Room for Althea Anderson

chapter 4

The Accident

I remember being 6 or so and finding a picture of a woman in a casket in a drawer near our dial old-fashioned telephone. Who is this woman, I perplexed. Her death was the result of THE ACCIDENT.

Everyone has defining events in their lives. Events that shape them to the core of their being whether they realize it or not. Just ask Dr. Phil. But what about events that shape their lives before even being born? This is the story of how a car accident framed my life before I was even born. It starts with an alcoholic drunk driver who had been arrested before and would be arrested again for drunk driving. I don’t know this man, but I know he spent some time in jail for his offenses and he should have stayed there. He obviously wasn’t able to rehabilitate himself and must not have gotten the help he needed. Then of course, there are those individuals, probably like this man, who simply cannot be rehabilitated.

It started with a happy family consisting of three daughters to my Dad and his first wife , three sisters to each other, one Christmas party, a drunk driver, and THE ACCIDENT. My Dad and his first wife were going to a Christmas party a week or so before Christmas. And don’t you know that that drunk driver slammed head on into my Dad and his wife head on. Because my sisters’ Mom was not wearing a seatbelt, she went straight through the windshield and died instantly. My Dad in his infinite wisdom, was wearing his seatbelt and survived the crash thank God, literally, and to my knowledge only had to have a steel rod put into his arm with some tissue grafted from his hip to help it heal. This event shaped my life COMPLETELY. In fact I would not have a life without this tragedy happening.

If he had not been wearing his seatbelt, his chance of survival would have been almost null. NOTE to self and YOU: always wear your seatbelt.

My sisters (half sisters) were about 2, 4, and 7 when this occurred. Imagine the pain and confusion that this drunk man wielding this huge car-shaped death machine caused to my family-to-be. That’s right. I would not exist without this tragedy. My Dad met my mom years later and after being told they could not have children and 5 years later, BOOM, here comes Althea. Yes, my Dad’s new wife, my mom, then brought me into this world.

Well what did my sisters think? I can just imaging. A bit of jealously mixed with some excitement is what I imagine. That is the number one most defining event of my life and I wasn’t even in existence. Have you ever thought about that? What came before you, good and bad, that shaped you so dramatically? What led to your existence (besides the obvious)? It took me a long time to figure out my place in this damaged family, and it left me wondering for years if there was room for me…. Maybe I had to make my own room, figure out who I was, push things aside for my existence. It wasn’t easy and this theme has repeated itself every moment of my being ever since I was born. How specifically has this affected me? More to come…