While driving home from picking up the girls at their dad's this past weekend, Chase and I were almost side-swiped by a car travelling in the lane to the right of us as they attempted to come into our lane and apparently did not see us. Both cars were travelling at about 70mph and it was on I35N as it comes into south Dallas, so the damages would have been significant if not fatal. This lead to a discussion we had about our own immortality. I shared with Chase the following feelings I had been having.
A few of the latter months of my pregnancy, I began to feel very apprehensive about driving. This is not normal for me. I have always loved driving from the first time I got behind the wheel of my grandpa's ford truck at the ripe old age of 3 and "drove" it across his pasture while sitting on his lap (because of course I couldn't reach the gas pedal AND the steering wheel). I couldn't wait to get my driver's permit and would much rather drive than fly anywhere. But something changed and I began to wonder every time I got behind the wheel if this was going to be the day that I would die as the result of a car accident. Would my children be in the car with me? Would they be able to get me to the hospital in time to save my baby if not me? I even talked to Chase about what he would do if that happened. Would he please make them try to save the baby even if it meant that I died instead and he raised him on his own? I made him promise. What if only I died and the girls had to go live with their dad? How would they grow up? What kind of teenagers would they become? All of these thoughts every single time I drove. And I do ALOT of driving with my job. I was relieved when I began experiencing signs of pre-term labor and the decision was made that I would only see my local patients.
After talking to Chase about this and wondering where this sudden fear was coming from, it dawned on me. Malorie. I never met Malorie. I have lost people very near and dear to me more than once in my life to sudden death or illness and even suicide that leaves so many lingering questions. But for some reason that I really don't understand, Malorie's death has probably impacted me the most as far as instilling the reality and finality of death. At the time of her accident (for those of you who don't know, she was killed when the motorcycle that she was riding on the back of and was carelessly driven by her boyfriend lost control) I certainly liked my boss, Melissa, who is Malorie's mother and my co-worker, Natalie, who is Mal's sister. But I can't say that at THAT time I was terribly close to either of them. In fact, earlier that day I had my first one-on-one discussion with Melissa about some work happenings. I've thought to myself, maybe it's because her death was unexpected or because she was still so young with so much ahead of her (she was 19), but as a nurse I have seen plenty of young people pass away unexpectedly. I have pumped on their chests myself. I even manually pumped the heart of one young man with my gloved hand in an attempt to keep blood moving enough to get him to the operating room table, where he ultimately died.
After all of this pondering, I still don't have a rationale. I know that her passing has brought me much closer to Melissa and especially Natalie. I feel like I need to be a sister to Nat in some way. And I feel like I need to be more of a friend to Melissa and do my job so well that she can relax in her role and feel confident that things will be taken care of. I wonder why the big finger of God pointed at her daughter that night and not mine. The only answer I have to that is that our children are on loan to us by God. He never meant for us to keep them here forever. He carefully chose me to mother Autumn, Bailee and now Eli and obviously my work here is not done. Perhaps Malorie would impact more lives dead than she would've had the opportunity to alive. (I hope that doesn't sound harsh for lack of better verbiage). I don't know.
I have always believed in God and over the last 3 years it has become more and more obvious to me that He is working in my life and providing for me in a way that I would've never imagined possible. I had never feared my own death. I know that I'm not perfect. But I know that He created me in His image, which means He must have a temper! (joke) But now I find myself afraid of dying. Chase thinks it's because I have more depending on me, more to live for. Maybe it's because I have finally learned to enjoy life. That was almost impossible outside of my role as a mother before my divorce. Maybe so. But I think it has something to do with the untimely death of a beautiful, bright young lady that was loved by so many.
I wonder if she knows how much she has made this stranger to her regard her own life.
I think I'll go kiss my babies. Again.