This photo originally shared on Instagram
It was bitterly cold and windy late in the afternoon of Christmas Day. My first thought was to scan the scene and make sure everyone had gotten out of both vehicles, and that they were more or less OK (they had and they were.) I also asked if 911 had been called (check), then stepped back as initial shock gave way to understandable anger. As they argued over the details that led to them occupying the same spot at precisely the same time, I carefully crossed the street and began my return trip, hesitant to intrude on their trauma.
I wondered if their insurance companies worked on Christmas Day, if they'd be able to get a rental car, if they'd be able to salvage the rest of what should have been a special day, if they had somehow scarred all future Christmases with a memory they'd rather forget. By the time I had backed away far enough for their voices to have fallen silent, the own voices racing through my head had calmed down, too. No one was hurt, and that was all that mattered. I hope they all soon came to appreciate that simple fact, that gifts of life and health weren't simply limited to this particular day. I hoped they were still able to count their immeasurable blessings.
I slowly walked back to the hospital where my father-in-law has been for months, and likely will remain for, well, we just don't know. My hands ached from the cold, and not even stuffing them deep in my pockets helped. I reminded myself none of this life stuff has a script, none of us knows what comes next, and the best we can do is ride the waves as they roll on past. I quietly wished the two families a few blocks behind me knew that.
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