Today, as the bulbs valiantly tried to spring into life along the roadside of my little village, I held my friend up whilst we watched her beautiful 17 year old daughter being cut out of a car wreck. My arms gripping hold of her tightly, the tinfoil blanket slipped as she shook.
As I looked on and saw the 'jaws of life' cut the roof off the car I noticed all the small details of renewed life around us whilst desperately praying that this young girls life, the life she knew, was not ebbing away. She was conscious and breathing steadily but she was still. So still. While her Mother shook, and my lungs felt fit to burst from running through the barricade in the minus 5 degree cold, she lay in the car with out any sign of motion. She had head and spinal injuries they said, they couldn't guess how severe. Three fire engines, two ambulances, two police cars, a swarm of people in high visibility coats with walkie talkies blaring, all bustling about rescuing a girl so beautiful it seemed totally surreal to see her with blood trailing down her cheek and yet her lipstick intact with a freshly applied appearance.
It seemed wrong that just a hundred yards from her home she was so still and quiet whilst organised chaos carried on around her. Everyone else involved in the collision simply got out of the cars and were unscathed although visibly shaken. You see she hadn't quite got her seat belt buckled. The driver had started off down the road before she'd clicked her seat belt locked. Her head had hit the windscreen and bent backwards, her body had pushed into her neck.
Those times when you are just popping down the road. Put your seat belt on. Those times you are driving along and putting your seat belt on... stop doing that. Put it on before you put the car in gear. Those times when your friend/husband/child jumps into your waiting car. Don't pull away till you hear the click. You think you'll be ok. You think those few paltry seconds don't matter. I have seen today that they matter plenty. What the hell do you say to reassure when your eye's are looking at a limp girl being cut out of a car? What can you do? What can you say?
My friends daughter is going to be ok. But for a few hours this morning it looked like her life as an able bodied girl full of vitality might have been over. She has been spared, she will be ok. She will take a while to heal but she will recover.