The accident was on my mind all night. In my dreams I was trying to save them or I was crashing my car or....
This morning I woke up feeling anything but rested. I spent a nice morning at a friends house while our kids played. We talked about the accident. I am still trying to find the right "box" in my head to put it in. Death? Things you never hope to see again? Pain? Car safety?
Through the wonders of technology and firmly filed under the heading "small friggin' world" I saw a friends post on Facebook. RIP. My stomach sank. I got that cold feeling. The one you get when watching a horror movie and the stupid blond girl is about to go for a walk. At night. In the graveyard. By herself. Stomach in my feet, I started to put together pieces.
I knew him.
The man who died while we waited for help to come. The man who I talked to, who I told everything was going to be all right. The man who I couldn't help. That man was Ryan. Ryan who graduated the same year I did at the same High School. The girl was Terra, his girlfriend.
Does it change things? I am not sure. In some ways it helps to know their names, it gives words to mourning. In other ways it makes it so much more real. I knew these people had lives before I knew there names. But now I know the names of those mourning their passing, I see pictures of there life, I read the expressions of love they wrote on each others facebook walls. I know Ryan's sister. It is so raw.
It is so tempting to pack this away. To find a box, neatly label it and put it far back in the recesses of my mind. To pour a glass of wine (or 4) and take a nap and wake up and choose to move on with my life like nothing ever happened.
But I won't.
In my heart of hearts I know that avoiding and pretending isn't my path. For some reason, God had me there last night. It obviously wasn't because I had anything to give, I couldn't do anything to help them. So it must have been to give me something. Ryan, though he will never know it, gave me the opportunity to have a life defining moment. His last breaths, his gift to me, was a chance to hold up what I say is important and see if I have aligned my life accordingly. Do the choices I make today create who I want to be tomorrow? If tomorrow isn't a chance I am given, do the people in my life know how much I care? Have I spent my time and my money in a way that I am proud of? Can I greet my creator God with a smile and a "Thank you, I did my very best"?
So I won't pack away the hurt, the fear, the sadness and the helplessness of last night. I won't dishonor the gift that Ryan gave me. I will mourn. I will cry and feel angry that I couldn't do more. I will pray peace and hope for those who loved him. I chose to live today with my character shaped by an experience I wouldn't wish on anyone.
I pray peace and love to those who are mourning. I pray comfort on their hearts. I pray because there is nothing else I can do.