Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My 2015 highlight? A car accident which almost killed me. (Part Three)

My accident was...
... a wake up call
... a blessing
... the highlight of 2015

One might think this odd to call an accident that, but allow me to explain why.

I realized that life can be over in half a second. (no exaggeration) Because of this chilling fact, I had to get a few things in order. In other words, I took it upon myself to do some "life admin".

Let me break it down.

I decided that I want to live a life of no regrets. This includes mending broken relationships. How to do this? By being kind. What seems like a simple gesture, is indeed life-changing.

After I decided that I needed to be kinder to more people, I realized something else, which is on the other end of the spectrum.

I had to stand up for myself. Even if this meant being a little harsh.

As the saying goes, "Be firm, but fair."

Standing up for myself meant change. I had to alter some things in my life in order to regain my own power.

You know, when more than 2 people tell you that you have changed, you're bound to start believing it. In my case, at least 5 people told me that I looked and sounded different. I looked sad and didn't sound as energetic and bubbly as I used to be.

My accident taught me to listen to my inner voice. My gut. I re-examined my personal and career goals and decided that something had to give. 

I resigned from a practically new work venture. It was hard, but necessary. How did I know that? Because it just felt right.
A month later after taking that difficult decision, I feel a lot lighter and free!
And guess what? I don't have a single regret.

I have spent the past three weeks in my hometown, East London. Realizing that time is ever so precious, I have used my time off to do many things:

Reconnect. Refresh. Rewire. Restart.

I maintain that my car accident was a blessing in disguise. It has forced me look at the world with new eyes. Eyes that are filled with even more love and appreciation. I will never stop giving thanks for the fact that my life (and my mum and aunts) were spared and that we didn't have serious injuries.

I'm ready for what life has in store for me. In my dad's words, "It's time to rock and roll."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015



It is something which is often underrated & can be expressed in different forms.
A kind word.
A kind gesture.

It may mean something so small and perhaps insignificant to the giver, but to the receiver, it could be life-changing.

Being kind means caring deeply for those around you. It is being loyal & helpful, without expecting to gain from your actions.

It is not putting up a facade to those around you...pretending to like or care for your peers. This falseness eventually catches up & you may end up exposed, baring your true colours.

We all make mistakes in life. Mistakes can lead to regret, anger and possibly self-loathing.
This is wrong.
Be kind to yourself.
You're only human.

Life would be meaningless if it weren't for all these potholes. Its purpose? To test our patience & resilience.

...and then be kind to those who did you wrong. Our path crossings are inevitable & those who have hurt us in any way need to be treated with [genuine] kindess.

I have learned that kindess is the best form of forgiveness.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My 2015 highlight? A car accident which almost killed me. (Part Two)

I'm so grateful to my friends who prove to be more like family in times like these. They meet us as the hospital, take us out for lunch and to pick up medication before dropping mum and I off at home. These friends make living away from my own family bearable.

It's about five hours after the accident and mum and I are back home. We are sitting on the couch in silence. I haven't even opened my windows - which is the first thing I usually do when I get home. We are reeling from the past few hours. Mum doesn't say much, but she busies herself with the necessary admin that comes with such unfortunate events.

The sun sets over Sea Point, making my apartment dark and cold. As I take a hot shower and prepare for bed, I can't stop the movie playing over and over in my mind. It's black and white. Slow motion. The white car zigzagging downhill not knowing that it's going to hit me.


...and it repeats.

I talk to my cousin who says something so profound that it brings me to tears.

"God has a lot more for you to do."

I say my prayers of gratitude and fall asleep.

The following morning, I am in a lot of pain. All over.

When I take a shower I catch a glimpse in the mirror. Half of my left breast is bruised. I find another bruise below my navel and another one across my thigh. I am grateful for these bruises as they remind me of the importance of a seatbelt and how it saved my life.

It's hard to believe what happened. The other driver told the cops that he was changing lanes and lost control of his vehicle, causing him to crash into me.

I refuse to spend time moping at home so mum and I take a bus (my first time) to the Waterfront. It's Sunday and I'm sure it will be busy, but I feel like I need to be outdoors and walking. However, I find that I am slow in movement and I am in pain everywhere.

I don't know why exactly, but I become emotional. Mum tells me that it's a normal reaction and she comforts me. I walk around the Waterfront, but tears stream down my cheeks as if uncontrollably.

Again, I say my prayers of gratitude that my mother is with me.

My hired car arrives on Monday and in every phone call my dad encourages me to drive. He reminds me of the knocks I've taken in life and that this is something I can overcome in no time. I hope he knows how much his encouragement means to me.

When it's time for me to actually take to the wheel again, I drive on 20km and am weary of every single oncoming car. My heart races, but I don't show my mum that I'm nervous.

I have the week off from work and I spend my days taking it easy and go for treatment. I decide to travel to East London with mum on Thursday and spend the long weekend at home. The pain in my body increases and my emotional state is that of a roller coaster.

I feel the need to be with my parents and the thought of being alone in my Cape Town apartment leaves me with a hollow feeling. I have no choice, but to return to the Mother City. I have to go back to work. I'm not entirely excited about returning, but I have no choice. Or do I?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My 2015 highlight? A car accident which almost killed me. (Part One)

It's 11am on a cool Saturday, 2nd of May.

I'm going to one of my favourite spots in Cape Town: Hout Bay. Mum is in the passenger seat. Aunt from Johannesburg is in the back seat. I've just picked aunt up from Brackenfell and I spontaneously decide to take Kloofnek Road. I want to show aunt the gorgeous view of Camps Bay. You know which one - that stretch that makes you feel like you're on top of the world.

I love it up there, but I seldom take this route. Today is an exception.

"Your ears are going to pop, masi (aunty)" I say as my little red Hyundai i10 follows the winding uphill road. I am aware of my speed (about 40km) and I am aware of the red tour bus behind me.

In mid sentence, my mum shouts out something. It looks like a slow motion movie.

From the corner of my eye, I see a white car zigzagging towards me. It is as if in slow motion.

I can't do anything.
I can't swerve.
I can't accelerate.
I can't brake.

I hear the loudest bang ever.

And within half a second, I have experienced my first car accident.

I look to my mother and my aunt. We are alive. It takes me a moment to register what has just happened.

A man comes to my door which I can barely open. I see wires, nuts, bolts and...a wheel lying on the road.

I realize that the wheel belongs to the car that hit me. It hit me so hard that the vehicle spun and turned in the opposite direction.

The police and paramedics are there within five to ten minutes. I ask if the other driver is ok. They tell me he is. I can't really make him out in the crowd of people until we are both giving our statements to the cops. There is a lot of traffic and some people slow down to look at the commotion. I am amazed there is no shattered glass on the road.

I avoid looking at my little red baby. Her front right is crushed. I can barely recognize her from the front. I notice that the other vehicle hit me merely inches away from my door.

By the grace of all Gods, my legs are not broken and I don't have a spot of blood on my body.

I think I am in complete shock. More than anything I am taken aback by my mother.

She has gone into autopilot. She's asking me for phone numbers and already trying to organise a hired car for the weekend. We have to to go a wedding in Stellenbosch tomorrow. That is, after all, the reason my mum and aunt are in Cape Town.

This is all so surreal.

The paramedics attend to my aunt. She has a gush on her forehead, but is concious. They insist she has a full check up and they take her away on a stretcher. I feel like I'm having an out of body experience.

My mind races.
Should I call my dad and brother?
Not yet.

Too many people are trying to talk to me at the same time...the paramedics, my mother, the cops, the towing people.

It's time to leave the scene of the accident. The paramedic hurries me up saying that my vehicle is causing congestion and needs to be towed away.

I don't have enough time to pack everything from my car. I'm assured that my belongings will be safe.

No one tells me that this may be the last time I ever see my car again.

We have to travel in an ambulance to MediClinic where mum and I will be seen to. Aunt will be taken to another hospital.

While we wait for a doctor, I call my dad and brother. They have no idea bout the severity of the accident, but I hear the panic in their voice rise when I tell them we are at the hospital. I try my best to sound upbeat, but inside I am quivering.

My mum and I look at each other and we just embrace each other. We don't speak. I feel like I just want to hold her and kiss her face. It seems unreal what has happened in the past two hours. I say a billion prayers of gratitude for saving our lives.

I don't feel pain, except a burning sensation in my chest. I'm sure it's from the seatbelt that saved our lives.

I feel like I want to cry.
But I can't.
The tears are lodged somewhere in my throat.

The doctor gives me painkillers and sends me for X rays upstairs. I call my friends, who tell me they will be there as soon as possible.

I'm wheeled away in a wheelchair and I feel myself falling asleep. Perhaps the medication is making me drowsy.

I'm probably going to wake up from this dream any moment now.

This is a dream, isn't it?