Sixteen years ago I almost died.
In late October 1995 my uncle Ron died suddenly of a heart attack, so my mom, dad, eighteen-year-old sister, and I (then fifteen) went to San Antonio for the funeral. The morning after the funeral, on Halloween, my family headed back to Dallas in our Nissan Altima. It was a drizzly morning, and I remember waving to my mom’s mom, Grandmacita, as we pulled out of her driveway. She always stood out in her front yard when we’d leave, holding one arm up with the other as she waved a long goodbye.
When we got on the highway, the rain started coming down harder, and soon it pummeled the car in sheets. We were near the Walzem Road exit on I-35 when we hit the truck. There was a big patch of standing water on the highway because of a stopped-up drain. A woman in a pick-up truck had almost gotten hit by an 18-wheeler that was jack-knifing, so she pulled over to the left-hand emergency lane. When we ran over the water, our Altima hydroplaned too, and we slammed into the back of the woman’s pick-up truck. The airbags deployed, and the car filled with smoke and powder. We’d never had a car with airbags before, so Mom & Dad thought it was on fire. They told my sister, Jenny, and me to get out of the car immediately. I got out on the left near the median, and Jenny exited on the right near traffic. Mom & Dad’s doors wouldn’t open in the front, so they climbed into the back to get out.
Read the rest of this entry »