Art Van Almost Killed Us

After a horrible car accident, I realized the fragility of life and embracing every moment.

***TRIGGER WARNING: This story involves details of a car accident and bodily harm/injuries. If these two ideas make you uncomfortable in any way, please do whatever you need to avoid encountering those negative emotions.*** 

I have to admit this is one of the most insane, tragic moments of my life. It is a season of immense hardships that I will never forget. This is the story of the time I and my dad got into an awful car crash, almost costing us our lives.

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

The school bell rang signifying the end of the day. It was the second semester of my senior year in high school. They say that high school is some of the best years of our lives. I strongly disagree.

At the time, I had a boyfriend who went to a different school. His little sister was playing our school in a game of basketball. I stayed after school to watch the game and cheer her on. I always enjoyed supporting her at different events.

Honestly, I'm not a fan of sports, which is ironic as I've been to a hundred sports games to watch my loved ones play. Although I barely understood what went on most of the time, it was heartwarming to see my friends and relatives pour their hearts out doing something they're so passionate about.

My boyfriend's little sister's team won the game. I showered her with celebratory hugs and affirmations. After a brief catch-up conversation, she ran back over to join her teammates for a huddle. That was my cue to head home.

It was around 5:30 p.m. Because it was February in Michigan, the weather was bitter cold and pure white snow blanketed the ground. I didn't have my license yet even though I was almost 18 years old. So, my dad waited in our family's new car in the parking lot to pick me up.

I opened the passenger door, threw my backpack onto the floor, and got in. My dad turned onto the main road to take the usual route home. I had been in the car for about 45 seconds before everything went dark.

The Hospital

It felt as though I was dreaming. I remember various blurry scenes of doctors weighing me on a scale and being in a hospital as I faded in and out of consciousness. The next thing I knew, I groggily woke up in a hospital bed. As I turned my body to look around the room, my ribs ached and my entire body felt sore. I looked in the mirror and noticed I had a bad black eye and purple bruises all over. Attached to my arm was an IV pumping some liquid into my veins.

Sitting on the floor in the room with me were two of my aunts. After observing all of this and still not fully comprehending what was going on, I fell asleep. Throughout the day, different friends and family members came to visit me, bringing stuffed animals as "Get Well Soon" gifts. I had not yet seen my dad.

Later that day, I was rolled out in a wheelchair to my mom's car and we went home.

The Accident

I have no recollection of getting into a car accident. It wasn't until days after that when people told me the whole story.

At the first stoplight on our way home, the light turned yellow. A yellow light is when people make the split decision to either slam on the car's brakes to stop or speed up to make it through the intersection before the light turns red. My dad decided to go through the yellow light. An Art Van semi-truck driver had the same idea as he was waiting to turn left directly across the intersection.

The Art Van semi-truck collided with our small car on the driver's side, destroying the car and me and my dad.

completely totaled from the collision
Image Source: Cindy Hubbard
completely destroyed from the semi-truck
Image Source: Cindy Hubbard
impacted on the driver's side
Image Source: Cindy Hubbard
our new car totaled
Image Source: Cindy Hubbard

The force of the crash caused my seatbelt to tighten, fracturing a few of my ribs to protect me from hitting the dashboard. All the airbags activated as soon as the vehicles collided, giving me a terrible black eye and knocking me unconscious. Because we were hit on the driver's side of the car, my dad received the worst of the injuries.

My dad broke his left femur bone (which is the most difficult bone in the human body to break), his knee was messed up, and he also got a lot of bruises on his body. He had surgery not long after the accident. The doctors put a steel rod and screws in his femur.

Additionally, my dad had to stay at a rehabilitation center for five weeks so that he could heal, do physical therapy, and slowly learn how to walk on his left leg again. Even though the accident was three years ago, his leg still bothers him sometimes.

The Aftermath

Those weeks after the accident were difficult both mentally and physically for us. My mom was stressed about hospital bills, visiting my dad every day, taking me to and from school, working, and not having a car anymore.

It was during this season of hardship that we were grateful to have such amazing friends and relatives. My mom's friends brought over some meals for us while we were living without my dad (Mom and I don't cook). One of my aunts bought me a bunch of mini chicken pot pies and I lived off those for a while. Family members that I don't think I've ever met before sent us cards in the mail wishing us a quick recovery and sending their prayers.

Our car accident reminded us just how sudden life can change out of nowhere. One moment everything was going fine, and then our world was turned upside down. My dad and I almost lost our lives that day. I feel so blessed that we were able to get help from doctors, strangers, family, and friends.

My dad and I both have restored respect for our precious lives. We've stopped taking life for granted. Every morning, we wake up thankful to be given another day of life.

Live every moment to the fullest.

Always be thankful for each breath you take.

23 | uni graduate | aspiring author | overthinker | theatre kid

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