The following is the account of my son, Peder:
Five years ago, Jan 5 2003, was kind of a big day for me and my family. There had been a big ice storm the day before. My brother, sister-in-law and I were supposed to drive down to my Dad's to finally celebrate Christmas. My brother had just gotten married six weeks earlier and the honeymoon had kind of shifted when we celebrated the holidays. I was driving. The roads seemed fine. We didn't have any trouble with ice. None to speak of. Until we hit a patch that had been shaded by some trees. Well, long story short, my brother wrenched his shoulder, my sister-in-law broke her upper arm and punctured a lung, and I broke my face. Two weeks in the hospital and 10 plus hours of surgery to reshape my skull followed. I'll always have these plates in my skull and 1/5/03 was the last day I could see out of my left eye. As I said - a big day. The first year after had its moments. The first time driving again was interesting. So was the soft food diet while my teeth reset. And waiting for the swelling in my face to drop was incredibly disheartening. But the first year passed and with it a large part of the feeling of the accident being constantly around my shoulders.
The past years have been better. For that I credit the FP Gal (Peder's nickname for Sarah, his wife). She makes me feel wonderful and appreciated. She even thinks I'm beautiful (I know she's delusional, but should I argue with her?). So the five years have passed and the entire thing seems very distant. But I can't just dismiss it. It was still an important day. One of the landmarks of my life, I'm sure. But the important thing is that I'm here for this day. And I'll be here for the next. There's some kind of lesson there. Remember to drive safely. And ice should stay in freezers or in drinks.
I used to think about it everyday but don't anymore. Well, this time of year brings it back, but otherwise it's not a big deal. The simple lesson is that you don't know when your time is up. You shouldn't put things off forever because you don't know when forever is on its way. After the accident I felt bad because I really didn't have a legacy to pass on. The novel writing (Peder wrote a novel this past November) was, in part, a response to that. My daughter, Aurelia, is a bigger response. Not that I had her for legacy reasons or anything like that, but she's definitely a mark on the world. Speaking of children, having one of my own has made me reflect on how awful this must have been for all of the parents involved. What an awful phone call to receive! The news was ultimately good, but I can't imagine the stress of that situation. In some ways, it's easier to be the one in the hospital. Well, everything (and everybody) is fine now. That's the best we can hope for.