would be natural that someone would be arriving for work.
The man named Michael called the company and spoke to Eyal, the man Lazer was meeting with. But the message Michael gave to Eyal was that HIS wife was in an accident with the blue car. So Eyal told Lazer that his wife had been hurt and went rushing off to see her. On his way, he realized that they don't own a blue car.
He got there, saw me, asked how I was and then offered to get Lazer. I went to the hospital, on the advice of the ambulance team, the police, the witnesses, etc. When I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, one of the ambulance volunteers said, "come, let me show you the other side of the car."
I was taken to Rambam Hospital and though it took 10 hours to leave, they were thorough and professional and spared no test they thought was necessary to do. I have bruises galore. I'm sore all over. I feel totally, amazingly, completely lucky. I'm black and blue along the line where the seat belt held me so that I didn't crash into the windshield. My ribs ache when I laugh or cough or breathe too deeply. Who cares? I don't. I am so in love with my life and so incredibly thankful to be alive and well.
My kids were amazing - every single one of them. I could list all that they did but I'd rather just say they were so there for me. I couldn't reach Lazer, so I called Shmulik. Not only did he call Lazer, but he thought to call Amira. She and Haim were in the north, having taken a short vacation. They were on their way home - a short distance from where the accident happened and showed up quickly at the hospital shortly after I got there.
More amazing details - they had rented a car - a tiny, tiny car...and were upgraded to a Toyota Corolla. We had no car but they stayed for the 10 hours it took to finish all the tests and then drove us home in the comfort of a bigger car.
The next day - all the kids joined in to help us prepare for Shabbat. Shmulik's wife's parents sent us a large pot of delicious rice - the kind made from a family recipe that is unbelievably tasty). Lauren and Elie cooked and came over with little Michali; Amira and Haim came for Shabbat with Yosef. It was very special. I didn't get to see Naama, but she called and we spoke on the phone. Davidi helped peel and grate and move; Aliza kept telling me to go rest and took over baking all the challah loaves I shaped in gratitude and a prayer that the three kidnapped boys would come home. Chaim came to visit; Mera called to see how I was and if I needed anything. Only after Shabbat did I once again open Facebook to see that friends had offered to bring me food and dozens expressed their concern.
You can spend your life thinking of what could have been...if that pole had hit the driver's door instead of the back seat door, if Lazer had been in the car. If the driver had hit me a second earlier, he might have crashed into the front of the car and not the side. There could have been another car to my left, involving more people. On and on it goes; more than once I could see that my children were thinking of the "what could have beens".
But what fills my mind more than the "what could have been" is the what was and what is. What was, was an incredible gift, a blessing. A blessing of life but also a blessing of love.
Before we even left the hospital, Lazer called the Mitsubishi dealer and told them what happened and ordered the same car, same color. I loved that blue color. Ironically, on the way to our meetings in the north, we had discussed the car...and there we were, a few hours later - the car was totally destroyed and I don't think either one of us cared that much.
Thank you to God, who watched over me, protected me, and delivered me
back to my family. There are no words of gratitude that I could write
that would express my eternal thanks for all He has given to me, done
for me, blessed me with.
And, thank you to my family - with more love and thanks than I could possibly write. To my wonderful husband...for the past 30 amazing years and, God willing, to the next 30 and beyond. To my children - no matter where life takes you, may you always feel as blessed as I do at this moment.
And thank you to my friends, near and far, for sending love and support, writing, calling, visiting.
Thank you to Eyal, who helped us so much and to the staff of Rambam Medical Center (to Debbie and Dr. Blazer...just wow, thank you). And thank you to the MADA volunteers and the police - professional, caring, efficient.
And thank you to the witnesses who came forward, the people who cared enough to worry over me until the professionals came.
And finally, thank you to Mitsubishi. Before and after buying the car, I was concerned that the Attrage couldn't hold up in a crash. It gives great gas mileage; it's beautiful inside and out. It is affordable and has really cool things (multimedia center, reverse camera, automatic lights and automatic windshield wiper operation) and all of that...but most of all, it did what it was supposed to do - it took the impact of a major crash caused by a heavy Volkswagen van. I don't know how fast that guy was going, but he had to have been flying to send my car spinning off that way...and through it all, The Mitsubishi Attrage protected me well.
What could have been wasn't and what was, was the gift of returning me back to my life and family. I am, today, truly blessed.