Jadrian got in a car accident.
She's fine, physically. Well, aside from a fractured skull. Not skull. Forehead? That area above her right eyebrow where she hit the window. (You can't tell without having seen the hospital scans.)
She wasn't driving.
She was sitting. Talking. Looking off to the side. Not even conscious that she was simply trusting that they'd make it through the intersection without an issue.
Except that someone ran a red light and before she knew what was happening she felt the car she was riding in swerve, get hit and spin them around through the intersection.
And she lost it.
She panicked. Screamed. Yelled. Cussed.
And the driver boyfriend tried to tell her he was okay. His leg was stuck, hurt, but he was okay. And he tried to calm her down, but he couldn't.
A witness ran to her door, confused at her deafening screams. Manic. Absolutely manic.
She told me that they took them both in the same ambulance on stretchers. That her boyfriend reached out his hand to take hers. Telling her that he was okay, that she was okay, that they were okay, that they would be okay.
And she calmed down a bit, she said.
But then, at the hospital, they put them in separate rooms. "I saw him, Mom. He was talking and telling me he was fine and he looked fine - but I couldn't stop screaming. I thought they would come in and tell me that he didn't make it. I was waiting for them to tell me that he didn't make it."
They gave her three doses of medication to calm her down.
After "The Accident," Jadrian swore she would never drive again. That wasn't feasible, of course. She was 18 years old living in the country. To get anywhere she would need to drive. But we didn't push her - because pushing wouldn't help. She was a bundle of nerves twisted tight, trying her best to put on a strong face.
Once, we all got to the car to go some place and she freaked out because she would have had to sit in Avery's seat. We didn't realize it right away; but once we looked through the panic we saw what it was. So, no, we didn't push her.
Her fear, of course, was another accident. I'm not going to lie: it was mine, too.
I was afraid that something would happen and she'd get "trigger happy." I don't know how else to explain it other than, I was afraid something would happen to scare her into thinking the same accident was happening again and it would end badly.
I was afraid because I knew what I was doing when I would drive: I would find myself watching those utility poles. One after the other. Judging if they were too close to the side of the road, my mind flashing forward to an imagined car slamming into the pole, wondering what would have happened if they had hit that pole instead. Or that one. Or that one.
I felt like every curve was taken too fast, every ditch line was too close, every stop was too last minute. (I still feel like that.) And I wasn't even in the accident.
If my fears and anxieties were this heightened, what on earth was coursing through her veins?
We finally started to get her back..... and then this happened. A year and a half later, this happened.
Lord, please let me know what to say. You allowed this to happen again, help me say the right thing.
I prayed as I listened. I prayed as she described how out of control she felt. I prayed as she told me she doesn't understand how she could be in a second accident less than two years after the first. I prayed as she described her panic and fear of death even after learning that the only injury her precious driver received was a fracture in his leg.
Then she told me how much it hurt her to see how guilty her boyfriend felt. How, although he was not speeding, was not texting, was not goofing around, was not drinking - he still felt solely responsible simply because he had been the one driving her. It had been a beautiful evening, around 6:00 pm (yes, the same timeframe as the other accident), and he had simply been driving through an intersection. "He didn't do anything wrong," she said. "It was just an accident. It wasn't his fault! And I hate seeing him beat himself up."
There it was. At least to me: The Reason.
Sweet baby girl, don't you see it? Don't you recognize the guilt you carry and the responsibility you wrap around your soul that has no right to be there? It's not yours, let it go! Stop beating yourself up and start loving who you are. Recognize that there is more to you to label yourself with than the current labels you choose. You are good and smart and kind and precious and loveable and worthy of more goodness than you can imagine! Be who you were meant to be - not who you have sentenced yourself to be.
We talked about that. What it looks like as she watches the young man she cares so much about beat himself up and take all the blame, which just doesn't make any sense since the blame is not his to bear. About how him feeling guilty makes her feel awful and him feel worse and how it's just a vicious circle that doesn't seem to end so I asked her: Do you understand how guilt can eat a person up? Do you now see how we cannot stand to see you carry around that guilt, too?
She's going to be okay.
Because I know that sometimes, when you're worst nightmare comes true, somehow you make it through to the other side.
I do not pretend it will be easy. There will be nightmares to overcome, flashbacks to step through, triggers to gain control over. She'll have to reign in her fears and get her anxieties in check and she's going to be okay.
But it wouldn't hurt if you helped pray her through this one, too.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.