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Topic: Failure (03/01/04)
TITLE: One Moment
By Jean Bremer
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“Bye, Mom! I’ll be careful and I promise to watch my speed and pay attention to the other drivers.” I told my mother as she got out of the car.
Freedom! There is just nothing like the feeling of feeling free. I can do this myself. No one else is in the car with me. The radio is on my favorite station, loud enough that it can be heard to kingdom come. The air is wafting through the open window gently blowing my hair around. All is well! I feel good! I feel pretty! I feel free!
Isn’t that Paula over there? Beep! Beep! I switch lanes and pull over to the sidewalk.
“Hey! Want to go for a ride? I just got my license and am on my way to the mall.”
“I’d love to, but I can’t.” Paula replied. “My mom is in the dentist getting her tooth pulled and will be done shortly. I have to drive her home.”
“O.K., I’ll see you later.” I said as I look over my shoulder to see if I can pull back onto the street. After a half dozen cars travel past, I finally get my chance to get back onto the road. It feels so good having this freedom.
As I turn the next corner, my mind drifts to where I could be going on Friday night. I only let a small fraction of time conceal what was right in my face. A red light. I panicked and stepped on the gas. CRASH! Oh, no! It was only an instant. I failed to obey the traffic signal and I failed in paying full attention.
There seems to be mass confusion. There are so many people running around and yelling. In the distance I hear the faint squeal of a siren. They are trying to get into the car directly in front of me. The car I hit was damaged greatly. There seems to be a small child in the back seat. She’s not moving is what I hear. Why are they talking of Life flight being needed? It seems like an eternity before the people in the car are placed on stretchers and loaded on emergency vehicles. The small child is being transported by Life flight.
As I lay in the ambulance, I am so numb. My thoughts are such a mess. How could I have not seen and missed the light? What am I blind! It was only an instant. My mother’s car is ruined. The paramedics are trying to comfort me. Telling me I am going to be alright. Things will be fine, but, through their kind words I feel something terribly wrong.
My stay at the hospital was short. Cuts and bruises, some rather large bumps from the airbag are my wounds. My mother and father are waiting for me. As the hospital screen is pulled back, they are holding each other close. A grave look is upon both of their faces. “What, mom,” I quietly say through tears. “I’m ok. I’m so sorry. I failed.”
They come closer and take my hand. The words are so hard for my dad to say. “The baby in the other car, the one in the accident, didn’t make it.”
It has been many years since that day. I relive that day through some of my dreams at night. It is so hard at times to just get through. My failure has taken an innocent life. There are times when I feel the peace of God and can make it through part of my day. There are even times when I meditate on the grace of God and can smile and maybe feel like life is good. But, then my dreams take over and I have to start through the healing process once again.