Today is Day 9 of 31 for 21, a blogging effort to raise awareness of Trisomy 21. Sorry I forgot to mention it in my last couple of posts!
I’ve been doing pretty well physically since the accident Sunday afternoon, except for the huge asthma attack that it triggered and has made breathing, walking and talking difficult. It’s intensified all the pains in my neck and back from the accident but that’s getting better so I’m not worried even though it’s hard.
What’s not so good is how I’m feeling emotionally.
I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last few days. When I was hit by the car, I had a blank spot in my memory from the time I was hit until the time I was sitting on the curb holding ds4. Then I started to have flashes of memory that took time to piece together – some things have taken me until today.
Firstly was realizing that I was knocked down into the street. When I was asked after the accident about what happened, I said the car hit me. They asked if I fell down, and I said no – I didn’t remember getting up so I must not have fallen. I did keep wondering how I could have been hit and not fallen. Then I started getting pieces of memories and strained to put it together with physical clues – my new shirt that had a hole in the elbow, painful scrapes on my right arm, rough scuffs on the outside of my right shoe, soreness throughout my right side; trying to understand why all my flashes of memory were from the perspective of someone on the ground, not an upright position – I finally realized why. I pieced this together in time to tell the doctor at the emergency clinic what happened, not that it helped since he was horrible.
What’s been replaying over and over in my mind is what happened to ds4. About fifteen minutes after the accident a bystander said he saw what happened from down the street and ds wasn’t hit. I accepted it as a fact even though it contradicted what I had been sure happened until that minute. Since ds was lying in the street, the only other explanation was that I must have yanked him so hard he landed there so that’s what I believed. But I kept thinking of my position when the car hit, how I only had time to start to turn toward him with the intent to get him to safety and I didn’t remember pulling him – and I have memories from then so I should remember it.
How could the car have missed ds? I couldn’t see how it was possible – I was hit by the front right of the car and he was closer to the center of the car than I was since he was holding my right hand a step or so behind me. It didn’t occur to me to question the bystander’s assertion, until today I suddenly realized it was physically impossible for anyone to have seen what happened from anywhere but on the other side of the crosswalk close to us; certainly it was impossible from down the street. It was when I screamed at the driver that people looked around and by that time the accident had taken place. Assuming that’s when this person looked up, he would have only seen that she didn’t roll over ds as she drove right next to him in the street.
I wanted to think I had pulled ds to safety but the physics of the situation didn’t make sense. Hundreds of times I’ve replayed in my mind the position ds4 was lying in, I was lying in, his shock response for hours after the accident – and it became obvious the only way he could have been lying exactly parallel to me in the street but further up, is that the car hit us both at the same time and because he’s smaller, he was propelled further. When I screamed at the driver, it’s because I saw him lying in the street and knew she had hit him. It wasn’t until when this bystander said something that I accepted his perspective without questioning him due to my emotionally disconnected state . If I had been able to think logically, in one second I would have realized it didn’t make sense.
I haven’t brought up the topic of the accident to ds but today I wanted to check out how he was doing. Carefully, I said, “That was kind of scary when we were crossing the street a few days ago.” He answered, “Yea, it was very scary when the car bumped us.” Me (taken aback since I didn’t expect him to have any memories of the accident, but playing it cool): “Oh, did the car bump you, too?” Him: “Yea, and it hurt me so much.” I tried not to discuss what happened with my kids around but even if he happened to overhear me speaking about it, he wouldn’t have heard me use the phrase ‘bumped’. (Later I realized he used that term because this is how I usually talk when I discuss the importance of safely crossing streets – ‘we do such and such so we won’t get bumped by a car’, to play it down so it won’t be a scary idea for them.) And he’s definitely heard me repeatedly tell everyone how grateful I was that he wasn’t hit, so he can’t be repeating anything he heard somewhere else. It was obvious that he has a clear memory of being hit by the car.
Then he asked me if I wish I had a car. My kids periodically ask me this so it’s not unusual. I told him, no, I’m pretty happy with what we have. Did he wish we had a car? ‘Yes,’ he told me, ‘because then we could have crossed the street in front of the other car (in our car) and we wouldn’t get hurt.’
Thankfully the car wasn’t going fast enough to cause either of us serious damage. But emotionally I feel traumatized and victimized. The woman who hit me is a lawyer and purposely withheld the information she knew I’d need to file a report. I was so shell shocked; I knew she should give me the car registration information but I just couldn’t insist on it. She went to her car to get the information and was taking what seemed like a long time. She waited until the two guys from Hatzalah (emergency responders) who were there to help were talking to each other, then motioned me over.
At the time I thought this was very inappropriate. I was just hit by a car, and I should walk to you? I should have asked one of the guys to get the information for me, because it hurt me to walk and I was emotionally drained. I was just trying to keep myself together. But it’s because I was in a state of shock that I couldn’t ask for the help I needed. And so when with difficulty I got her first and last name and phone number and she didn’t offer anything else, I didn’t push her. She was acting kind of cagey but I assumed good intentions on her part and figured we’d call and get whatever we needed afterward. Maybe the laws are different here than in the US and an Israeli driver would certainly know better than me what to do, right?
I was wrong. We went down to file a police report the next morning but were told we couldn’t file a report without all of her information, so dh called the number she gave me. Her husband answered and said was already asleep for the evening (at 9 pm?) and when dh asked him for the information, he said it was dark outside and didn’t feel like going out to the car to get it. Dh called a number of times the next day, but clearly she now knows his number and isn’t answering.
And this is the hardest thing for me after all of this. Why do we have to undergo pain, trauma, emotional suffering and have to pay the financial price for on top of it all? How can someone not care about doing something like this? How could she not want to do whatever she can to try to make up for hitting us in broad daylight at a crosswalk? It’s so much not my way of relating that I simply can’t process it. I’m really trying to let go of feeling like a victim and reclaim my power, but it’s hard to be in a country where you don’t know the rules and you don’t have an inherent sense of who to turn to, how to get things done…and you’re up against someone who knows exactly how to finagle all the loopholes.
I’m furious with this woman for having done what she did and having no remorse or shame. I hate that she could care less about our suffering, particularly when I think what could have happened to ds. But I don’t want to be filled with anger and resentment. I know it will hurt me more than it will hurt her – it already is. I haven’t been able to sleep well since the accident. For the first two nights it was reliving the terror of seeing the car about to hit us and not being able to protect ds4, repeatedly seeing his body lying in the street and not knowing if she would stop before she ran over him. Now I’m processing about how she’s responding and that’s not lending itself to a restful mind.
You know what gives me some comfort, what I try to focus on? That everything in this world happens for a reason. And that everyone pays the price for being the person who they choose to be; even if it seems she’s getting away with this now, she has to live with being a person lacking in character. I don’t want revenge, I don’t want bad things to happen to her. But I know that ultimately there’s no such thing as getting away with anything, no matter how it seems in the short term.
So if you ask me how I am, I honestly have to say that my mind is too full of thoughts I don’t want it to be full of. It’s going to take some time to release the emotions all of this has brought up but I’m hoping to slowly move into a better mindset.