You Okay?

Someone I love was just in a car accident. They’re okay though their car—not so much. Broadsided at 50 mph in a crowded intersection and they honestly did not see it coming. Mercifully did not because there was no time or ability to evade a collision with the oncoming car.

Aches and pains and swelling and brain fog are the consequences of this unsolicited life experience. The color spectrum one observes as the bruising develops in the following days is much like the astounding colors of a glorious sunset.

But not glorious. Painfully not.

“Oh, thank God you’re okay!” is what will be said countless times by all who care as the details of the incident are relayed. If you’ve escaped with your life, perhaps even without any broken bones, you truly are OK and the sun will come up tomorrow and you will have another day of life to be thankful for.

And yet.

You’re not always OK and you may be the only one who knows it or perhaps the only one who doesn’t.

A crime I witnessed haunted me for years and prevented me from some very normally safe activities out of fear. I wasn’t the victim. I was not harmed. I was “OK” and yet internally, in the recesses of the mind, I continued to relive the moment, imagining it could happen to me—that it WOULD happen to me if I allowed myself to be in a similar situation. I carried around a buried terror that lay in a shallow grave.

Emotional trauma induced by an accident is mostly invisible and often born in silence. In aloneness. So often those around us, in their well-intentioned way, want to restore things to the way they were “before.” They aren’t really being insensitive when they repeat, “thank God you’re OK.” Oftentimes it may actually translate to being eternally grateful that you’re still alive. And to think upon those consequences may be too difficult for others to process.

THANK GOD YOU’RE OKAY and . . . should any level of accident or injury occur to you (heaven forbid) allow yourself time to sort through your emotions. Share with trusted others who know that there’s more beneath the surface and that its okay for awhile that you are not.

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