The latter part of the week has been a bit of a rough go for me. I don't think I realized just how rough until yesterday morning though.
It all started on Thursday morning as I drove to work. It was about 5:50 am and I was driving along the highway out of Cochrane in the pitch dark. I had the local country station on, as I sometimes secretly do. The song that was playing was one about love and how you make your mark of love on the world. In these trying times I was thinking what a beautiful statement that was.
As I was thinking about love, a deer ran across the highway. Unfortunately, it was so dark out I didn't see it until it was too late. I didn't even have time to hit the brakes - in hindsight this may have been one of the many factors that saved me from bodily harm.
I can't tell you what happened next because I don't know. I saw the deer, there was a loud bang, there was, what I realized later, air bag dust surrounding me, and then everything was dark and in slow motion. In a split second everything changed.
When I finally figured out what must have happened, I tried to see out the front window, steered my car to the road edge and stopped. At one moment I thought the deer was on the roof of my car, but it turned out that it was my hood that had become detached.
I then sat in my car shaking and crying. I knew that I had killed the deer. Thankfully, there was someone - it turned out he was my neighbor - driving behind me who stopped to see if I was okay. I had so much adrenaline flowing through me from the fear and shock that I really couldn't say.
I remember most parts of the story after that. I sat in my neighbors truck until the RCMP came, then I sat in the Constable's car until the tow truck came and gave what information I could. Then the RCMP took me home. I sobbed off and on that day as I went about the motions of calling the insurance company, calling my work, calling the car rental, picking up all my belongings from my car at the tow lot and calling my Mom and Dad to tell them what happened. My blessings go out to Esther, who stayed with me and helped me get around town to see my car and get the rental.
The next day I went to work. The drive in was a white knuckle ride. I was so scared it was going to happen to me again. I focused on the road, on my breathing and staying calm. I've never been a timid driver - this was very new territory for me. The entire day at work I had a sense of dread. I wanted to cry, but tried not to. I was at work after all.
People who had heard about the accident asked how I was. All I could say was that physically I was fine, but my spirit wasn't quite right.
I went to bed early that night - the weight of all that had happened was wearing on me.
On Saturday I didn't want to get out of bed. I just wanted to hide under the covers. It took me two attempts to get out of bed and stay out of bed. I thought that maybe what I needed was some exercise. I'd go for a run and all this emotion that was weighing me down would vanish! What better way to lift the spirit that to be out in nature??
I felt pretty good for about 20 minutes of my run, but then the emotions came back. As I was running I was fighting the tears. 'This is ridiculous', I thought. GET A GRIP!
When I finally did get home I managed to make it up the stairs to my room. That's as far as I got though. The weight of everything that had happened came crashing down. So there I laid, in the middle of my hallway floor, crying. I just let it all go.
I cried for the deer whose life I took, I cried for Mother Nature's forgiviness for not being able to miss hitting the deer, I cried for the guilt of killing an animal, I cried for the fear and sense of dread that had plagued me since, and I cried because I walked away from the accident when I know things could have been much, much worse. I'm not sure how long I was there. Long enough that my cat who'd followed me upstairs had circled me a few times, offering comfort, finally just sat down and waited it out.
I decided not to go to the mountains that evening as planned. Instead, I stayed home and let myself work through the emotions.
I realize now that I had to honour myself, honour the deer, and let the emotions of the events wash over me. If I didn't, I'd end up carrying them with me for much longer than necessary. I still feel sad about the events, but it's a sadness that I can now deal with. I know I will be my usual jovial person soon. Hopefully, driving will be less and less scary each time I do it. After all, how else will I get to my beloved mountains to go skiing, now that we have snow, if I don't drive??
Peace out my friends.