If I’ve been a bit quiet on here lately, it’s because there has been a bit going on in my personal life. I wasn’t sure at first if I should share it, or if I needed to, but every time I think about it I feel compelled to write it down; if only for myself. First and foremost, Eric, Mops, and I are okay. It’s been a rough two weeks, but we’re okay.
Last month, we found the vintage car of our dreams. A 1985 Bronco in beautiful condition. We were elated, after many months of searching for a car that could be both a daily driver as well as a car we could take camping and on road trips. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I have a weak spot for all things vintage, including cars. We have been fortunate enough to drive a newer car for the better part of this year for work, but as that partnership is coming to a close, we felt it was time to start searching for a replacement. Our plan was to find the right car that could serve as an every day car, and also to replace the vintage van that we’ve had for a few years. It’s a beautiful van and one Eric was sad to think of parting with, but it just made sense for our needs to find something else.
So about 2 weeks ago, we made the decision to travel all the way to Oklahoma to pick it up. Some of you may have seen my story frame and reel that was live for about a few hours before I deleted it. We were elated after picking up the Bronco, and starting the long drive home. I had finished sanitizing every surface, our luggage was in the back seat, and we both had a cup of coffee and a good podcast to listen to. We were about 5 hours into our trip home, both grinning and so happy, chatting about all of the places we would take the car on adventures, and what changes we wanted to make. I liked the seats (so comfortable!) but we both agreed we needed bigger cupholders. Eric was blown away by how many updates had been made to the engine, how well it drove and how quickly it started. There was a bit of sway (a common issue with this model) that we discussed fixing when we got home, to have it handle better and be safer to drive.
The sun was setting, and we decided to drive to Amarillo for the night. It was cold, and we were thankful for the heater – a snow storm had hit the area the night before (despite having been sunny just a few days prior) and the temperature began to drop even lower as the light faded. We stopped for gas and grabbed a few snacks and bottle of wine for later on. I called to make a hotel reservation, just an hour outside of Amarillo and we got back on the highway. The roads were icy, but I wasn’t too worried. I don’t drive often – it’s mostly Eric because he has always been such a careful driver, and having grown up in the midwest, he’s driven in every type of weather. He had slowed down to be safe, and was focused on the road. I wasn’t worried.
I was looking down when it happened; we had approached a bridge and hit a small bump where the highway met the bridge and started sliding. Black ice. I looked up as we started to drift towards guard rail on the right. Eric started to correct and the Bronco began to slide and then sway. That damn sway, that we had just talked about fixing. It was so dark, and I didn’t have time to say anything or even to really panic as we started to spin backwards, towards the center of the highway where there was a ditch and a cable between us and the opposite direction. I simply knew we were going to crash and tried to go limp as we kept sliding and eventually as we rolled and flipped into the ditch and landed on my side.
Eric held onto the steering wheel, and I relied on the seatbelt, with my phone still clutched in my hand. It was cold and dark and Eric was hanging above me, still belted in and looking down at me, asking over and over “Are you okay? Are you okay?” I was stunned but I just kept repeating “I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay.” I spit glass out of my mouth, thinking it was a tooth, and felt my head, where I knew the roof had caved. It was tender and hurt, but I couldn’t feel a cut or blood. I spit more glass out and looked up at Eric. We both said “I love you” more times that I could count. Eric told me later that when we hit, he was certain that I had died, and that the silence after the crash was the worst moment. Now, outside of the car I could feel the cold creeping in fast, and could hear other cars driving past, trucks skidding, and correcting.
“We need to get out of the car in case someone else slides.” Eric was moving above me in the dark and prying open the driver’s side door which had crumpled in the impact. He eventually pushed it up and open, unbuckled his seat belt and pulled himself out through what was now the top of the car. I looked to my right where the window once was and could see a pile of glass and metal, with some of the contents of the car now lying next to me. I grabbed Eric’s phone out of instinct from the glass, and was still holding onto mine. I unbuckled my seatbelt and pulled myself up and out through the drivers side door.
It was so cold and I was wearing socks. I had taken my shoes off and pushed the seat back only twenty minutes before, enjoying the feeling of the heater on my feet. I didn’t see my shoes anywhere and there were still cars driving past, going way too fast for the weather. Our headlights were still on, illuminating the icy grass before us, and the mud that was solidifying in the cold. Eric helped me climb down the underside of the car and we held each other and said “I love you” again, continually asking if the other was okay, waiting for the shock to wear off and injuries to present themselves.
We had to get out of the ditch as more cars slid and corrected and then drove off. We waited for a break in between the cars and ran across the highway, down the embankment and out of the way of where we though another accident could happen. The headlights were still pointing straight ahead, one on top of the other, and we both agreed that if we saw another car slide, we would have to throw ourselves further down the embankment to get away. We watched as a truck pulled over and the driver quickly asked if we were okay. He let us know that there was another accident up the road – six cars – and that someone would get to us soon. He drove off and I felt my feet going numb in my wet socks. Eric crouched next to me and I sat down and he put my feet into his lap, trying to warm them. In the dark, we just kept telling each other that it didn’t matter, the car didn’t matter, we were just so thankful to be alive. And we waited for help for another 30 minutes that felt like a lifetime.
Eventually a state trooper rolled up – I remembered vaguely that we were in Texas – and took a flashlight to the Bronco lying on its side. I could see the long and muddy path we had taken, illuminated in the beam, and we shouted from the side of the road “we’re over here!”. We ran across the road and were let into the police car so I could warm my frozen feet. In the light inside of the car we could finally see each other and I looked at Eric for a long time. I can still feel that relief. Knowing that he was okay, that we were okay. My head hurt, throbbed, and my shoulders and neck felt stiff. I was so cold but slowly warming up, cursing my lack of shoes and a proper coat as I brushed more glass out of my hair. We watched as a tow truck flipped the Bronco back over and saw our suitcases and my shoes lying in the mud. There wasn’t a window left on the passenger side and the roof was crumpled, right where my head had been. We had had the car for only a few hours and we just watched in numb shock as it was loaded onto the tow truck.
I’ll spare you the details of the following 4 days, and just condense it all here. We were dropped off at a motel in a small town in northern Texas to sleep for the night. The following day it was just as cold, and the power was knocked out in the whole county. We had snacks from the gas station and the wine bottle that somehow didn’t shatter in the crash, and that was it. We planned how to get home and were told by the receptionist at the front desk that she had no recommendations. No taxis, no cars, and no ideas, even if the power was on. She handed us a flashlight and on our second night we slept in the dark, with our coats on top of the blankets.
On the second morning the power came on and we were able to get more food from a gas station. We walked to the tow yard and saw the Bronco, got a few things out of it that we had missed the night of the crash. My makeup bag was in the back, and every bottle in it had shattered. I threw it out and we asked a man working at the tow yard how to get to Amarillo so we could fly home. He offered to drive us if we paid him cash to do so, and we agreed. So we crossed our fingers, and climbed into the stranger’s car, unable to come up with an alternative plan. We got to the airport, our flight was delayed, and we knew we wouldn’t make the connection in Dallas to get home. I hadn’t cried the whole time, but sitting on the airplane, mask on, I cried for the first time because all I wanted was to be home. Eric held my hand, and we spent a night in Dallas before eventually making it home.
We’ve been home for over a week now, we got tests for Covid that thankfully came back negative despite how many maskless strangers we had been around. We got yelled at in Amarillo for wearing masks outside and I remembered not even caring as we rolled our slightly dented suitcases across an intersection. I’ve been taking more baths with epsom salt than ever before and have never been more thankful for CBD as I recovered. My head no longer hurts and my neck is almost back to normal. I’ve posted scant updates during this time, sharing sponsored content that I had created previously and avoided answering questions about what was going on. I just wasn’t ready to share until now.
So that’s what has been going on in my world. We are okay, if a little shaken, and have had the car hauled back here so we can decide what to do next. I’m slowly replacing the things that were broken in the accident, but am endlessly endlessly thankful to be okay, to be alive, and to be with Eric. Wishing you all the most love, and thanks for your patience and kindness during this time.