Life can change in the blink of an eye


mdeLast night I was driving home, just like any other night; when everything suddenly changed.

I’m still not entirely clear on what all happened, but one moment I was driving full speed through a controlled intersection, when I saw lights in my periphery that were much closer than they should have been.

I both heard and felt the impact, and I remember screaming.  The next thing I knew my car was full of smoke and I was breathing in the rancid air from the air bag that was deflating in front of me (seriously, that stuff smells/tastes awful).

The next 10-15 minutes were a blur.

I had been hit on the driver side from a black truck, but by the time I wedged the door open and got out of the car the truck was long gone.  My car had been pushed 10-15 feet sideways, completely out of my lane and almost into the vehicles that were waiting at the lights.  There was a witness, who I only know by the name Liam, who was concerned for my well being and told me I could rest in his car while he phoned the police.

Another witness named Mike followed the truck and managed to get its plate number at one point stopping the guy and talking to him (I don’t know how), before the driver took off – apparently down a set of train tracks.  Based on Mike’s assessment, the driver was clearly drunk.

Both guys, and a third witness whose name I didn’t catch stayed and made statements with the police on my behalf.  Eventually the police took my statement, my car was taken to a compound, and the tow truck driver brought me home.

 

I could have died last night.

I was hit on the driver’s side, and although I’m a bit sore today I’m fine.  No cuts, and no bruises that I’m aware of.  It was a bad situation, but it turned out about as well as it could have.

Still, a few moments different and I could have died.  And that’s something that’s been in my head all morning.

 

Any long time readers know I’m going through a divorce.

My wife blindsided me back in 2012 with the fact that she had “never truly loved me” and she “wasn’t sure if she wanted to be married anymore”.  And after that day, we really weren’t.

Whether it was poor communication or ignorance and naivety on my part really doesn’t matter.  Ultimately I didn’t see it coming any more that I saw the truck last night.

We loved each other, didn’t we?  How could we have gotten to that point?

I spent the next few years trying to understand what had gone wrong, and trying to make things better.  But nothing I tried mattered.  She had decided “something was wrong with us”, and who knows, maybe something was.  However that belief ultimately meant things just spiraled further and further as the years passed by.  Until eventually, I made the choice to take my life down a different path.

For a chance at a fresh start.

 

I had heard all the horror stories about divorce, and how people can become angry, petty and bitter.  I knew that wasn’t me, or what I wanted out of my life.

My marriage had failed.

Actually, failed is probably the wrong word.

Rather, my marriage had concluded.  Based on the road we had been on, it came to its logical conclusion – the only place it really could have gone. It was up to us to get it off that road before it was too late, and we didn’t, or couldn’t. That wasn’t a failure so much as it was simply an ending that was different from the one we had once hoped for.

Still, we had kids together that we both loved.  And due to those kids, we would be in each others lives still for many years to come; for the rest of our lives really.  For the betterment of everyone, the best thing that could happen would be for us to treat each other kindly and with respect for what we had once been together.  And to come up with a solution that may not have been quite what either of us wanted; but one that was amenable to both of us.

Well, I can’t exactly say that’s happened.

Things have devolved to the point where it’s impossible to have constructive dialogue, and everything has to be done through lawyers.  Thousands and thousands of dollars have been spent.  And yeah, it’s just money.  But it’s also money that would have been better split between us.  Money that could have helped us each start anew.

With the way things have gone, I suspect before too long we will be two people who hate one another.  And that makes me sad.

 

Last night something terrible happened, yet a number of complete strangers stepped up to the plate to help me out as best they could.  I’m sure they had places to go, but they put their lives on pause for a while to help someone they didn’t even know.

All I know them as is Liam, Mike and the other guy.  But I’m still grateful for the kindness they showed me.

Yet two people who once stood at an altar in front of assembled families and friends, who spent almost half their lives together, and who brought two children into the world together; can’t even find a way to walk away from that life with kindness and respect.

As I said, it makes me sad.

 

This isn’t about me.  My story is far from unique though.

I know a number of people who have gone through divorce, and so many stories are similar.  So many people end up completely hating each other, and can’t even be in the same room as the other person when it is all said and done.

I understand that divorce can be emotional for some people.  And I understand all too well what it means to be hurt by someone.

But some of the things people do, and some of the ways they act?  Anger, bitterness, pettiness, looking for “little wins”?

I don’t get it.

How does that help anyone at all?

That’s not the person I want to be.

 

I could have died last night.

I realize I’m idealistic, and I know I can be naive.

But if two people once came together out of love, even if that love is now gone they should be able to walk away with respect for what they once were.

anger-is-an-acid

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32 thoughts on “Life can change in the blink of an eye

  1. In my family is a couple that divorced. They have children. It was his fault but the marriage was not healthy for the previous year. She was gracious and because of that their children are fine. In fact our family, including them, was together for Thanksgiving. She could have been vindictive but she has always known that he is a good father and that their children deserve two mature parents. I hope you and your ex can manage. It makes all the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree that two parents still able to get along is best for everyone. Once kids are involved you are bonded for life. So I don’t understand some of the horrible stuff that happens.

      I think maybe the legal process causes part of it. But who know.

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  2. Drew, I am so glad you are okay after the accident and so sorry your divorce has devolved into only communicating through lawyers. It is so hard to be in a place where you look at the person you promised to love forever and find you no longer are able to talk to them. I can only wish you find the best resolution for your peace of mind.

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    • Thanks for the kind thoughts. I hope it doesn’t come across that I’m having a personal pity party, because that’s not the case. I’m actually in a really good headspace.

      The accident kind of shook me up though. And as I wrote, I find it sad that we can’t seem to come to agreement to end this cleanly. At the same time, perfect strangers are willing to stop and help someone in need. The world can be strange…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you’re okay Drew! It could’ve been a lot worse and thank goodness it wasn’t.

    I know a lot of divorced people who end up being good friends later. My cousin who left her husband for another man is still in touch with him. They never had an ugly divorce in spite of her cheating. She’s very high maintenance and I think the ex-husband was probably relieved she is no longer his “responsibility.” Lol! But it all worked out for both. They even spend holidays together sometimes. The ex-husband never remarried.

    A divorce can be a blessing in disguise. Imagine being stuck with someone who keeps you around and yet doesn’t love you anymore. Then you spent all your life being with this person when you could’ve used all the time wasted finding the right person for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Boots,

      I’m not sad about the divorce. I think it’s unfortunate that things went so very differently from what we once expected. However after that day in 2012 it was exactly as you described – being with someone who kept me around yet didn’t love me anymore.

      In some ways those years were wasted years for me. But not really, because I learned a lot about myself, and what I want/need out of life and love. It was also the catalyst for blogging, which I truly enjoy. So there was a lot of growth in those years.

      Any sadness I have is for how badly things have deteriorated. I would prefer to be able to say, “hey it didn’t work” and be happy for each other that we are able to move on with a life that will hopefully be more fulfilling.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrew, I am so happy that you are “fine”! Holy Moly! That is so scary. And yes it could have been so different at the end of the day. But you were so definitely meant to be safe and cared for last night. And to have three kind and comforting strangers come into your life. I suppose it’s just another one of life’s lessons – maybe just the lesson to remind you that life is precious? I don’t know. But if that wasn’t it, the meaning of the lesson will come to you when you need it most.

    A divorce is always sad and the path your divorce has taken is, sadly, not unusual. As long as you maintain your kindness and dignity no matter how your ex behaves, you will be demonstrating essential values of civility and humanity and love to your children. And I know what they mean to you. Congratulations on being the man that you are. Hugs.

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    • Hi Holly,

      I think that lesson has sunk home of late. I would like to think I usually/frequently approach life through an outlook of appreciation, so I do know it’s precious. But that night was a reminder that it can be fleeting as well, and we don’t necessarily have as much time as we would hope.

      As for the divorce…
      …well, there’s not much that I can say or do. I have very little control over how it goes, or how anyone else behaves. All I have control over is me. I would like to think I’m approaching it with kindness and dignity. But I’m finding you also have to be very firm on boundaries sometimes, because if you don’t it’s easy to be taken advantage of. So finding that line between kindness and being firm can be difficult at times. Ultimately though, I think I’m approaching it the way I feel is right.

      Thanks for the thoughts

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  5. I’m so sorry about the accident — wow, you were very lucky for multiple reasons. I suggest you give it time with your soon-to-be Ex. I divorced an attorney which took time and money to get a fair result. We had limited communication mostly through our attorneys during the process. Ours was a long marriage with kids in college. Once the papers were signed, the stress of the negotiations were gone and we get along fine. Give it some time and you may be pleasantly surprised in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Maggie, that’s good to hear (that you get along fine now). We will see how the process goes, and all I really ever wanted here was fair.

      Its a terrible process though, and I think it’s sad how badly things can devolve.

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  6. Hi I hope you feeling better now physically, though. I can sense your pain physically and emotionally. Physical can heal but emotions is hard. I had a car accident too, 1 stupid accident (I believe not on my part) for almost 10yrs I’m driving in my hometown many years ago… and yes makes us realized life can change in a second. I think it’s best to ask your ex… why she’s angry about being divorced and if not then why it seems you still do not get on well after all the hassles?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Vinneve, I feel surprisingly good a week after the accident. I’m currently driving a rental while the insurance company does whatever they’re doing, but vehicles are replaceable.

      Regarding the divorce, it’s clear we can’t talk – at least not about that. They say time heals all wounds, so maybe one day things will be different. As I said, due to the kids we will be in each other’s lives forever. I’m not optimistic though.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well I’m glad it had some impact.

      I truly try to live my life with kindness. Don’t get me wrong, I can be a selfish jerk sometimes I’m sure. But by and large? I would like to think i live a life to be proud of. And it’s truly sad to see any couple that once loved each other devolve into antagonism and anger.

      I could have died Friday night. And it really puts into perspective the pettiness of how divorce often looks.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Winfred,

      nice to hear from you! Better days are definitely ahead, but really, things are largely good even now. I have a pretty great life. Sure there are bumps on the road every once in a while, and this one is a bit bigger of a bump than some of the others.

      Taking the road metaphor a bit further, at the end of the day I’m on a pretty good road, the scenery around me is great, and although my destination matters less than my journey, I know it will be a good one!

      Thanks for the kind thoughts!

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  7. ‘Rather, my marriage had concluded.’
    I had a naive, simplistic, old school belief that marriage was monogamous and for life. I attached great importance to the commitment aspect of marriage, through thick and thin. I guess everyone marries initially with the hope that it lasts until death parts them. I now have no preconceptions with relationships and, as my ex wife and I gradually drifted apart over the latter stages of our 25 years together, maybe I became more attached to the ideal of marriage than the other person in it!

    Now I am in a new relationship with a wonderful, very loving woman but I have no expectations for the longevity of our relationship. It will last as long as it lasts, whether that’s another week, a month, a year or for the rest of our lives. When one or other of us is no longer ‘in love’ with the other then it will end, hopefully without too much acrimony but grateful for all the good things we had together and for the love we shared.

    I hope you eventually find yourself in a new and loving relationship when the time is right for you and that the inevitable emotional fallout from the breakdown of your marriage doesn’t have too great an impact on any future relationships.

    Best wishes Drew. I also hope you and your stbx eventually find an amicable way to relate to each other, post divorce.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jon,

      I like your approach to relationships moving forward – it will last as long as it lasts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hopeful that I will find something that will last for the rest of my life – and to me monogamy is still a prerequisite for any future relationship (and a deal breaker if it doesn’t happen). But I never want myself or anyone I am with feeling they *have* to be there. I want each of us to be there by choice, because we WANT to be with each other. And actively choosing each other each and every day.

      Which leads me to some mixed views on marriage.

      I still like the idea of it. Actually, I love the idea of it, and would have no issues doing it again. EXCEPT for the fact that I am learning how difficult (and expensive) it is to get out of one. I mean geez, it’s not like it should be an easy thing to get out of. Marriage still IS a serious commitment, and shouldn’t be this disposable thing. But forever is a long freaking time – anything can happen, anyone can change. I hope not, but if someone wants out then they should be able to go. The SHOULDN’T be able to screw over the other person in the process. And my experiences with divorce in Canada are less than pleasant.

      As for future relationships…

      I could be wrong, but I really don’t think my experiences will “taint” my future. If anything else, I hope I’ve learned a lot and will be more appreciative of what I have, and of the potentially fleeting nature of love.

      Thanks for the best wishes.

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  8. Just curious, is divorce in Canada more complex than in other countries? I thought it was pretty much on par with most developed countries. The complexity seems to me to come in when one / both parties in the divorce are not able to come to agreements without involving a lawyer. Certainly I don’t mean to say that you are the difficult party in your divorce, but when the other person is fighting about child support/ child custody and I know not what else, that is too bad.

    Best to you. I feel confident that you’ll find a forever monogamous marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ramona, I can’t speak to divorce in other countries; and I don’t think my situation is particularly complex.

      Its simply a matter of two people who have some very fundamental differences in how they approach things.

      Eventually this situation. I suspect the way the divorce is being handled will do considerable damage to everyone involved, and the only ones who will be happy are lawyers. But there’s nothing I can do beyond approach it in the way I feel is right.

      I have no idea what the future holds, but I do believe in me and how I approach life. There have been some very difficult lessons learned here – both about myself and about others. Still, I have great hopes for my future.

      Thanks!

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  9. The shock of a nasty accident like that often opens up our thinking to the bigger picture.
    I’m glad you were able to walk away.
    I’m sorry your divorce has come down to talking through lawyers. It’s a painful way to communicate. And expensive, no doubt.
    I wish you a brighter 2018.
    SWxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would like to think I’ve always taken a “big picture” approach, and it usually helps keep me grounded when time are, ummm…

      Less than ideal 😊

      The accident was a reminder however that I don’t necessarily have the time I would think. So although appreciation is a regular part of my life, it’s a reminder not to take anything for granted.

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