Words. They are failing me right now. I can’t seem to find the perfect, poetic ones to adequately describe all the things I want to say.
“Stunned” comes to mind.
It’s how I felt when I witnessed Everett catapult into the windshield of a car then up over the body of the car twisting in the air like a gymnast, eventually landing in a pile of arms and legs in the road. The thud was deafening and it haunts me now, weeks later.
It’s how I felt when I was dream-running to him. For years, I’ve had bad dreams of running, running, RUNNING and going nowhere. It’s as if I’m stuck in quicksand. And so it was when I sprinted to my pile of son in the road. I couldn’t get to him fast enough.
It’s how I felt when I looked into his eyes. They were open, unfocused, confused but I was mostly startled by their bluer-than-blue blueness – a reflection of the clear spring sky overhead.
It’s how I felt when I discovered he was missing a shoe.
It’s how I felt riding in an ambulance with my son strapped to a stretcher, his neck braced in a cervical collar while the EMT apologized for the hard braking. “We just got new brakes.”
It’s how I felt when Everett sobbed as the nurse removed pieces of asphalt from his raw back and I realized it was the first time he had cried since being hit.
It’s how I felt when the doctor declared nothing was broken. A broken leg from rough-housing on the sofa as a toddler. A broken arm due to a fall from the monkey bars not even two years ago. But getting hit by a car? Nothing.
It’s how I felt when the sheriff visited us at the hospital and told us that helmet saved Everett’s life. “A regular ol’ bike helmet might not have produced the same results.” Everett had opened that helmet moments before the accident. It was his first time wearing it. We were celebrating his birthday early with extended family, and that helmet was a gift from my sister per Everett’s request. A flashy, heavy duty motocross helmet in his favorite color – red – with matching gloves.
It’s how I felt when Cheetah slept curled up at Everett’s feet that first night home. Until then, she had never slept with one of the kids overnight.
It’s how I felt days later when Everett asked to walk by the scene of the accident (in our neighborhood) to look for his red gloves, lost during the accident. On our walk, I found one glove in the pocket of my jacket. It was the same jacket I had worn the day of the accident, but I had no recollection of shoving the glove in the pocket. We found its match 100′ away from the initial impact, in the grass on the opposite side of the road along with several plastic shards busted off from Everett’s scooter. Everett slipped his red gloves on and carried the plastic bits home.
It’s how I felt the first time I saw Everett’s wrecked scooter. The back was smashed, stained by skid marks. The handlebars were mangled. One handbrake was missing. Ripped wires dangled from the throttle. Several days later I carried it out to the curb for trash pickup. It was so odd to see it propped up against the recycling bin. Part of me wanted to keep it; part of me never wanted to see it again.
It’s how I felt the first time I gave Everett a bath after the accident. Each bruise and patch of road rash a clue to the physics of the impact which my mind used to produce the most vivid slow-mo video. It’s been on repeat ever since.
It’s how I felt during his recovery when he complained only about the “hot and itchy” neck collar.
It’s how I felt when he returned to school with no restrictions.
It’s how I felt when the hospital called to say that our medical insurance may not cover Everett’s treatment since it was technically a motor vehicle accident. Typically, homeowner’s insurance covers MVAs but our agent informed us that we already have two strikes (hail damage + leaky furnace) against us. In all likelihood, they wouldn’t cover Everett’s medical expenses either and would drop us, making it difficult – if not impossible – to find coverage elsewhere. We also received a letter from the driver’s insurance company stating they will deny any claims we submit to them because the police report didn’t find the driver at fault.
It’s how I feel when I find myself getting riled up about the financial aspect when, for crying out loud!, MY SON IS OKAY AND I WILL PAY ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.
It’s how I feel when I think of parents who have lost a child.
It’s how I feel every single day when I watch Everett do perfectly normal things like eat oatmeal, read a book, brush his teeth.
It’s how I feel when I see so much strength and fearlessness in such a little body. He wants a new scooter. He wants to take his wrecked trophy helmet to school as a reminder to other kids to wear their helmets.
It’s how I feel when I think about these events making for a good story one day after the shock has worn off.
And it’s how I feel about the support my family has received in real life and online in recent weeks.
If I could, I would eloquently tell you how much your comments, emails, good vibes, well wishes and thoughts have meant to me, Everett, and the rest of our family. I am so grateful for your kind and encouraging words even as mine fail me.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you for allowing me to step away from the blog, guilt-free, for a few weeks to focus on real life. And thanks for being here now that things are slowly settling back to “normal.”
image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking