A Scary Trip

For an hour and a half already, the rain had pelted our windshield furiously. On the little highways between Savannah and Fitzgerald, I watched in amazement out my window as the ditches became creeks of running water and the creeks became overflowing rivers and the water levels edged closer to the road. A very nasty day for a road trip.
Just past “Jeff-Ro’s” convenience store, we turned on a road that has no name. I’m sure it has a name, but not a road sign, so it remains nameless to me. Many pick-ups traveling this old road had worn ruts in the asphalt, and the rainwater was pooling there. The road made me nervous but Lee was doing a good job of driving close to the middle to stay out of the ruts. Luckily, there wasn’t much traffic.
Suddenly, we hit a puddle of water and the car lurched hard to the left. We crossed well over the center line into the next lane and almost onto the shoulder, then it lurched hard to the right. Another lurch left as the back of the SUV fishtailed. Some voice in my head that I’d heard in some safe driving story came out of my mouth as I yelled, “DON’T OVERCORRECT!” I’m not really sure what it means or what to do when you’re hydroplaning, but it was all I could think to say. Kind of funny now that I look back.
Lee got the car under control and in its proper lane. We drove slower, breathing heavier, both saying over and over again how thankful we were not to have wrecked. What if the SUV had flipped? What if a car had been coming in the other lane? What if?
A good imagination is a blessing and a curse. For the next several miles, all I could do was imagine the what ifs. All the scenarios played out in my head – the wreck, the small town policemen and volunteer firefighters and volunteer medics. How could I even have called for medics if I didn’t know the road’s name?
But through it all, what scared me most wasn’t dying. It was surviving alone. This wasn’t the first time I’d imagined what would happen if someone I loved died. If my life ended, I would have no pain. But the thought of losing someone else is terrifying.
It was like a nightmare from which I couldn’t wake. Finally, I had to convince myself that it is stupid to grieve for someone who is living and breathing, sitting perfectly healthy next to you. I’d rather enjoy life together than spend life fearing the loss of it.
Today on the return trip, the sun was shining and the roads were blissfully dry. I still shuddered as we drove along the road with no name, but our trip was easy and scare-free. I don’t always have control over what the car’s tires do, but I can try to control my thoughts. Today I’m thinking of our happy life together, my happy family, my happy friends, and thankful for every day we can enjoy it together.

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