Again – Chapter 18 – JohnA Passaro
It was an accident
That intertwined our fates.
“BettyJane, hey BettyJane,” I yell out from my chair in Jess’s room, attempting to get BettyJane to come back into the room for a second. She just headed out the doorway, leaving, and not on the best of terms with me.
Something is telling me not to not let her go home angry with.
Her head reluctantly appears back into the room.
“I just want to let you know that you are a special person, I love you, and let’s not fight over something so stupid.”
The exchange takes just a few seconds.
She smiles and she now leaves on good terms with me.
Fifteen minutes later my phone rings.
It is BettyJane.
She is visibly upset.
“John, I’m okay.”
Not a good way to start a conversation, I think to myself.
Hearing BettyJane say my first name has immediately put me on edge.
“BettyJane, what happened?!”
There it is again…
“I was driving down Nichols Road, I swear I wasn’t on my phone…”
I’m waiting for the next sentence with bated breath….
“And out of nowhere, going in the opposite direction, on the other side of the highway – this truck goes out of control and jumps the meridian and is flying through the air – coming right at me – it was like a transformer movie. I didn’t have any time to do anything…”
“Are you okay?” I beg to know.
“I’m fine – the truck landed in the middle of the road, right in front of me.”
“I stopped inches from it.”
“Another few seconds and I would have been dead.”
“How about the driver of the other car – is she ok?”
“Yes, there was another nurse also coming home from Stony Brook, and she is with her.”
How do I measure the loss that was just averted?
How does one measure the destruction of a life averted by a bomb that doesn’t go off?
How do I add up the value to my life from the Long Island brush fires that stopped one block from my
home a few years ago, or the fact that my neighborhood did not get rained on during Super Storm Sandy, or that my children have made it home safely from school every day?
It is very hard to add up the value of events that don’t happen.
But do not mistake their value.
That’s the problem with near misses; one doesn’t know how to gauge their impact on one’s life.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking they have no value.
Their value is infinitely unknown.
There was a time in my life when I saw a family going through a tragedy. I would feel for them for a few minutes and then I would go on with my life.
Now, I literally ache with them, and I think about them, and I wonder how I could help them, not for a few minutes, but for a real long time.
I don’t have answers to why terrible things happen in life.
All I know is that a few seconds of love transformed my life.