Four times I could have died, yet here I am.
My kids have told me I’m like a cat with nine lives; maybe there’s something to it. As I got older, the accidents got more serious. Sometimes I wonder why I survived; but mostly I’m just grateful.
When I was 11, a neighbor girl ran over me with a snowmobile. She knocked me over from behind and proceeded to drive across the entire length of my body. I was compressed face-down into the snow as the track rolled across my back. She slowed down as she realized what she’d done, but it was the wrong time to slow down. I couldn’t breathe under there.
The following summer, two girls decided it was time to teach me to swim. We walked to the local swimming hole; they each took an arm, pulled me out over my head and let go. That was the extent of my swimming lesson. Swim – or – drown. I came close enough to drowning it scared us all pretty badly.
Fast forward three years when my friend and I were riding our bicycles on a beautiful summer day. She was behind me and as we were crossing a wooden bridge, I turned to say something to her. My front tire wedged between two wooden slats and came to an abrupt stop. This caused me to pitch suddenly over the side. The water level was low, but it was about a 20’ foot drop onto a gravel bar. I blacked out on the way down, but my friend said I landed on my head and narrowly missed several large rocks. (This could explain a lot, I know!)
The most miraculous survival was that of the plane crash. Five days after my 17th birthday, Dad flew us to a remote mountain lake for some trout fishing. It was early fall; sunny with a crisp edge to it. We stood on the floats fishing and drifted around the lake until we had enough fish for dinner. When dad decided it was time to leave, he commented on the wind that had picked up. Even before we took off I was afraid. I blacked out as we began dropping and don’t remember the crash itself. When I came to, dad was face-down and unconscious against the instrument panel and water was rushing in.
I get a strange sensation when I remember these incidents. So long ago, yet the impressions linger. The airplane accident was by far the most terrifying, and affected me profoundly in many different ways. It would be many years before I fully unpacked just how many layers that day had.
How about you? What are some big events that have affected you?