A Lesson In Impermanence

My wife worked hard almost all of her life, except for a ten year period where she was very sick, and she decided, about 9 months ago to treat herself to her final car.  She’s never had a really nice car before and she sprung for a 2017 Toyota Camry. It was beautiful and I always enjoyed riding in it with her driving.

I need to tell you that my wife, Mary Esther, and I meditate regularly and part of meditation teaches us that nothing is permanent and that death is just another step into the unknown.  Also, that means that physical things like cars, televisions, computers, etc. are not permanent either and we need to accept loss when it comes.

To get back to this day, which is the only day we have, my wife was driving me to a doctor’s appointment—the kind of doctor that men go to when they hit their 70’s, men like me.  We were making a left turn to go up the ramp and get onto Route 9 in Chestnut Hill and two lanes of cars had stopped for us to let us go through.

All of a sudden, a car in the far right hand lane doing enough miles an hour came whipping down and hit our car so hard that we actually spun around in a full circle; I mean a full 360 degrees.

We were stunned.  This car has a right side air bag that comes out of the door and it exploded out so fast that I had no idea what was happening.  We were quiet. It was one of those moments that it seems as if time has stopped and all we could do was sit still and collect ourselves.

We were psychologically traumatized and thank God that we were not severely injured.  I believe that if the passenger side door didn’t have that air bag my ribs on my right side would have been crushed.  The rear tire on the passenger side of the car was bent in so far that it looked as if we were traveling on two wheels.

My wife and I finally began to communicate and we made sure that neither of us were severely injured.  The car that had hit us had part of its front end fall off. Even though we were totaled, in car and mind, I felt bad for the two older women that hit us.  One of them was driving her friend to have a Colonoscopy.

After the prep for a Colonoscopy, no one needs an accident.  When I had my Colonoscopy (multiple times) I was an accident waiting to happen.  The prep is so much worse than the procedure itself.

The police came, the ambulances came, the fire and tow trucks came and we took care of all the paperwork that we could handle on the spot.  The rest of the paperwork we had to take care of at home.

Thank God my wife is excellent at paperwork.  I can make up a story (this one really happened ) but forms throw me for a loop.  Actually right now I’m still recovering and Mary Esther is recovering also.

I had to go out and take care of a couple of simple errands and I was actually afraid to go out and drive.  It took some doing for me to leave the house.

I still have to reschedule my doctor’s appointment and I called and got the answering machine so that’s not done yet.  I believe that the beautiful car that Mary Esther bought for herself and for me too, the final car, has met its match and will not be on the road again.  It only had 5,000 miles on it so someone, if the car can’t be repaired, will get a great engine for their car. I’m not a gambling man, except for when I was young I gambled with my life, but I would bet that the 2017 Toyota Camry that we loved so much has bitten the dust and can only be sold as parts.

So we’re taking care of all the red tape that must be done and still recovering from the trauma we experienced.  Nothing lasts forever and every minute has its own surprise. We’ll have to do some extra meditation to come back to the sense of reality that was shaken by a spinning car and an airbag that saved my rib cage.

My life has changed a lot since I’ve been with Spare Change News and I never thought I’d even have a car again, let alone a place to live. When I started selling the paper, all I had was tracks on my veins.  Now there are just scars and I have left that life behind thanks to Spare Change News, and recovery groups and therapists.

Remember, when you wake up each day to give your loved ones a kiss before you leave the house if you have a place to live.  And if you don’t have a place to live yet, make a donation to an organization that helps those who are down and out.

Yep, that’s the Homeless Empowerment Project, that helps people help themselves.  It works for me even when I get thrown for a 360 degree turnaround. Bless you folks.  Really.

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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