wings and things

The weird experience

on May 8, 2015

The other day I met one of my brothers, BJ, for lunch at the restaurant where Ming works so Ming took his lunch break at the same time. The three of us talked, ate, and laughed together and then, just as Ming was about to go back to work, he told us that on his way into town that morning, he had lost control of his little car on a big roundabout and it had spun full circle on the newly wet roads (it is autumn here so we’ve had some rain).

Ming said that a truck, and its driver, slowed down and witnessed his near-accident but luckily there was no other traffic as it was very early in the morning. Okay so BJ and I digested this information as we finished our meals then we went our separate ways.

At the time, I didn’t quite process that Ming had nearly been in another car accident/caused another car accident/come out of a potential car accident alive/not injured anyone in a car accident that was his fault … and that everything was okay … until I got into my own car to go to the nursing home. I began to perspire….

It was a cool day but by the time I got to the nursing home I was quite hot. I went to sit with Anthony for awhile before going on duty and, as his room is always so hot, because he feels the cold so badly, I thought my perspiration was due to that.

An hour later I was on duty in the dementia cottage and absolutely drenched in perspiration – every single strand of my hair was wet and the carer I was working with probably assumed it was menopause.

Anyway, I did my shift, sweatily and with no conscious thought of Ming’s near accident, then went home, still so drenched in perspiration that I had to put the air-conditioner on in the car even though the weather was cold. Just before I knocked off, Ming texted me saying, “home safe” and I wondered why he would do that because I had completely forgotten about his near-accident experience!

When I got home, Ming came out to meet me as he does and had all of the outside + garage lights on. I got out of the car and this was our conversation:

Me: Ming, I have had one of those sweat attacks – hyperhidrosis or whatever. Look at me – I am drenched!

Ming: Me too, Mum – me too! I was shaking and nearly crying when I got to work and sweating all day.

Me: Is that why you texted me you were home safe?

Ming: Yes! I thought you’d be worried.

Me: To be honest, Ming, I forgot about it.

Ming: So why are we both sweating?

I am quite interested in the fact that my mind didn’t absorb yet another close call in terms of Ming’s safety and yet my body absorbed it like a leaking sponge!

Will the car accident that Ming caused ever leave us? It has strengthened some relationships, weakened other relationships and probably mystified all of us in the ways in which it has affected us, individually – the nephews who went to the scene of the accident, for example; the mother who was overseas when it happened; the guilt we probably all feel for somehow allowing it – I don’t know anymore.

What I do know is that I am grateful, every single day since the accident, for the fact that every single person assaulted by that accident is still alive, still able to flourish, still able to overcome the obstacle of that terrible memory, still able to be.

51 responses to “The weird experience

  1. ksbeth says:

    i think that some things never leave us, both good and bad, and we have a reaction when those past feelings come flooding back, triggered by things that happen in the present. the good to take from this is when you see it is not happening again, this time there is a good outcome )

  2. Like you, I’m grateful that everyone in that past accident is OK. Sorry to hear that Ming had another close call the other day. Hugs to both of you – hope you’ll be able to forgive yourselves and move on. ❤
    Diana xo

  3. Terry says:

    Glad he was alright. From the symptoms it sounds like you had a panic attack. Hope you are feeling better today

  4. I was told long ago that — Our cells have memories. those memories can be triggered by our breath when we are feeling stressed, hear bad/unexpected news, encounters that remind our memories of the past….. — I did a lot of breath work with a special practitioner to move/lessen the load my cells carried. 🙂

    I too am glad everyone was alright and that this was just a memory trigger and not a real life accident!

    How very thoughtful of Ming to be concerned about your state of mind. What a lovely young man!

    Hugs. Breathe and remember, that was then. this is now. Breathe…. ❤

  5. susanpoozan says:

    Poor, poor both of you, so glad that despite your subconscious reaction neither of you were the worse for wear in the end. Lots of sympathy all round.

  6. My husband and I always tell each other to “Drive carefully” if one of us is leaving the house. So I guess it’s something you always think about in the back of your mind, but the trick is not to let it take over. I suspect that Ming has been a lot more careful since his accident.

  7. Judy says:

    Julie, you have described post-traumatic stress disorder so well. Isn’t it amazing how much our subconscious affects us? The conscious part is such a small area compared to what is underlying. Glad Ming was okay; he seems to have a head on his shoulders and is very caring. Sounds like you had a “hot” flash of insight – no sweat!

    • jmgoyder says:

      It’s only now that I realise how all of that sweating and the pompholyx after the accident was the physical side of ptsd – any over now and my cynical bestie said it was probably menopause anyway haha!

      • Judy says:

        When my mother went into a rehab/nursing facility at the beginning of her decline into dementia – I developed colitis. I knew it was a physical manifestation of my stress. But that didn’t offer a cure. Isn’t it horrible that we suffer physical pain to add to the emotional trauma? Thankfully, with time and healing my condition eased (hope my eye problems will, too). Thinking of you with love and healing thoughts!

  8. Trisha says:

    It is interesting how you put Ming’s near accident out of your mind so completely while your body reacted so strongly. I internalize anxiety that way too. It’s a strange thing to experience! I hope the effects of Ming’s near accident fade away quickly for both of you.

  9. janeslog says:

    If you drive carefully you should avoid most accidents. Just watch if the road conditions change. The roads are quite slippy when the rain starts especially if it has been dry for so long. It has something to do with the dried in oil on the road surface becoming wet again. As a cyclist I was taught this when I was racing. Once the rain had persisted for a while the roads become less slippy.

    On another note I was standing outside a polling station helping the SNP candidate in the recent General Election and a mini bus from the local nursing home turned up. I ended up helping to get the residents into the polling station and getting the back safely on the bus again. The bus made the journey three times and I realised how difficult it is when you have a walking frame. The Renault bus was well equipped for transporting wheelchairs.

    It’s party time in Scotland after the great result for the SNP.

  10. Amy says:

    Wow, it is indeed something how the body reacts even when our minds aren’t aware of what we are reacting to.

  11. Vicki says:

    I don’t think memories ever leave us. They just get labelled, filed away in our library (of a brain) and gather dust. Some memories get filed on the ‘quick reference’ shelf, just in case we need to refer to them again.

    And while others get ‘read to death’ and filed away in the back of the library, we’ve referred to them so many times that we know in which sentence, on which page, in which book on what shelf they’re stored (whether we like it or not).

    They make an indelible mark on our memory that can never be removed.

    And so The Accident has left its mark on both Ming and all the family.

    Best to acknowledge it, accept that it is there and then put it back on the shelf. While you think you may never need to refer to it again, you can’t erase a book once its printed.

    I’m so glad Ming is ok and acknowledged the reference book when it made its presence felt.

  12. What a post Julie. How does our body do this to us? Remember and relive things that our brains are not even processing for us? My “chest” does it when someone is suffering, as does my right ear when someone is sick. I can’t explain it. Whenever my kids or husband were sick, my right ear would get this hollow feeling and ringing. Now, when someone is suffering, it’s in my chest. I’m so sorry you and Ming had this experience.

  13. tootlepedal says:

    Frightening for both of you. I hope that things calm down in time.

  14. tersiaburger says:

    So grateful that is was not serious! Lots of love my friend

  15. Traumatic events in my life are forever etched in my mind, and though I don’t think about them much at all, I think that certain words/deeds/phrases will trigger the memory… and that’s what I guess has happened to you… without you even knowing… but your mind and body did!…. Diane

  16. I was just thinking today about what it feels like the second or so before the accident–everything so normal. And in a second, you get a call–husband once, another time a son. And in a second 2 kids dart out in front of your aircraft carrier car! And everything is in slow motion, and shoes fly, and the shock begins to wash over in waves. And it is so abnormal–out of whack–yet a second before, everything was normal.

  17. The last one, me.

  18. Big Hugs Jules xx

  19. Lot of mysterious memory in our subconscious that gets triggered. Thankfully, we’re not remembering it all, all at once. Our body, cellular memory, is pretty smart. Big hug.

  20. My Heartsong says:

    Scary, tells me how short life is and how the body has a memory even if we consciously block it out..

  21. Tiny says:

    I hope truly forgiving yourself and others will heal the conscious and unconscious painful memory. Hugs

  22. PTSD is a nasty bugger isn’t it? i hate that you and your family are still living with the pain of a tragic accident.

    thinking of you and sending big warm hugs and love

    • jmgoyder says:

      What I don’t understand it that everyone survived so it wasn’t tragic in that sense – so why are some of us suffering like this? I just don’t get it!

      • The mind thinks logically we are safe. The body stores that memory and reacts with bells and alarms to warn “this feels like that time of crisis.” I hate that you are going through this!❤️

  23. Lynda says:


    I don’t know if it is good to share this with you, or if it will be helpful, but here goes:

    Over twenty years ago I was in a terrible accident that totaled my car and kinda messed up my shoulder, upper spine and neck. It was a life changer to be sure. It happened in the rain one morning when I took Bob to work because we only had one car at the time. Anyway, by the time I had rear ended a woman who stopped dead in the first lane of the freeway, I spun sideways into the next lane only to look up and see a very big and heavily loaded work truck trying desperately to stop before he slammed into me. He couldn’t. The weight of his vehicle sent me sailing and spinning until I was across all four lanes and facing the wrong direction against the fence in the middle of the freeway.

    Everything seemed to have happened in slow motion, and it took. seemingly, several minutes for me to take in what had just happened to me. The impact had knocked my glasses off of my face and I had to dig for them on the floorboard behind the passenger seat. The passenger seat was crushed by the impact of the truck and the front of the car was so compressed I could not see out of the windshield.

    As far I as I ever knew no one but myself was injured and really, in the grand scheme of things my injuries have been a nuisance over the years, but were never life threatening.

    All this to get to my point… It took me almost 10 years to not go into histrionics at the sight of any bad accident on the freeway, rain or shine. Along with the histrionics I would get debilitating lower back pain and have to immediately pull off the freeway and calm myself. It was terrible.

    I talked to my Therapist of the time about it and he said it was PTSD and not at all unusual for such a traumatic event.

    And now, after writing all of this I just looked up and see that others have identified your PTSD symptoms before me. However, I will leave this reply if only to let you know I feel your distress and understand what you are going through. You may heal faster than I did, and I hope that you do! However, do know it isn’t an instantaneous event, but it does get so much easer as time goes by.

    Love you,

  24. Judith Post says:

    I’m guessing it’s going to take a long time to get over something so traumatic. It takes me time to get over anything really crappy in life. I need distance. And this was a flash reminder too close to the event. Some things always leave a shadow, but they fade with time.

  25. I think it will come out of the woodwork to affect at any old time Julie – but your last paragraph, that’s what to hang on to xx

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