It was Memorial Day, 1990. I was in seventh grade. My grandparents owned a cabin in the middle of a beautiful forest in New York State. The entire family was there celebrating. Dad hitched up the tractor to the trailer and covered it in hay bales. Soon we were off.
The road kicked up some dirt as we took our ride. We were joking and singing. My youngest cousin grabbed his dad’s beer and threw it over the wall of the trailer. He giggled at the look on my uncle’s face as toddlers tend to do. My dad told me to jump out and get it on the way back. As he was slowing down I went to jump out but my cousin Anne (name changed) said, “I’ll get it!” and went to pick up the litter.
There was a screech of tires as everyone heard a thud. A car had come around the blind corner going very fast down the normally empty road. Anne slammed into the front of the car and flew about 40 feet. Everyone jumped into action. The aunts rounded all of the kids up to get them to look away. The uncles ran to her aid. I decided to run back and get help. We were less than a quarter mile away from the cabin.
I ran about half way when I felt myself collapsing. A car was coming near me and I waved them down. They gave me a ride the rest of the way. People looked curiously at the car of a friend who had just left the party coming back.
I jumped out of the back seat of the car. I screamed that Anne had been hit by a car. Her mother started running down the road. The friends who gave me a ride stopped her and took her to her daughter. My grandfather called 911. Eventually the only people left with nothing to do were me and my grandmother. We sat there and prayed.
Emergency services were there much faster than anyone expected. They life-flighted my cousin to the hospital where she underwent surgery. My grandmother told my family years later that she always gave a certain amount to the ambulance service in that area and she was thinking of not donating that year but something made her do it anyways. She will always be grateful for the urge to donate.
The next day I had to go back to school. No one knew if my cousin would be okay. They knew she would survive but not how normal she would be. I was very emotional. The bullies saw that.
I was always picked on. Being bipolar but not diagnosed yet seemed to be a beacon for others to pick on me. The more I was told to just grow a thick skin, the more I cried. The only real friend I had on this planet was the cousin who was in the ICU.
I spent the week praying. Anne got better. The plastic surgeon took a look at her x-ray’s and declared that her face would be fine. Did you know that God made the face to shatter on impact to protect the eyes? Her jaw was fine so she only needed four new teeth implanted to fix her face. She broke both hips, her collar bone, and arm and wrecked her neck. It still bothers her to this day. Years later she would find that her peripheral vision lost a few inches. Overall, she would lead a perfectly normal life.
The thing that really stands out is what the doctor said about me. He took one look at my smaller frame and said that I would never have survived the impact. I was too short. My head would have hit the edge of the hood instead of the top of it and I would have snapped my neck. She saved my life.
Before I knew all of these things I just knew that my only friend was possibly dying in the hospital. The people in my class made me feel even worse. I prayed to God that things would be okay but I seemed to get no answer. I had been suicidal for years at this point.
I decided to go to sleep. I took a bottle of medicine and downed it. I just didn’t want to wake up. An hour later I was sick. I spent the entire night purging everything I had taken the day before. To this day my parents think I only had a bad flu.
Okay, God had answered my pleas after all. I should have died. I shouldn’t be here.
Finally, I got to visit Anne. She was in good spirits. They had her on pain medicine and she was healing. It took six weeks but she was eventually moved to a regular room and then sent home in a wheelchair. I spent my summers with her because her mom was worried that she would become spoiled being an only child so I was able to help her and play for a few months.
I told her about my guilt and she said that there was nothing to forgive. To this day I know that she saved my life. Many years later we would talk about that summer and a few horrible things that happened in the years that followed. We are both suicide survivors and got matching tattoos of an ;. Our life had a pause in it but we are passed it and will continue to live.
God saved me twice that year. I don’t plan on throwing this gift away.