The Day After

My mother had a friend in Okemos, not far away from the hotel we’d spent the night at.  In the morning, we called her and she offered to come pick us and the dog up from the hotel.   We had to figure out what to do next; was the car going to be salvageable, how we would  home, were there going to be legal charges, etc.

Sue was a former work colleague of my mother’s.  She had the 90 miles away for her husband’s job.  We’d spent some time with them before, so being in her house wasn’t strange.   She was all concern and apology that we hadn’t felt comfortable calling her late last night when we’d been discharged from the hospital.

They discussed what to do next.  Obviously we were going to have to get home.  My mother didn’t want to ask my Grand Rapids relatives for help; it was still winter after all and she didn’t want them driving all that way.  She didn’t want to call my sister, who had been at the helm of her own car accident or two, and wasn’t exactly known for her grace under pressure.  My mother wasn’t supposed to be driving yet because of her injuries.  Sue couldn’t do it because of her work and neither could her husband.

Finally, after much discussion, my mother decided to call my father and ask him to come up to help us.

This was extremely hard for her to do.  They had been fighting for the five years since the divorce and relations between them were frosty on a good day.  But she simply had no one else to turn to, and he was my father after all.  So she picked up the phone, and sure enough, my father made plans immediately to come and help us.

It was nice to seem them both working together on something, even if it was this awful thing.   He brought a camera to document the damage to the car; it was totaled.  We removed all of our belongings out of the car to take home with us.  When I saw the damage I sucked my breath in; we really were lucky.  I had been sitting right behind the area of the worst impact.  No wonder my collarbone snapped.

The two hour drive home was punctuated with his probing questions and her calm answers.  There was no anger, no judgement, no fighting; just calm relief as to the outcome of the situation.

The aftermath of the accident gave me hope that perhaps we had found a shelter somewhere on the slippery slope.


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