Yesterday there was a mass-casualty Motor Vehicle Crash near my home in Orange County, NY. DH and DS1 were stuck in the traffic nightmare that ensued when they shut down all North and Southbound lanes of the NYS Thruway (I-87) between the exits – a stretch of about 17 miles. So far, there have been 7 fatalities from this single-vehicle MVC (6 yesterday, 1 more died last night). None of them were children but that hardly seems like a consolation. Anyhow, after gawking at all the grisly photos of the crash scene, I’m reminded again of my appreciation, gratitude and respect for all First Responders. I could never deal with the emotional fallout of seeing things like this so I bow to those who can and do. And I promise to keep doing my part (admittedly, the easy part) focusing on injury PREVENTION – if they promise to always be there to help with the really difficult tasks.
I’ve played the part of the crash victim on a few occasions in my life but never had the chance to say “Thank you”, in person, to those that first came to my aid. So, to the guy in the White Suburban (who wound up being a volunteer firefighter) that I nearly ran off the road when I lost control of DH’s red ’73 Mustang back on that September 1996 evening on the Saw Mill River Pkwy – Thank you. I hope you know how very grateful I have always been for your care and comfort in those first, scary, post-crash minutes. And another big “Thank you” to the driver of that highway crew truck who parked his huge vehicle with flashing lights behind my totalled Ford Taurus on the shoulder of the NYS Thruway on that rainy autumn afternoon in 2005. It was such a relief to have you protecting my poor wrecked vehicle (with toddler DS2 and I inside), from the rest of the Interstate traffic whizzing past us at 70 MPH in the rain. You were our guardian angel before the Trooper and the tow truck and DH arrived to help. I’ll always remember and appreciate what you did for us that day.
As I sit here on my couch today – watching a great Dallas/Bears game, having a cold beer, playing cards with my 6 year old – I’m careful to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that I slept well last night. I can guarantee that there were plenty of First Responders (here and elsewhere) who didn’t sleep at all last night. I don’t know how they’ll manage to cope with whatever they saw yesterday but I hope they find a way because we all need them to be ready for the next emergency call. I don’t know if “thank you” helps to speed the healing process in any way but just in case it does – thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m so glad you do what you do – so I can have the luxury of focusing on what I love to do (keeping kids safe and sleeping at night).