What If I Had Died- Reflections On The Accident
Since becoming a parent I have tried hard to become a more thoughtful person but not in the sense of becoming more courteous. Courtesy is important and it should hold a significant place in a person’s life, but that is not the kind of thoughtful I am talking about.
Rather I am trying hard to understand why I feel the way I do. What drives me to do the things I do, to believe what I believe. Why am I the man I am and is this who I should be or want to be.
Dorothy Rothchild had an interesting meme in which she asked her readers to describe her in one word and in return she would return the favor. She used the word searching for me and I think that in many ways it is appropriate.
As a point of reference, for those few of you who are trying to get deeper inside my head may I suggest that in addition to this post you also read the following posts, there will be a quiz later.
Prayer- A Conversation With G-d
Moments When I feel Closest To G-d
There is a general theme here. I am searching, for many things. This may sound hokey, but I often feel as if I can almost hear the world speaking to me. If I slow down, if I stop and listen I can almost catch it, but not quite. There is a language that sounds familiar, it speaks to me, but I never really hear what is being said.
A better writer than I would describe this as being able to hear the angels speaking but not quite understanding what they are saying. If I tried to write something like that I would add that I think that as soon as they realize that I am listening they move a little farther out of my reach.
It is a matter of feeling like I am smart enough to understand that there is something going on but not smart enough to understand what that is.
Back to the accident. Sometimes it takes people a little time to understand just how close they came to being part of a tragic event. For me it really was brought home tonight. My son kept questioning me about what happened and why. He wanted to know why I didn’t just fix the car myself. As he told me, “dad, you know how to do lots of things and you are so big you could carry the car.“
Listening to this was like getting hit in the gut. He won’t understand the power of his words until he becomes a parent, but they floored me. If the chain of events had been slightly different it could have been a very bad day for my children and my family.
Very few of you know me. Those who do know that I am built like a tank. I am not in the shape I want to be in, but in general if there is some kind of collision between people I win. I wasn’t made for grace, Baryshnikov and Nureyev will never be followed by Jack. But if you need a piano moved or a tree stumped removed or anything involving feats of strength (can you say Festivus) I just might be your guy.
Just a few days after Yom Kippur. Some people might not see any relationship there, but to me it was significant, especially given a post that Elie wrote that has stuck with me. In it he said:
“But Unesana Tokef cut right through all these emotional shields. As I listened to the chazzan, one question, one “why”, would not be silenced in my heart: Why wasn’t my son written in the “book of life” last Rosh Hashana? Why???”
Elie, your words pierced me and as I said I only wish that I could give you the answer you seek. Maybe that post was still in the back of my mind, but as I wrote earlier I could swear that during the crash I could hear Unetaneh Tokef being chanted.
If you had been sitting next to me you would have heard me begin cursing as soon as I knew that there was no way to prevent the collision. When the airbag hit me in the face I was irritated and for a moment afterwards I was angry. That is why I spent a moment sitting in the car. It was time to compose myself and maintain some perspective.
One of the primary purposes of this blog is to serve as a place that my children and grandchildren can learn a little bit more about who I am and maybe learn something that will help make life easier for them. Whenever it is that you see this I want you to remember a few things.
First, a father’s love is fierce and unending. To paraphrase Pete Rose I would walk through hell covered in gasoline to get to you. Second, never forget to take a moment and consider the things that you have been through and always try to learn from your experiences.
Abba loves you now and forever.
Jack's Shack October 20, 2005 at 5:53 am
Thank you Stacey.
No, thank you. I appreciate your blog, it is very deep.
Elie October 20, 2005 at 2:31 am
I have given up even pretending to understand why things happen, but I am very glad that you are unhurt. Thanks for quoting my post and for this very deep one of your own.
Jack's Shack October 19, 2005 at 4:35 am
Lil Bit October 19, 2005 at 3:55 am
Wow. Glad you & the family are ok. Really nice post.
Jack's Shack October 18, 2005 at 4:42 pm
Have at it. 🙂
Stephen (aka Q) October 18, 2005 at 4:31 pm
I had a similar experience many years ago. The big difference is, I had no children at the time.
My car was hit by a very large truck, spun around 360Âº and thrown back in the direction I was coming from. Thankfully the engine block absorbed all of the punishment. The car was totalled, but I didn’t have so much as a scratch(!). The dashboard was crumpled on the passenger side (thankfully no one was in the car with me) right up to the tape deck in the middle of the car.
The next day I was standing at a busy intersection and I thought, if I had been killed yesterday, the world would have just gone on without me. It was a sobering thought â€” the cosmos wouldn’t have paused to mourn me, not for a second.
My girlfriend and my parents would have grieved, of course. But your story adds another layer of poignancy. To depart this earth while your children are still young â€¦ it doesn’t bear thinking about.
If you don’t mind, Jack, I’ll probably post this story on my own blog, too. I haven’t thought of it for a long time.
Stacey October 18, 2005 at 1:10 pm
This was beautiful.