Monday, 23 June 2014

Divine Intervention?

I am not a risk-taker and had never been seriously hurt until I survived an accident almost seventeen years ago that completely changed my outlook on life and, strangely enough, removed my fear of death. 

First, I will set the scene leading up to the accident, then provide the gory details and explain how it changed my outlook and why I no longer fear death. Hopefully it will all make sense in the end.

Seventeen years ago, our kids were in a nanny-share arrangement at a house down the street. Every day I would pick them up after work. On this particular day, I left work early so our nanny could drive her parents to the airport. They had been visiting from Scotland. 

I worked in the north tower of the Eaton Centre and lived on Millwood Road in Toronto. It was a perfect bicycle commute.  I would either take Jarvis which was faster or Bayview with a long challenging hill. On this day, I took Jarvis and remember hearing more sirens than usual. It was a busy day for emergency vehicles in the city.

I had a choice to either drop my bike at home and walk to get the kids or go straight to pick them up. Since I had plenty of time, I decided to drop the bike and walk, so it would be easier to manage the stroller. I left our dog at home for the same reason. As it turned out, these were the best possible choices that day.

I remember approaching the nanny-share house and admiring a cool convertible parked in the driveway next door. I was feeling fabulous and appreciating the beautiful summer weather while looking forward to picking up the kids a bit early. I think it was about 4:20 p.m. when I was hit from behind by a car just two houses away from my destination.

I have no actual memory of the accident. It took about 90 minutes before my ability to remember returned and I "woke up" strapped to a backboard on a stretcher in a curtained cubicle in a hospital. It was Wellesley Hospital where I had given birth to our son the previous year.

I remember holding up my arm to look at my watch and exclaiming it was 6 p.m. My husband would be at baseball and I wouldn't be able to reach him. Of course, he overheard me and let me know he was already there. That's when he told me what had happened. 

The other mom with whom we shared a nanny had called my husband at work to tell him I had been hit by a car and was laying in a puddle of blood on the sidewalk surrounded by emergency vehicles. Can you imagine the shock he must have felt? Our kids were fine and would stay with her until we could return home. Luckily, she had noticed the accident when I didn't show, and kept the kids inside blissfully unaware.  

My husband rushed to the scene, but I had already left in an ambulance and the firemen were hosing down the sidewalk. Apparently head wounds bleed a lot. My husband feared the worst as he headed to the hospital. 

Since I was strapped to a board while waiting to see a doctor, we didn't know the extent of my injuries. I had been asking where was my bike and what had happened to the kids. I was relatively upbeat and joking, but not retaining anything until that moment when I looked at my watch.

Now for the gory details as promised. I had major bruising on my legs and shoulders and a gash on the back of my head. My husband helped the doctor hold the wound closed for stapling - seven staples total. The cool thing about head wounds is the general lack of pain. I suffered a fairly severe concussion, but healed well with no ongoing problems other than brief vertigo whenever I lay down or sat up for about a year. I never recovered my memory of the accident or the 90 minutes following which bothered me a lot, but was probably a blessing. 

The men with the cool convertible witnessed the whole thing and filled in the gaps when I returned to thank them for their help.  They told me an elderly driver had crossed the road, jumped the curb, hit me on the sidewalk, then drove back on the road and parked. They said it was like watching a stunt scene from a movie. Apparently, I did a straight body flip in the air with my shoulders landing on the grass and my head hitting the sidewalk. They called 911 then made me lay still while we waited. It feels weird to think I was conscious yet not aware for all that time. 

The doctors told me I was lucky the driver was not going fast which is most likely what saved me from serious injury. That may be true, but I always felt there was more to it. Right from the beginning, I told everyone I felt an angel had protected me. I was not religious and had not thought about spirituality before, yet I suddenly knew death didn't hurt and instinctively felt it was not the end. I came home from the hospital that evening feeling good about life and wanting to know more. 

It was difficult to explain why I no longer feared death when I knew I wanted to live more consciously while actively seeking answers to my questions about life and life after death. Once I asked the questions, I started receiving answers in all sorts of ways. 

The first book I was given was called The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield. It provided a perfect introduction to the concepts of spirituality and synchronicity. Looking back I would say the accident woke me up to the mysteries in life.

I had been feeling down about things because our company had been bought by another and the I.T. department where I worked was contracted to transfer files and systems. I was soon to be out of a job I loved. The accident helped put everything in perspective. 

I only missed a couple days work. It happened on a Thursday so I took Friday to rest and pack for a family visit to London where we celebrated our son's first birthday. You can see my bruised shoulder in the picture below taken a couple days after the accident. 
I am so grateful I got to see my son turn one. He loved the slide and pool he received for his birthday. I can feel his joy in this photo and can't help but be uplifted by it. 
Here he is 17 years later graduating from High School and ready to embrace the next step. He will be off to University in September.
We're both happy for him, but I can't help but worry just a little. University out of town will be a big change for all of us.
We're also very proud of our daughter. She is living in Boulder, CO with her husband and two beautiful children and is very happy.
We love being grandparents. I hope we will eventually get to see more of these kids once we retire. For now, we're grateful for internet and social networking. It helps tremendously when we live so far away.
Seventeen years have gone by so fast. It's amazing how many things have changed. I am happy to have been here for all of it, both the good and the bad. Even after all the reading and research I've done, I still have to remind myself of all the things I love about this life. It is so easy to become complacent and take things for granted. It's so easy to let myself get grumpy, frustrated or stuck in a rut. Why do we do that to ourselves?

I like to think I have my "wise" self and my "regular" self. My regular self tends to worry and often complains, but my wise self eventually steps in to make things better again. Recounting this story from seventeen years ago is a good reminder to me. Life is precious and to be treasured. It puts me in touch with my wise self. 

How about you? Have you ever had a close call that made you appreciate life all the more? Are you in touch with your angels and guides? 

Some people might say it was just my lucky day but I prefer to think it was Divine Intervention.


  1. Quite a story! It was very hard not knowing if you were alive for the 90 minutes or so after I received the phone call - the lady was so shaken she couldn't say more than what you recounted and that I should hurry. Its a good thing the driver was not driving fast.

    1. I don't think I fully appreciated how stressful it must have been for you at the time. Probably worse in a way because I was mostly unaware of what was happening.

  2. Beautifully written! This story is a great reminder to count your blessings and not take a single day for granted. Thanks for sharing