It was night actually.
Or early morning, whichever you prefer.
About 1:30am to be somewhat exact.
I had just left this birth and was on my way home. After rounding a bend in the freeway, I began to climb the hill that faced me. The rural darkness of the night was broken as bright headlights crested the hill in front of me. At first it seemed normal, as if I were traveling on a two lane highway. In one second, the distance between our two cars was diminished by half, and I had the thought, “That’s not right!” In two seconds, the on-coming car was whizzing past me on my left.
It was then that I thought, “That was weird.”
I had left the birth about 30 minutes earlier. I often like to take an environmental location shot, especially if it is sunrise or sunset. I pulled over to the side of the freeway to attempt a shot of the Las Vegas Strip. My efforts were quick, since I was stopping on the freeway, but in vain, since I couldn’t see anything over the cement guardrail. The above shot is what I got, which is very fitting for how the rest of the drive home went.
Though it was late, I was not drowsy. I was not distracted.
I am normally a left-lane-driver. I don’t overly speed, but I’m not a fan of getting stuck behind slower drivers in the right lane. Although, there really wasn’t much other traffic to be concerned about at 1:30 am. I don’t remember when I got into the right lane, but as I neared Railroad Pass, I was in the right lane. Choosing the right literally saved my life. Drunk drivers often drive in what they believe is the right lane, which becomes my left lane when said driver has entered the freeway going the wrong direction.
Had I been in the left lane, with those headlights approaching straight at me… I don’t think I would’ve had enough time to comprehend and then act in a manner to save my life. My life, and the life of the other driver, would’ve been over in two seconds.
I didn’t even get a good look at the other car. Actually, I think it might’ve been a truck, a small pick-up truck. White…. or brown?….. The speed at which it passed me (our combined speed probably being 120+mph) and my fading memory (this happened 3 months ago) and having not met the driver leaves me with some ambiguity. I don’t know who they are. They don’t know who I am. They don’t know they would’ve taken me from my adoring, loving husband and my five darling young children including a newborn, not to mention my extended family and friends who care about me and voiced concern when they heard about my narrow brush with death. Did this person even realize what almost happened?
As the on-coming car whizzed by my window and continued on as if without a care in the world, I thought, “That was weird.” I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes, I didn’t break down and cry; I tried to process it and figure it all out. Why did that happen?… Why DIDN’T it happen?
Why didn’t our cars collide head on? Why didn’t our lives end in an instant? Why didn’t our families have to cope with the loss and grieve and then move on?
I don’t have any of those answers and probably won’t have them. Not until I get to the real end of my life and can look back. But I can use this as a little (ahem, big?!?!) kick in the pants to do better. Be a better wife. Be a better mother. Love more, live more.
You never know when a hug or a smile or a good-bye will be your last. Make life worth it while you are here.