I was heading to the Galleria, and on my way out the door, I asked my little brother, Jason, if he wanted to join me. His eyes lit up, and he told me to wait just a minute so he could put his shoes on. He ran to his room, grabbed his shoes, put them on, and then we headed out the door.
My car at the time was a little bit old. If the car wasn't moving, it would start to overheat. It was one of those hot summer Texas months. We were driving onto the freeway then ended up in bumper-to-bumper parking lot traffic. As in, the cars DID NOT MOVE.
About ½ mile in the distance, I saw a large fire and a helicopter circling about. I had no clue what was going on except the fact that the traffic was not moving anywhere.
Well, we sat there for 4.5 hours! To make matters worse, my car overheated, so we had to sit in the car without AC.
I was feeling so upset. Once we got out of that traffic, I planned to just head back home because I was tired, sweaty and wasted a practically good summer day sitting in traffic.
Once the cars started moving, we drove past the accident. An 18 wheeler had smashed into a car, and the car had caught on fire. Because of the fire, it was impossible to determine what kind of car it was.
I later found out that there was a woman driving the car, and she had died in the accident. She was a wife and mother to 2 small children. The accident occurred in the same lane I was driving, about 2 minutes ahead of me.
It was about the same 2 minutes that it took for Jason to go grab his shoes and put them on.
Luckily the women's children were not in the car with her at the time of the accident. In fact, she had just dropped them off. But still, they lost their mother.
As I sat in my car upset about being overheated, a family lost their mother, wife, and friend.
This experience happened to me about 18 years ago, and I still remember it vividly. I walked away from the situation startled and sad. Now as a mother, I can't imagine what the family must have gone through.
When I think about this memory now, I feel so much gratitude for life. I hope that I can appreciate every moment that I have and not take time for granted.
I hope that I can appreciate the lazy mornings cuddling with my daughter, the feeling of "home" with my husband, the obnoxious family video calls where everyone is talking at the same time, the laughter from my witty sarcastic friends, and the time I have to work on my passion projects The Matbakh.
It's so weird how different things would be if my brother already had his shoes on.