On December 30, 2009, just four months after we were married, my husband and I were involved in a car crash on the way home from spending Christmas with his family.
They say your life flashes before your eyes when you have a near-death experience. Well, I don’t remember that; in fact, I don’t remember much between when the car started sliding into the oncoming lane and when we came to a stop on the shoulder. I don’t even remember the other vehicle striking us. I remember the little things--tiny details that lodged themselves in my memory, like the open water bottle I held in my right hand; the lid, which had been in my left, was now nowhere to be seen. I remember the pain across my chest where the shoulder belt had held me back from being flung through the windshield. I remember thinking, “That wasn’t so bad; I just need to catch my breath, and I’ll be fine.”
Then I tried to put my water bottle down. I was surprised to find that the pain in my arm was much worse than the pain across my chest. I couldn’t move my right arm at all, except to wiggle my fingers. Carefully, I took the water bottle with my left hand and put it on the floor. Then I turned to my husband, Mark, in the driver’s seat.His seat was completely reclined and he was lying prone, halfway into the backseat. Because of the pain in my arm and shoulder, I couldn’t turn enough to see any of him above his waist.
“Mark?” I said, “are you okay?” There was no response. “Mark?!” My voice rose, getting panicky. “Answer me! Mark!” I reached over with my left hand and grabbed his leg, continuing to call his name. His leg moved, spasmed, like he was in pain. Relief washed over me like a warm shower. He was alive!