I’ve been thinking recently about a time during my life. A moment when I almost ended my life. I was seriously considering leaving the planet and something stopped me.
It was 1987 and I was having a bad year. My husband was having an affair and my daughter, Jordan, was having surgeries, illnesses and just plain trouble. My everyday life was spent working, taking care of my little girl and doing my best to cope with what life handed me. And no, I didn’t make this bed and I wasn’t about to sleep in it either. I did marry young, but I married for life and love. I had a child a little over a year after we were married and she was disabled, as you all know.
This particular part of my life, this year was just about the worst I can remember as a young adult and one afternoon, coming home from Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida I was finished. My daughter was with me, fresh from a cast “redo” as she kicked off her first one and she was bubbling in the back seat, oblivious to my struggle with impending death.
I had missed work, no help with any part of this month of struggle with Jordan and I was driving. I was miserable. My heart was breaking and I just didn’t have anywhere to turn. As I drove down the desolate highway, every overpass or slightly high point in the road I imagined driving off and down the embankment. I just didn’t know if it was tall enough, or drastic enough to end it all. I could not come away alive after all of this.
Finally, I saw it. The perfect spot to end all the misery. An overpass with sides low enough where my car could jump the rail and head deep into at least a 30 foot drop. My knuckles were white on the wheel and I was more than ready for what I was about to do. I was near Bushnell. The middle of nowhere. Nobody would even find us for days probably.
One more blink, one more thought and the bridge was there. I sped up to about 70 mph and at the top of the climb, just before I turned the wheel a hard right, two of my tires on my car blew out. The noise was immense. Jordan was crying and I couldn’t believe it. I jerked myself out of the trance and on to the side of the road. I sat there. I sat there for at least an hour. It was hot. There were no cell phones. Nothing. I just sat there, crying. I couldn’t even get this right.
I don’t remember how I got a hold of my father in law, but Jim came a few hours later with two spares and a smile for Jordan. I don’t remember the next trip to Shands and I don’t remember feeling that close to the edge again. I do remember coming home from Shands hospital a few years later, with two children this time. Same road. At almost the same place, going about 65 mph, my van blew a rear right tire. This time Jordan was about 8 and Justin was the baby. I didn’t cry. I did sit there to collect myself for a few minutes before getting out and changing my tire with the spare on board. Nobody stopped to help and I was black with filth. I did it myself and I was ok.
Now you can say God intervened that day or it was chance or I was just lucky. All I know is I didn’t kill myself that day and the next and the next and soon enough, I realized that Jordan, Justin and now my Darien are in my thoughts during times when I feel close to not being able to bear it on a particular day going bad. I think it was just because I couldn’t afford new tires, as was my life then and that was why I was not leaving. I had to stay for a little while longer. Just long enough, to see this face below. My husband took this photo two days ago and Jordan is the happiest she has been in a long time.
I hope if she or any of my children ever get to the edge, they will know they can come to me and talk to me. I never had that, ever. I had to suck it up, day after day, week after week, year after year. You will break at some point. I did. My tires did. We are all ok.