So we were heading home in our mini-van on Highway 400 after a delectable long weekend up at my sister-in-law's cottage outside Parry Sound. There were lots of cars on the road at the time (around 10:30 in the morning), but traffic was moving along at a fair clip. Suddenly, it came to a complete stop. My husband hit the brakes to avoid hitting the car just ahead. And he would have--if the pick-up right behind us hadn't done the same. He smashed into us full throttle, propelling us into the vehicle ahead. In a mere second--pandemonium. The two front airbags burst; there was a deafening sound as the windshield smashed; the front and back of our van was crumpled as we became the filling in a pick-up truck sandwich.
In the immediate aftermath: shock, horror, terror. The car filled up with smoke; I thought it was because the van was on fire but, actually, it was the smoke from the detonated air bags. "Everyone okay?" asked my son, in the seat behind us. I was okay. Our dog, lying down on his doggie berth in the back seat, seemed okay. My son, ditto. My husband, however, was doubled over in pain, his hand injured when the driver's seat airbag deployed.
The others involved in the accident were dazed and confused, and it was my husband, howling in pain from his injury, who ended up calling 911 for assistance. (Fortunately, I had some Advil in my purse and made him down a couple right away.)
Within five to ten minutes, authorities arrived. My husband was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital (in Barrie). A tow truck soon arrived to hitch up our van--which was totaled--and transport me, my son and the dog--all uninjured--to the hospital. Long story short, my husband tore a ligament in his thumb but won't require any surgery. His sister, who left the cottage an hour after us, was able to pick up my me, my son and our dog; her husband, who was in another car, waited for another ten minutes until my husband was released from hospital and drove him home.
The whole experience: terrifying. And surreal. Not the least because the name of the tow truck company was "Utopia" (shout out to driver Danny, who took such good care of us). Also because it was our anniversary--our 28th. Also because I was thinking right off the bat that we'd had a really close call, and that, thank God, we had lived to tell the tale. Also because, when we got in my sister-in-law's SUV--three dogs, two kids and two adults--the first song I heard on the radio was Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."
Okay. I get it. Someone is sending me (and you should know that I'm not exactly the most religious cowboy in the rodeo) a message, just in time for the Jewish New Year.
In Judaism, there is a special prayer--"Ha-gomel"--one recites when one has managed to survive a horrible and potentially fatal occurrence. This Saturday, grateful for having lived to see another day and another New Year, my family will attend services at our synagogue and say it, with profound gratitude, in front of our entire congregation/beloved community.