Five Things You Learn When You Could Have Died


A cut in time

Of terror

Of rash worries

Mattering no more

Of crushing glass

Losing balance

Losing ground

Never coming to stillness

Smashing metal

A crash on crash

Pieces lost

Of broken cries

Of what went wrong

Hurtling to a halt

But coming to rest

In life

(c) 2014 Sara Litchfield

A couple of weeks ago, the above happened. It knocked me sideways, quite literally. But I’m okay. I’m grateful that, despite careering out of control on sheet ice for over a hundred metres: I didn’t hit the stone post; someone close came running to untrap me within ten minutes; I didn’t hit my head too hard while my toasted car rolled twice over; ACC covered my ambulance & hospital costs. And I learnt some stuff:

1. The top 5 things you stress about on your way to work are probably not important in the grand scheme of things.

2. All things are replaceable, except people.

3. Seat belts save lives.

4. Neighbours are kind.

5. Any day could be your last.

Are you stressed? Take a moment, look around – you’re alive. Be happy to be so – however much there is to do, at least you’re here to do it 🙂

22 thoughts on “Five Things You Learn When You Could Have Died

  1. ontyrepassages

    Fortunate doesn’t begin to describe how this turned out for you. So many variables conspired to topple your vehicle, yet so many others spared you. I’m so glad you’re here to share the experience, so beautifully captured in your poem. Of course, what you’ll learn, if you haven’t learned it already, is that the experience isn’t over because it’s now ingrained in your DNA. It changed you a little at the moment the accident occurred and it’ll continue to change you in subtle ways. A perspective altered even a single degree alters greatly what’s seen thereafter. I know from experience. This could have been where the book ends, but now there’s a sequel and we’re all fortunate to be here and see what you do with it. I’m predicting great things. 🙂

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      So true, Christina! You say things so beautifully… I couldn’t imagine not being here and the very contemplation of that is a cause for change. There’s almost a responsibility to make the sequel worthy!

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Thanks Sara.. I couldn’t possibly wink out of existence right now – not before publishing for posterity!

  2. swiveltam

    Wonderful poem. Love it! I’m sorry you had to write it, but well done. I too, have had a similar experience. It was years ago, but I rolled my car in a freak accident and walked away. My daughter was a baby in her carseat (strapped in correctly) and I had just told my niece to buckle her seat belt, it was raining.
    Then bam, the car started hydroplaning as huge semi-trucks were barreling down on me, I tried to pull off the road. As the car hit the hard-packed sand of the center median, it was like hitting a small brick wall. We twirled over and over coming to a rest on the side, much like your picture above.
    We all walked away unscratched, but grateful. I can relate to EVERYTHING you wrote. So glad you’re alive and whole to write about it and share with us!

    ~ Tam Francis ~

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Ah Tam, I’m so sorry that happened to you – absolutely amazing that you were all okay. It must have been beyond terrifying to have young ones in the car – I was scared enough with just myself to think of, I can’t imagine… Right back at you – so very grateful you’re here to tell the tale!

  3. Kelly Roberts

    Your poem was beautiful…what brought you to it, not so much. However, when you’ve come that close to what could have been your last breaths, I assume you’ll judge every other experience against that one: “If I can make it through that, I can make it through anything.” So glad you’re still around!

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Thanks Kelly… Too right! That’s the best attitude to have – one of fortitude rather than fear…

  4. Kit Dunsmore

    That is a SCARY photo! I’m so glad you are OK! Thanks for reminding us of all the simple things we have to be grateful for.

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      True, humans have short memories.. No matter how often I remind myself to treasure the moment and enjoy the present, fear of the future, all those rash worries, just keep popping up… Until the next time something drags you to earth with a bump and reminds you to have fun while you can!

    1. Sara Litchfield Post author

      Lol thanks Deborah! I’ve not been broken, thank goodness; I was already a little cracked :p

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