I almost became a widow.
Here's an excerpt from my journal:
April 26, 2002
"If I do not write in here, I will be an ungrateful daughter to my Father in Heaven, and I am so very grateful to Him that I must write...
My darling husband was nearly killed in an accident at work. He was ticketing someone and as he stood at their vehicle issuing the citation, a semi truck drifted onto the shoulder and hit his patrol car, driving within inches of him. The girls that were in the car by where he was standing thought he had been hit, because the truck came so close to him, and he was thrown several feet by the force of side wind. His patrol car is totaled, completely crushed on the driver's side.
As for my husband, he is bruised and sore from being hit with debris ... He felt the impact of things on his back, but he thinks his bulletproof vest protected him from any serious injury in that area. He also has a knife that he always carried on his outer right thigh in a slit pocket...it is destroyed, from something hitting it.
He called me after it happened. We talk often on our cell phones while he is at work, so at first when he called, it didn't really sink in that he was explaining that HE had been in this accident. At first, I thought he was saying that another trooper had been hit. Then, I thought he was IN his patrol car and was hit. When I finally understood the gravity of the accident, my heart just sank. I could hear his voice, but at that point, all I wanted was to see him, to touch him, to know that he was okay.
The moment I hung up the phone with him, I fell to my knees. My prayer was something like this: "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
He was much calmer when he finally got home. We embraced for a long time when he walked in that door... and he hugged and kissed his children just a little bit longer than usual. He had to call several people who had heard about it through the Patrol grapevine, and reassure them.
We both had a hard time sleeping, and we talked about it. We both had this visual of the accident in our minds. What "could" have happened continually played out in our thoughts.
We both talked about the fact that he could've died. We both talked about how different this day might have been, that I might have been a widow, planning his funeral. It is a sobering thought. One thing I said to him was that I was comforted to know that if he had died, there was nothing left unsaid between us."
I think of this every year on this date. I look at our lives and what would be missing if he were not here. Our 5 year old son would never have known his daddy. We have 2 children who would never have been born. I am reminded that every moment is a gift, and too often we just sail right through it...as though it is our right. We too often act as though the people we love will just always be there--for one more day, one more memory, one more chance to tell them how much they mean to us.
I am glad on that day, I was granted that gift.