The day I awoke with new eyes upon the world.

I’ve been debating whether or not to write about this all week because of the inherited challenges you deal with as a blogger by opening up your life to the world and writing about people who you know. But I experienced such a life changing moment that I have to talk about it. The whole incident has been playing over in my mind non-stop since it happened – like a You Tube video that won’t stop, making it difficult to get sleep. It really was a revelation.

I am working on a poem of this experience to capture the emotion and I haven’t written one for many years.

After last weekend I realized how special life is and how much love I have for the people around me that I instantly let go of all of the unimportant stuff that had been consuming me for some time. I’m a different person after last weekend’s wedding and I’m not alone. There is a lesson to be learned if not a higher appreciation of life gained.

Last weekend I was one of six bridesmaids in one of the best weddings ever. The flower girl was sweet as candy and the ring bearer stole everyone’s heart as he found his way down the isle dropping the pillow and picking it up over and over again.

The Bride was stunning in a princess style gown with a full skirt. The Groom glowed with love as she walked down the isle with bashful smiles and when her adoring father lifted her veil to present her to the groom. She was captured by her emotions and started laughing so she could prevent her tears – we laughed with her. She looked exceptionally gorgeous and very much in love. They said I do and it was perfect.

We headed to the reception with excitement and wanted to celebrate this new union. When we arrived, I was in awe. The ceiling was decorated with lights draped in white fabric and warm orange illuminations cast excitement onto the walls. The tables had tall vases with citrus colored flowers.

We took photos, we danced and we laughed like never before. I connected with friends that I haven’t seen in a long time and I connected with people I barely knew. I felt as if I didn’t have a care in the world. I made a fool of myself as I danced and I didn’t care. I had more fun at this wedding than I had in a long time. The night was incredibly magical. Everyone will remember this wedding for all of the above.

And then it all changed at about 12:30 am.

At the end of the night we were getting ready to send off the bride and groom. I went outside to wait and see the Bride and Groom waive their goodbyes.

The next thing I know, a car came out of nowhere and ran over the curb and hit the girl standing just a few feet from me! And then I watched the car jump all 4 wheels onto the sidewalk and slam into 3 more weddings guests. I looked up just in time to watch bodies flying through the air illuminated by the street lights all of which seemed to happen in slow motion. How is it you can go from the highest high to the lowest low?

It was such a disaster and there was nothing anyone could do about it – it happened so fast that many of us were in disbelief at first asking ourselves “is this real”? I called 911 along with many others in a panic. They were on the way but little did we know that there had been a nearby accident with a fatality so it took some time for them to respond. Thankfully we had several guests whom are first response fire fighters who took control of the situation.

Before help arrived I lost it. I cried my eyes out like I never have before. I had been standing only a few feet away from one of the victims. Only a few more steps and my life might be very different… I asked, “Why it was her and not me?”

I thought the girl who had been standing next to me was gone. She was non responsive with eyes wide open and wrapped around a pole and another two girls were moaning in pain in front of the car and later I discovered a guy had been thrown into some bushes. It was chaos.

The bride and groom came out. I saw the bride spin around in her beautiful dress with the lights flashing and she had tears of pain. I was angry. Why on their night? Why do they have to see this pain? I hated how helpless I felt over making it better. I hated that this happened on their day.

Fortunately everyone will be okay. There are no fatalities. Broken bones and scars but thank God everyone will be just fine. It is a truly a miracle.

After seeing this I am changed forever. My gratitude for the world we live in is only one of the changes that have come out of this; I can’t accept that the whole incident was “coincidence”. There are many dynamics at work here, and I am just trying to understand them all. I am thankful.

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  • GlenB

    I am glad to hear you are OK. It is unfortunate that a tragedy happened at such a momentous occasion. It is the kind of incident that truely makes one be thankful for good health, family and friends. It also puts into perspective how we can get bogged down with petty things that really don’t effect us.

    Be well and enjoy the holiday.

  • Max.

    These are the moments the change us, and help define us. They could be bad, good, unreal and even unexpected. Regardless what they are, they shake us to the core. And these are moments that help define us as an individual, as a person, perhaps even our character. The question is: Do these moments change us for better or for worse? And that, my dear, is for you to answer. Not to sound heartless by my above statement, I do hope that those involved in this tragic event make a fast and smooth recovery.

  • marian

    Weird ambivalence in both scenario and your text here. While reading I caught myself letting go an imaginary sigh and getting into a sort of quasi-romantic mood and then being slammed against the wall when reaching the next paragraph. I didn’t quite expect something like that to happen to you, to be honest, it has to be so unreal… If you might manage not trying to find a reason for all this, you might be better of, if you ask me. Maybe some things just happen. Yes, there certainly is a reason for everything, but it has not got to be all about fate and stuff. I hope you get better soon, I honestly do for reasons I can’t make up my mind about. If you ask me, it’d just be right and just. Bad things happening to people quite without an obvious reason might be good in the way that they push you into making a decision you previously didn’t ever think of or doing stuff that might change your entire life in a mere positive way, but they might also leave you shattered and drowning in a depressive state. All the best to you and to the others harmed in whatever way… I hope you find the time to work all this through.

  • Umut

    Its good to hear that everyones ok, so I can share my thoughts about your experience that may have sound too logical after a tragedy.

    We expect a smooth flow of events; if we are high now we never expect to be down the next moment, because thats how our mind works. Our brain continously forecasts the immediate future and that way it smoothens our perception of the world. But the world do not have to follow that smooth path. In fact it has its own unpredictable path. Its too hard to realize this because of the smoothing perception mechanism unless it is broken down by an experience like the one you had.

    When its broken somehow, what I see is a meaningless world. In fact I think this is common for everyone, the immediate effect of such an experience would be facing our deep existential problems. We live & die for no apparent reason. There is a world outside of us totally neutral & independent of the meanings we attach to it. Or we may think that we are an ingredient of that “outside” world, thus there is nowhere outside of us, we together make up this world. Either way it -being a foreign body in an ocean, or a drop of water that makes up the ocean- makes a negligible difference in terms of our control in our lives.

    To sum up I have to add a last argument to the discussion. There is no point of arguing if there is a meaning of our lives or not. Meaning is a must for us to carry on living. We all create our own meanings to survive. The ones who dont, commit suicide so that everythings is in place – no contradiction. Meaning is crucial, because our powerful brains need a framework to operate.

    At last I can finish what I started…! (this comment has totally gone out of my control, maybe i should never start) We have very little control on the general flow of events but we have a total control of how we perceive the world and how we live on it. We dont have to stay in our self-made framework of meanings especially if its too tight to breathe in. As Einstein said: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.

    It would be great if everyone could come close to death once in their lives as soon as possible. (and survive ofcourse) Sometimes its the only way for a paradigm shift in your life. I admire & happy for you.

  • John

    Thank you for sharing. Your story was very riveting. I am glad you’re okay.

    Although my story isn’t as violent, my mother is on her deathbed right now. She only has a few days left remaining, maybe less. I’m making sure to savor every moment her eyes meet mine. Life is so precious. It’s always nice to read stories that celebrate the joys of life and how we shouldn’t take it for granted because life can be taken away from us so quickly.

  • Ron

    I am so sorry you have experienced something so terrible. That feeling of frustration is called “Survivor’s Guilt” and normal after something so tragic. You are already doing some of the best things by talking about it and connecting with others. After six years in the Marines, and five years on the Santa Ana Police Department (being from Calif. you know the area), I would consider myself tough minded but after 36 years I still can not visit the Vietnam Wall in Washington. Those who have already posted did so because they care. I guess that you can consider us your mini support group. Hang in there.

  • Paul Noble

    Thank God you are ok – I understand your new outlook.

    Take care.

  • Karl

    My jaw dropped while reading this. I have had something similar, after a friend of mine commited suicide a few months ago i dont think things for granted anymore. Its pushed me to change and do things i didnt think i would normally do. Good to hear everyone is ok and thankyou for sharing your experience. I can understand why you werent sure if blogging about it was the right thing to do but by sharing your experiences it makes others think about it all.

  • Rob Schultz

    Wow. I’m very happy to hear that everyone is OK. It truly is amazing how “these things happen” and it can rock you to the core. I’ve been through an event similar to this and whenever I feel like I’m at my lowest I think about how lucky I am, and it helps me get my head straight.

  • DC

    There’s a reason for everything, even if we don’t always see it….

  • Don

    It can often be easy to blame God at a moment like this. We question the purpose of such a tragic moment. However, if this event gives the participants a greater appreciation for their many blessings and somehow brings us all a bit closer together in love and prayer, than God’s purpose may become more apparent. I wasn’t even present and I’m moved to gratitude that you were spared an injury. We’ll all pray for the quick recovery of your friends and a pleasant and less eventful honeymoom for the Happy Couple.