It was a sunny day. I had driven to Sanford to pick up my mom and bring her to my house for a visit. We were chatting, making our plans for her visit, when a car heading in the opposite direction hurled the lid of one of those containers people strap on the roof of their cars to carry luggage and stuff into the air and directly for us. It impacted on the middle of the hood of my Honda Accord, bounced and smashed into a million little pierces on my windshield. I couldn’t see a t thing and miraculously, I was able to pull off the road and park on the shoulder.
At first, we didn’t know what had happened. I had a brief glimpse of something flying toward us and then Bam! It hit like a missile. Both of us were shaking from the experience. There was no one else on the road. The offending car continued merrily on its way, unaware of what had happened. And fortunately no one had been behind me, or we would have been rear-ended when my foot hit the brake pedal as pieces of plastic cascaded down my windshield, eclipsing my view of the road.
Gaining control of myself, I got out of the car to assess the damage. Hundreds of pieces of plastic lay over my engine and we had to remove them because I feared they would melt into the engine. The lid had left several streaks on the hood of my car from point of impact to the windshield. But that was the extent of the damage. The windshield had not shattered, and the streaks were easily rubbed out when I got home.
To this day I cannot believe that the windshield held against the force of that impact. Nor can I believe I retained control of the car, driving blind for a few seconds at 65 miles per hour, until my foot hit the brakes and we came to a stop. My only explanation is that there was an angel sitting on the hood of the car that day. And I envision that angel to be my dad. This incident happened shortly after his death. He was the one who taught me to drive despite my reluctance, because my mom didn’t drive, and he wanted my sister and me to have that independence that driving would give us, and that mom never had.
Many years later, I think he was still there, watching over me, and encouraging me to listen to my inner voice when I realized that both the symptoms of my Parkinson’s disease and the side effects of the meds impaired my ability to drive and operate my car safely.
I believe these were two gifts from my dad, both the independence I had for many years at his insistence that I learn to drive, and the wisdom to know when it was time to let it go. And perhaps, in whatever realm he now may be, he knows that I know that he will always be my angel.