6.25.2013

october 24th, 2012: the (almost) accident.

i know this blog is typically all about me posting a million trillion photos of my life and taking everyone through what i tend to refer to as the incredibly extended reader's digest version of my life, via captions to those photos.

but this post is a little different.

this post is about probably the most terrifying moment in my young life, to date.

one that i was lucky enough to experience with my best friend by my side, miss micaela jean anderson.

i don't think i can put into words exactly what happened as clearly as micae did, as she was able to type up our experience almost moments after it happened, before she hopped on a plane to head back home to virginia. while i drove to the park-and-wait outside the slc airport and proceeded to park + turn off my car, wrap myself in a giant blanket, and curl up in my seat, somewhere between calling my family members, praying, crying, and eventually dozing off for the next few hours, as i unfortunately experienced for the first (and hopefully last) time in my life what it is like to go into real shock.

so here we go. direct from micae's journal:


October 24, 2012

I have a lot to write about my trip, which I’ll do on the airplane, but for now while I’m waiting for the plane I have to write about something that just happened to me. I am so blessed to have my life and my family and the great friends that I have.

Today was the day that I had to leave Utah to head home for the final stretch before my mission. I was worried about getting to my flight on time. Sarah and I woke up just before 6:00am. We both slept on the couch last night so that we could be together and make sure we both woke up. After getting ready for the day very quickly (as in just printing my boarding passes, eating cereal, and brushing my teeth), we loaded my stuff up in the car and were ready for a quick trip to the airport. Sarah asked if I would say a prayer before we left. I usually like when she says the prayer better, but I agreed. I just prayed that we’d be safe briefly and that my flights would be on time so I would be able to get home without a hitch. I also thanked Heavenly Father for the chance we had to spend together this week and for the opportunity that we have to serve missions and briefly dedicate our lives to Him. Then we were off.

We didn’t talk too much on the way to the airport. We had a few good laughs (mostly pertaining to bad lip reading) and we had a nice nostalgic trip down memory lane where we talked about where we were a year ago and even two years ago. We just talked a bit about how much we’ve changed and how much we will yet change before we are living together again. (Nothing new, we tend to be sentimental like this often).

There are two ways to get to the Salt Lake City Airport. The way that I am used to is to exit off of I-15 onto 215 and follow that path to the airport. Before I knew it, Sarah was passing that exit to this other route to the airport that I was unaware of. After passing a few exits, I began (or rather continued) to be skeptical that this route actually existed. She talked me through finding a map on her phone so that I could see that indeed there was another way to get to the airport.  My fears were calmed briefly and we sat in silence for a few minutes. We saw the signs to the airport and I officially felt content about the new path we were taking to the airport.

For the next few minutes, I have no idea what we were talking about. Maybe we weren’t saying anything at all. I have no idea because what happened next clouds my memory of anything else. Around the time that 215 (or at least I think it’s 215) merges back onto I-15, Sarah was driving in the far right lane preparing to exit towards the airport in a few moments. We were driving behind a fairly dark car that was large enough that I couldn’t see ahead. All I remember at this point is that Sarah made some sort of typical exclamation and slammed on her breaks. All I could see was the car ahead of us slowing down slightly (or at least I thought they were only slowing down slightly). That car swerved out of the way revealing to me a huge red truck flipping over the triangle on the road that merges the two lanes. Sarah swerved. All I could look at was this massive truck coming directly toward us. It flipped probably 3 times and began to slide. Without even looking around, Sarah followed her instincts and swerved as far as she needed to go to avoid the car. I could see out of my window that the truck came within 2 feet of hitting the front corner of my side of the car. On the other side of the car I saw that we had gone all the way across the highway almost hitting the median on the other side of the car. This all happened in a span of maybe 15-25 seconds. Once it was clear that we were safe, the reality of what had just taken place swept over us like a wave. We both started to cry uncontrollably. All I could think was, “What would my family have done?” “We almost died.” “Oh my Heavens, what about my family?” Sarah reached over her hand and I grabbed it, clinging on as tightly as I could muster (at this point my whole body was numb with fear). Bless her heart, the first thing I remember hearing her say was, “I hope everyone behind us and in that car is okay.” That was the first time I even considered the safety of other people. We didn’t have much further to go to get to the airport. Not much was said that I can recall during that trip. I remember us exclaiming things along the lines of, “we’ve been so blessed” and other things. It was mostly a blur after that though. I just remember not being able to control the crying. We were both shaking. When we pulled up to the drop off, we both got out of the car and just clung onto each other crying. I can’t imagine what I would do if either of us was hurt. I didn’t want to let go. At this point, our families are all over the country and all we had were each other. We cried for a moment longer then grasped each other’s hands while Sarah prayed audibly and thanked the Lord for his protection and His hand, which was so obvious in our lives. She asked him to bless those who were in the accident and also driving behind us. She pleaded for us to have safety in the rest of our travels before concluding the prayer. We hugged again in tears and I tried to crack a joke about defeating 17 bears as I walked away towards the airport. Sarah left and went to the park and wait where I imagine she will sit all day until she finds the strength and courage to drive home. After I checked my bag, I called my mom while I waited in security. As I described the accident to my mom, I almost cried. I could hear a shake in her voice as well. I just can’t wait to go home and see my family and hug them tight. I called my dad after I got through security and he suggested that I write down how blessed we were. Heavenly Father is so involved in our lives and I feel his influence in particular today. I can’t even imagine how things would have been if we had been hit. All I know is that I am beyond grateful that we didn’t. All I want to do now, is share my testimony of how loved we are by our Heavenly Father. He is everywhere. I am so grateful for my family and today I am especially grateful for my dear Sarah. We have been through so much together and I feel so blessed to be part of her life and have as part of mine.

My flight is delayed and I’ll be cutting it close to make it to my next flight on time, but at this point, I don’t care at all what happens. I have my life and I have my family and I have my best friends. That is all that matters.

****************

thankfully,
we found out that no other cars were involved in the accident, besides that one truck that flipped.

thankfully,
medical responded and there were no fatalities and they said that everyone involved was going to be okay.

thankfully,
despite a few failed attempts to leave the airport without bursting back into tears, somehow reliving that moment again in my mind each time i got close to an exit ramp, i was finally able to leave the airport a few hours later after a few reassuring phone calls, prayers, + a warm, comforting nap in my little car.

life is precious.
life is scary.
and everything can change in literally just a matter of a few brief moments.


i'm so glad i still have my best friend with me. and even though we are technically far apart, since she is now in taiwan and i am getting ready to head out to brazil in just a short little while, we are never really separated. because we are both going forth as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. and i couldn't be more excited to go. more proud to call micae my best friend. more happy and grateful and so many other thoughts i can't even put into words to know that we were able to experience this together and make it out okay. i'm so grateful for my best friend. for the gospel in both of our lives. and the comfort that that alone provides. i'm so grateful for the plan of salvation and the knowledge that families are forever. that no matter what happens in this life, no matter what tragedies may come our way or difficulties that may plague us, we are never alone. thanks to our Savior, Jesus Christ, we will all be reunited again once more, in the heavens above, no matter what happens here on earth.

and when all else fails, that is one comfort i can't imagine ever living without.

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