An Unexpected Birthday Gift — My Life

I was in a rollover car accident this afternoon. I was driving home from therapy on Boren Avenue when a car blew through a red light at the James Street intersection and hit the passenger side of my CRV.

It all happened so fast. My car spun to the right and then for reasons I still don’t understand, it flipped over. I never lost consciousness. I was upside down surrounded by broken glass and airbags. I heard people almost immediately outside calling into me. Are you ok? “I think so,” I called back. Are you alone? “Yes!” My thoughts flashed to Moxie who was safely with her babysitter.

Someone yelled to go get a knife. I saw my purse and reached for my phone. I called my husband Eli. They’re getting me out, I told him. I remember hearing the sounds of cutting fabric as someone cut into the airbag on the front passenger side window. I unbuckled and awkwardly fell out of the seat. I wondered if my car was going to explode. That terrifying scene from the movie Crash flashed through my mind. Was I going to die?

The man who cut through the airbag was there and directed a construction worker still wearing his hardhat to help lift me out. I pushed my body into the passenger seat and reached up for his arms. We worked together and he lifted me out of the car onto the street. People were surrounding us. I held onto him and started to cry.

I heard a woman say excitedly several times, “She has a guardian angel!” I thought of Poppy. I knew she was protecting me. People asked me again if I was alone in the car. Yes, I was alone. Thank god I was alone. My thoughts turned again to Moxie.

Someone directed me to sit down on the curb. A woman who witnessed the accident sat next to me. I think she was the one who mentioned my guardian angel. We held hands and waited for help to arrive. The construction worker was gone. The man who cut the airbag was gone.

In a flurry the police arrived. An ambulance arrived. A fireman named John started asking me questions and examined me. My left arm was burning from where the airbag imploded. My right shoulder started to ache. I remember saying “It wasn’t my fault. The other car ran the red light. Is the other person ok?” They told me he was.

They asked me my name and my date of birth. I covered my face with my hands and then I laughed. “9.3.80, my birthday was yesterday.” I shook my head in disbelief. Someone wished me happy birthday.

They placed a cervical collar around my neck and 2 EMT’s helped me onto a gurney. We rode to Harborview which was only a couple blocks away. The emotions really started to flow on the ride. I held my hands in prayer and thanked the Universe for protecting me.

The hospital staff was kind. I was in the ER for about 4 hours. I got x-rays of my neck and low back which were all normal. Eli came and met me. We kissed and his lips felt extra soft. My brain ran through all the ways this could have been worse. I took lots of deep breaths. I closed my eyes and envisioned my body healing. I relaxed my shoulders and tried to stay present.

I got permission to leave the hospital around 6:00pm. The discharging nurse came in to go over a little paperwork and to sign me out. I noticed a bright red tattoo on her right arm. “That’s a Poppy flower isn’t it?” I asked her. “Yes, I’ve always loved poppy flowers,” she said. “Can I tell you a story?” “Sure,” she replied. “My first-born daughter was stillborn at full term. Her name was Poppy. Seeing your tattoo proves to me that she’s watching out for me.”

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Visibly touched, the nurse leaned in and gave me a big hug. She thanked me for sharing. I thanked her for listening. Eli walked in from the waiting room. I pointed out the nurse’s tattoo. His eyes welled up. She let me take a picture. Eli and I held hands and walked out of the hospital together.

This evening I had the sheer joy of feeding my little Moxie dinner. I scooped cottage cheese and apple sauce onto her baby spoon. She happily fed herself and chewed a little extra on the spoon as her gums are sore from teething. Eli gave her a bath and I relished the sounds of splashing water and silly conversations with the rubber ducky. Clean, warm, and hair still slightly damp, Eli brought Moxie into the nursery where I fed her a nighttime bottle and sang her a lullaby.

After she finished her bottle and popped her pacifier into her mouth she leaned up a little and then with eyes closed she melted her head into my chest and arms. The weight of her body melted my heart. I inhaled the scent of pure love and said another prayer of gratitude. I am so thankful to be alive.

I write about love, grief, forgiveness, and healing to honor my daughters Poppy and Moxie. I work as a life coach and I’m writing a memoir.

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