I write about my worst memory.
|This is a true story, although Jacob’s name has been changed.|
By Lisa McCourt Hollar
I had just pulled out of my driveway and was heading… somewhere, I don’t remember where, which is really strange since I remember everything else that happened with crystal clarity. A ball went bouncing into the road. Automatically my eyes shifted to the side of the road, where I knew there would be a kid running after the ball. Running full speed, I don’t think he would have been able to stop, even if he’d seen me, which he didn’t. Slamming on my brakes, I served. I wasn’t going fast, I had just pulled out of my driveway, but I wasn’t going to be able to stop in time. I continued to turn the wheel, hoping… praying, I would miss him. His head turns and he sees me and begins to turn to, moving in the opposite direction of my car. But it’s too late. I feel the bump as my wheels run over him and my car comes to a stop.
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.” Screaming over and over again, my daughter has to shake me out of it.
“Put the car in park. You have to check on him.”
Climbing out of the car, the boy is laying on his back, my tire resting on him. People are coming out of their homes, from across the street. I collapse beside him, crying.
Someone pulls me away and puts their arms around me, hugging me. She starts praying, and I join in. “Please, dear Lord, let Jacob be alright.”
“I’m having trouble breathing.”
“Just be still Jacob. We’ll get you out.”
Sirens getting louder. The woman and I continue to pray. She doesn’t let me go, just holds me. I hear the paramedics saying they have to lift the car off of him. Then they have him out and are strapping the boy to a gurney.
Once he is gone, an officer comes over to take my report.
Crying, I tell him what I remembered.
“I’m so sorry, I tried to stop.”
“His mother told us she saw the whole thing. She wanted to make sure we knew it wasn’t your fault. Can you drive home?”
Glancing at my car, I start to cry again. “I don’t think so.” I was too shaky.
“I’ll drive her home.”
“I was grateful to the man. It was only half a block down and I felt silly having to have someone drive me, but I wasn’t sure I could do it. It was on the ride I found out he was Jacob’s uncle.
Later I had my sister drive me to the hospital. I had to know if the boy was going to be alright. I had to know he was alive. On the way, a family member called.
“You shouldn’t go. They aren’t going to want to see you and from a legal standpoint, it might look like an admission of guilt.”
“I’m going. If someone had ran over one of my kids, I would want them to come. It’s the right thing to do.”
The emergency room was filled. His entire family was there, grandparents, aunts, uncles…. His mother came up to me and hugged me. We cried. And then they did the strangest thing. They made a circle around me and prayed. Not for Jacob, but for me. They prayed that I wouldn’t let this destroy me. They prayed that I would be able to forgive myself for what happened and they prayed that I would realize it wasn’t my fault. And then we all cried some more.
The doctor came out. He explained all the injuries Jacob had. He would need surgery to repair a ruptured spleen, but he would be ok.
I went to work that night. I wasn’t sure if I would. I didn’t want to drive. My step-mom made me.
“If you don’t get in that car and drive to work, you never will again.”
So I did.
A month or so later, Jacob came home from the hospital. I went to see him. He was so small, even though I learned he was twelve years old. He looked younger.
“What do you want to tell her?” his mother asked.
“I’m sorry I ran in front of your car.”
The words struck me as funny. Half laughing, half crying I said, “Dude, I ran over you. You don’t need to apologize.”
The thing I will never forget is the love I felt from his family. They were concerned for me, even though their son, nephew, grandson was going through surgery. I had been the driver of the car. If they had wanted me dead, I wouldn’t have blamed them. But they prayed with me instead. They are the perfect example of God’s love and forgiveness. Jacob’s father told me a lawyer approached him, wanting to bring a civil suit against me. He told him no.
I kept in touch with them for a while, but the memories are sharpest when I see Jacob. It’s hard. I moved and if I see them in the store we stop and talk. Then we move on. I pull over and yell at kids that I see playing in the street.
“Do you know I ran over a boy once?”
“Afterwards I realized that probably sounded like a threat. Jacob’s mom told me that he does the same thing.
“Don’t play in the road! I got ran over once when I ran in front of a car.”
A week after the accident my sister called to tell me that there was another kid hit by a car, not more than two blocks from where I ran over Jacob. It wasn’t the driver’s fault, but a mob crowd formed and pulled her from the car. They beat her until the police arrived.
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