6 years ago, I experienced one of the most challenging experiences of my life.
My sister and I were walking to our High School’s football game. It was a warm, September night, and the sun was still up, but was not scorching. I wore a bright red jacket and my sister wore a white jacket that I had handed down to her. We were taking our time walking, and kept meaning to cross the street when we would pass a crosswalk. We finally got to the last crosswalk we could possibly take and looked both ways as we began meandering across the street. We were more than halfway across when I heard a loud honk. I looked over in time to see a bright red car hurtling toward us. I grabbed my sister’s hand to pull her back, but I didn’t pull hard enough. The car clipped my sister and I watched as she flew through the air and landed on the hard concrete. The car came to a screeching halt, and surrounding cars did the same. I ran to my sister’s side where she lay on the ground, scratched up. My hands shook as I reached into my jacket pocket to grab my phone. A bystander called the police. I called my parents. I tried my dad first, then my mom. When they didn’t answer the first time, I dialed again. They picked up on what seemed to be the last ring. They didn’t believe me when I said my sister got hit by a car. My hands were shaking but my voice was calm as I explained to them what happened. The emergency responders arrived and moved her slowly onto her back and did an exam of how she was doing. I stayed by her side until my parents got there. I stood up, still shaking and moved toward the sidewalk. A woman came up to me, and asked what had happened. I turned to her to explain and broke down into tears. Through my crying, I explained the situation and she invited me into her home to get something to eat and drink. She was trying to make dinner for her little kids when I walked in and she grabbed me a Sprite and gave me a hug. She offered for me to sit down, but I was too shaken to sit. I headed back outside and went to my dad, as my sister was being taken care of. He stood there on the side, watching. I gave him a hug and he asked if I was okay. At this point, I couldn’t stop crying, I was in such shock. We went to the hospital with my sister, and I walked around the perimeter of the hospital for what seemed like hours while the doctors looked over my sister. Finally, I was able to go inside and see her. My little sister, who was in 8th grade. Who ran track and played basketball had come out with only a broken foot and some cuts and bruises.
For the next week at school, all I could think about was the accident. It affected me deeply. Soon enough though, the feeling went away and was pushed to the back of my mind.
Today, I’m writing this, not because I am angry or because I want to rehash old details, but because today I am grateful. I am grateful for the horn that honked and caused me to pull my sister back. I am grateful for the woman who opened up her home to me and shared a soda and her open arms while her children ran around. I am grateful to the first responders who helped my sister and to the doctors who took care of her.
Today I want to use this as a message. Never take a single day for granted. Share kindness with everyone, no matter who they are. Love deeply and without hesitation, and never forget to tell your loved ones just how much they mean to you.
Thank you to the kindness shown by everyone that day. Your impact on my life, and my sister’s is something that will stay with me forever.