I was in a car accident when I was four. No, I wasn’t driving. My mom was driving. I was in the back seat, rattling around like a marble in a shoe box, because there were no seat belts in back seats at that time–there weren’t even many seat belts in front seats in 1968. So Mom was driving, Grandma Bennett was riding shotgun (ha! If you knew Ruby you would crack up at that image because Ruby was not the sort of person who would ever ride shotgun) and there I was in back, loose as a goose and probably singing or something.
The sun was in our faces, just at the point in the sky where it is exactly lined up with the stoplights, so Mom didn’t see that the light had turned red, and we were broadsided. I was thrown across the car and my head hit the window, which broke. My forehead split open, two long, Harry Potter-style lightning bolts right in the middle of my forehead. Lucky for us, we were right in front of the Emergency Entrance to the hospital where I was born.
Grandma was hurt, too, and the police came, and the other driver was shouting, and my mom was mortified and horrified and terrified and ashamed. I was standing there with blood running down my face while all the adults around me ignored me, until a man in a suit walked up and asked if he could get me to the ER. We had never seen him before, and I have never seen him since. He was tall, very lean, brown haired and blue eyed. His suit was brown, double-breasted. My mom apparently hadn’t noticed what kind of shape I was in and nearly fainted when she saw me. She entrusted this total stranger with my life, and allowed him to take my hand and walk me into the hospital.
And I remember him to this day. But I also remember feeling utterly safe, feeling absolutely no pain, and being completely unafraid. He had a quiet strength, and a powerful presence. He appeared out of nowhere, quietly took care of something with no fuss, and then disappeared. No one had any clue who he was.
So the nurses cleaned me up as best they could, and gave me a huge icepack that I could barely lift to put on my head until I could be seen by the doctor. I have the impression of a very long wait, which seems kind of awful. But hospitals those days were slow and inefficient. I have vivid memories of laying on the table in the exam room with a drape over my face that had a lemon-drop shaped hole in it. I remember the doctor shooting novocaine into my skin before stitching me up. I remember watching him work, watching all the implements in his gloved hands, and being completely okay with all of it, chatting with the doctor, joking and laughing. I remember the very bright light they shone in my eyes to see if there was any glass in there, and I remember my dad picking me up and carrying me out to his car to take us all home.
And I remember waking up in the wee hours with the worst headache of my life, a swollen arm and a fever. Great time to discover I was allergic to tetanus vaccine. Ah well.
Fast forward 48 years, and my scars are barely visible–at least the physical ones. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor, an intuitive, who told me that I was missing a piece of my soul and I needed to find a way to recover it. I instantly knew what piece it was. It was a piece of the four year-old girl who was hurtling across the back seat of a car toward a window, no doubt scared witless, and probably in shock after impact.
So one night very shortly after that visit, I went out onto my deck with my rocking chair, and did a little journeying. I found her, or me rather, and invited her to come back with me, to become part of my body and soul again. She agreed, and took my outstretched hand. I could feel her fear, her sadness. She felt like she didn’t matter, that her fear was unimportant. I took her onto my lap and wrapped my arms around her, healing her wound and talking quietly to her. I told her how proud I was of her, how brave she had been, how the doctor had been so impressed with her. I told her that everything had worked out just fine and that she was loved beyond all comprehension.
And then she asked if it was safe to come back. From who knows where, I was enveloped in the same sense of peace and safety that I remember feeling in the presence of the man in the brown double-breasted suit, a feeling so strong and utterly complete that it has not left me to this moment. I said, “Oh, you are so safe.”
It is an uncanny feeling, this safeness. It makes me wonder deeply about the man in the brown suit. Who was he? Where did he come from? What was the miraculous power he had to bestow confidence and relieve the pain of an ordinary four year-old girl? I don’t know. I hesitate to speculate. What I do know is, nothing can ever hurt me again. I know it to the core of my essence to be true, and I want to share this feeling with every woman on Earth. I want every woman to feel as safe in every moment as I do. I sit on my deck and send out waves of it, trusting to the wind to carry them where they need to go. I pray that those waves reach you, and that you are always, always safe.