As the car came to a screeching halt, I sat up to the edge of my seat looking at the tree that had fallen onto the road just a few feet in front of me. As I sat there in amazement, I instantly felt a relief that it didn’t strike my little tan station wagon, which was also carrying my two children in the back seat. The next thing that I remember is waking up, unable to move from my chest down. I could not push my body up to free myself from the mangled mass of metal that had trapped me. Another tree had fallen, and this time it was on me. As I realized what had happened, I started screaming for my children. They were able to climb out the back of the car, without a single scratch on them; they came around to my side of the car so I could see that they were unharmed. The feeling of relief settled in knowing that they were without injury. My attention focused back to myself, as several people started to gather around offering their help.
What was happening to me seemed unreal, just like being in a nightmare. The ambulance came and transported me to the nearest hospital, but I barely remember most of the ride. Actually, most of that day is a blur. I do remember the doctor entering my curtained- off area of the emergency room to give the news. My neck was broken in two places. I started to weep believing that I would be forever paralyzed from the neck down. I was continually tested to see if I could feel my fingers and toes. By the grace of God, I could. The next few months of my life were spent in intensive care, therapy, neck braces, and the focus of many on what a freak accident that this actually was. I had so many people tell me what horrible luck this was to have this happen to me, and I agreed.
Over the next few months, I slowly began to realize that this accident was not a terrible thing; in fact, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Without this accident to give me a “wake-up call” I would have never realized that I needed to make some major changes in my life. Everything became more important to me, and I felt that I had been given a second chance at life. I realized that my identity had been lost, and I was not as grateful for the gifts that I had been given in life as I should be. Some changes came quickly, others have taken a while, but without that accident I would still be in a state of unhappiness in which I fortunately escaped. I guess you could say that it took a tree falling on me to wake me up. A second chance at life is something that everyone deserves, and this I believe.
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