“Wrong place. Wrong time. That’s how it felt.
My parents picked me up at 6:30 a.m. I can’t remember the last time it has just been the 3 of us. I have 4 kids and very little time to spend alone with my own mom and dad. Usually, the kids are interrupting every conversation and vying for attention.
But this weekend would be different. We were headed to Florida for an adults-only weekend to celebrate my cousin’s wedding. I couldn’t wait to see family that I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic and to hug my people tight.
Five minutes into our trip, we were at a red light. It was still dark outside and I couldn’t see anything but I knew immediately what had happened. We’d been struck from the rear passenger side (right where I was sitting) without any warning.
My parents were screaming…my mom in fear…my dad in pain…as I tried to make sure help was coming. I sat as still as possible in a pile of glass. A Good Samaritan doctor stopped to assess the situation. He was kind and calming and reassured us that even though my dad was in pain, that he would soon get the help he needed and that he would be okay. I was unable to get out of the car until the EMTs helped my dad out. He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, along with all 3 of the other drivers involved in the accident. I stepped out of the car to see that my door was crushed, had a hole in it, and there was severe damage all over that entire area where I had been sitting. I could not believe how lucky I was to walk away.
My husband came to pick me up, my kids were in pajamas in their car seats. We hugged, carefully unloaded everything from my parent’s car, and brushed the glass off the suitcases filled with wedding attire that we wouldn’t get to wear. Later that day I unpacked from a trip that I never got to take.
As the details came out, I became more and more upset. The driver who hit us was driving on a revoked license. This was his 4th time being caught doing so. He told the cops he fell asleep. He has a history of reckless driving and prior drug convictions, yet no testing was done. I still don’t believe his story…his home address is 1 minute from the crash site.
So he got in his car, turned out of his parking lot, and one turn later he allegedly fell fast asleep, accelerated up an incline at upwards of 70 mph, and caused a 4-car accident that totaled 3 of the cars. Common sense says that isn’t likely (unless he was under the influence or had a medical condition)…but ultimately it really doesn’t matter. He ruined a weekend that meant a lot to us, he injured my dad, and his recklessness caused a lot of anxiety and fear. My parents both had to go to physical therapy sessions. My dad, weeks later, is still going, taking it day by day and dealing with awful back pain.
After weeks of anger, I’ve realized that I can’t change what happened. I can’t change the fact that someone driving on a revoked license chose to get behind the wheel. I can’t change the fact that he acted extremely recklessly, that he caused a 4 car accident, and ruined a weekend that we had been looking forward to for months. I can’t change the fact that he lives five minutes from me or that I have to drive by the accident site to take my kids to school. I can’t change the fact that it feels like he will get a slap on the wrist yet again.
But, I can change my mindset. I can try to let go of the things I can’t control and focus on the things that I can. My parents and I have made all the calls we can make. We have asked questions and done the research. And now we wait for his trial.
And, instead of wasting a perfectly beautiful dress and new earrings that I had planned to wear to the wedding… I threw them on for date night and did my hair and makeup as planned. I was completely overdressed for Mexican, but it made me happy.
I’m grateful that I walked away from an accident that could have had fatalities. Wrong place. Wrong time. Yes. But ultimately we are lucky and that’s what I will now choose to focus on.
The accident made me realize that life can be unfair and often full of disappointment. You should give yourself time to grieve those disappointments and to really feel your feelings. And then… you pick yourself back up, focus on what you have the power to change, and let go of what you can’t. I hope you do, too.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Miller. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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