Today is National Tell A Story Day. Now, I normally take these “holidays” with grain of salt, but they sometimes offer an interesting venue for bloggers and provide something to write about. So, I’m going to tell you a story from my youth…
I’ve already written about my older brother, Stephane. What I may not have written about is that he was born of a different father. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right? But back in the early 70’s, (Yes, I’m old! Let’s move on…) it was a bit more of a big deal and my brother’s father chose not to be in my mother’s life and by proxy, never met the son he helped bring to life.
My brother had an all too short and complicated life, to be sure. One of the first things my father did when he got engaged to my mother was to adopt my brother. My father loved my brother dearly and considered him his son from the very beginning. So my brother certainly had no lack of love in his life and there was never any need to have contact with the man who contributed to his birth. And contributed is a very loosely used term…
In 1999, my family was struck by the death of my paternal grandmother. Bear with me, as you may be asking what this has to do with my brother.
In accordance with her wishes, my grandmother was interred on Grand Manan, a small island south of New Brunswick. My parents and I travelled there together to see her buried and visit my father’s childhood home.
Once we returned home to Northern New Brunswick, I had a scheduled shift at my work that night. So I hopped into my vehicle, which at the time was a small Suzuki Sidekick. A light falling of wet snow had happened a couple of hours prior and the roads were slush-covered. Because the temperature was dropping by several degrees, much of this slush was freezing into ice.
I started driving towards the next town over where I worked, at about 6:30 pm. It was only a 20 minute drive and I felt I had plenty of time to get there safely. The sun had already gone down, and the small, secondary rural highway had no illumination.
About halfway into the drive, my vehicle drove over a patch of black ice and started into a skid. Given my limited driving experience at the time, I wasn’t able to regain control. Although I had not been speeding, my vehicle had enough momentum to swerve and wander across the road.
My vehicle strayed into the opposing shoulder where it struck and broke a speed limit sign. The undercarriage got hung up on the stump of the sign and my vehicle overturned into a ten-foot deep water collection irrigation ditch. I mumbled a silent prayer and closed my eyes as my vehicle went into this dark pit, thinking I was in my final moments…
Several minutes passed before I opened my eyes again to see dirt against my driver’s side window. I didn’t bother to move for several minutes, thinking I was dead and that this was what happened after one’s death. Until the pain kicked in. My neck and back began to scream in pain and I spasmed. Okay, so I wasn’t dead. Which meant I had to get out and get help, since my vehicle was deep enough that it wasn’t visible from the highway.
I scrambled into the passenger seat and climbed out. When I reached the roadway, an older gentleman in a minivan stopped. I might have been in shock, because he seemed much more panicked than I was. He ran up to me immediately and asked me what happened. I was able to recount the incident lucidly, and he asked if I needed an ambulance. I didn’t believe anything was broken, and although I was in a fair amount of pain, I explained that I would be fine if I could find a telephone to call my parents. The man offered to bring me to his home up the road to use his phone. I accepted.
Obviously, one of the worst phone calls a parent can get is that their child has been in a collision. My mother was no exception. She and my father rushed out to the scene where my mystery man was kind enough to wait with me. One of my uncles had come out with his heavy truck, and was able to pull my tiny Suzuki out of the hole.
I explained to my mother what had happened, and she begrudgingly thanked the stranger for helping me and getting me to safety. She was acting oddly and seemed to be almost sheepish while speaking. Now, anyone who knows my mother knows for a fact that she has very rarely in her life ever been sheepish. It didn’t hit me at the moment and I wouldn’t know the reason why until later.
I was brought to the hospital where the diagnosis was simply pulled muscles in the upper back and neck, likely from seizing up prior to the impact. I was released and my mother brought me home.
Once settled, my mother sat quietly next to me and asked if I knew the man who had helped me, to which I answered that I didn’t recall ever seeing him before but he seemed familiar to me.
“That was your brother’s biological father…”
I was floored. The reason he likely seemed familiar was because he bore a mild resemblance to my brother. I know some who are a bit skeptical may think it was a coincidence. But what are the odds that at that exact moment on this exact night, the man who had fathered my brother would be travelling along this secondary road?
Was my silent prayer answered? Did my brother hear me and send the only help he could? Was this karma’s way of helping my brother’s biological father help even the scales for walking away all those years ago? I’ll likely never know.
This is one of the pivotal events in my life that has had me always believing that all things happen for a reason. Given the freezing temperatures and the lack of cell phones back then, who knows how long I may have waited for help if this man hadn’t come along?
An answered prayer? Or some form of divine intervention? I’ll leave it to you to decide. But there it is, my story for today…☯