I had a car accident about six weeks ago.
It was minor as far as car accidents go: I was okay, the other guy was okay. Our cars needed some work, but that is long settled and I’m back behind the wheel. I wasn’t sore the next day, but I was exhausted emotionally after spending hours sobbing out of shame, fear and worry. I’m not sure if I’ve ever cried that much all at once.
What if I had hurt the other person?
What if I had been hurt?
What if my kid had been with me?
What if? What if? What if?
I spent a lot of time the day of the accident waiting for someone to yell at me: the other driver, the woman at the body shop, the report taker and cop at the collision centre, Sean, my mom, my colleagues who were waiting for me at the office.
No one yelled – people were almost blasé about it. “Cars get wrecked all the time. No one was hurt and that’s what matters.” This is true and I would say the same thing to someone else, but I had a hard time shaking the shame and the guilt that I. Fucked. Up.
It happened on my way to work so I drive past the spot where it happened twice a day, five days a week. These days, I’m extra vigilant around where it happened, but not overly so. I made sure to get back behind the wheel quickly so I wouldn’t be afraid to when my car was fixed. Two days after the accident, I drove with Sean and Flora to the grocery store. Sean bristled at being a passenger and I got us all there in one piece. This event and the expected reactions to it were a big step to returning back to normal.
And I am back to normal. Mostly.