whenever I get near my car. It's not even a rational fear - I know that the accident wasn't my car's fault, it didn't malfunction, no one was hurt, and it's [supposedly] as good as new. I get that. Everyone keeps telling me that. I'm not dumb, I really do understand.
What I don't understand is the fear. The gut-wrenching, nauseating, cold-sweat fear that wells up in my every time I look at it. The shakes I get when I hold the key, how I jump out of my skin at sudden noises, the horrid, helpless, terrifying nightmares that leave me thinking I've lost my child in some unspeakable accident. That's what I don't understand.
At 7:30 am on October 7th I was just leaving the drop off spot for daycare. Addison was safely nestled in her car seat in Cheryl's car, and I was decked out in pink and ready for our Breast Cancer Awareness day in the ZSD. I decided since it was a short week that I should have a coffee to celebrate and I headed into town to the Fuel Yard since I had a gift card left over from my birthday. The drive from the daycare drop to the coffee shop is a mile at best and is right in the heart of Zillah. I slowed down to turn right into the driveway, put on my blinker, and started the turn... I remember that I was contemplating whether or not I should 'go for it' and get a 20oz. coffee or if I should just stick with my usual 16oz. As I was mid-turn, I was slammed into from the side. I remember thinking, "I'm getting in an accident. This can't be happening." and "Where in the hell did this car come from?" The whole accident probably lasted less than 10 seconds from impact to my car rolling to a stop but it felt like an eternity in slow motion. I saw the hood of a white car, crumpled up outside my passenger window, I saw the glass from that window raining down around me, I heard the awful sound of metal giving way to metal and the constant blaring of the other car's horn. I remember coming to and seeing my jeans and realizing that my car was rolling forward and I wasn't in control. I slammed the brake and put the car in park before it rolled into the weeds behind the coffee shop. People were yelling and running and calling 9-1-1. My first coherent thought was that it was so strange that my radio was still playing and Michael Buble was singing along like nothing had happened. I turned off the CD player. I managed to open my car door and tell one of the witnesses that I was okay, I wasn't hurt. I crawled back to the other car and saw a young girl, a high schooler, in hysterics behind the wheel. She was screaming and her airbag had gone off. I sat on the ground and started crying - I think that was when reality finally sank in for me. I was a mix of emotions - thankful that I was walking away, thankful that Addison wasn't with me, terrified of what had happened to my car, furious that I had been hit in the first place, and in pain. My neck, my shoulders, my back all started to ache. My head had a bump on it from where it hit the side window and my hip hurt from where the buckle had yanked on me... but I was okay. I was alive. Once I knew that the other girl was okay, I made my way back to my car and called Derek. I didn't want him to get a call from the school or the paramedics. I told him I had been in a wreck and that I thought my car was totaled. He asked where Addison was and I started bawling. The impact had been on her side. ALL of the impact had been on her side. I looked back and saw broken glass in her car seat and I lost it. The idea that she could have been sitting right there, getting slammed into at 35+ miles an hour, and that I could have done nothing to prevent it, killed me. I got distracted by the paramedics and the ride to the hospital. Derek was there waiting for me and was by my side until I was discharged. I was banged up and destined to be sore, but otherwise okay. The rest of the day passed in a blur - insurance calls, rental cars, doctor's appointments... I thought that things were going to be okay and that the worst was past me.
Then, a few days later, I called to get a tow-truck to pick up the CR-V and take it to the body shop. I went out to my in-laws house to pull it out of the garage and that is when it hit me. I got in the car with the shattered glass and pieces sticking out everywhere and I was right back there at the accident. I was dizzy, shaking, and on the verge of tears.
Now it's six weeks later and my CR-V is once again parked in the garage. The closer I got to this moment the worse things got - I've been having anxiety attacks, I have nightmares about something happening to Addison or something happening to me and I'm unable to help her. I want nothing to do with my car - every time I look at it, I see the accident, I see what could have been. I don't want Addison in that car - I want her in a tank. I want something big, high off the ground... something that will fight back if it gets hit. All I want is to feel safe again in my own car. I want to feel like I am in control again... not like reality is spinning out of control and that every car on the road is going to run a red light, or sideswipe me, or plow into me when I go to make a right turn. I just don't want to be scared anymore.