Last 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.