Searching for footing

I am riding in the car on the way home from Greensboro, N.C., where I have been tagging along with Jeff for two days while he went on a work trip and I went with him to relax and play in the hotel.

Instead of relaxing and playing, I was hit hard with some news that will stay with me for quite a long time, if not forever.

So I have spent the past 2 days walking around like a zombie, wondering which end is up and what’s real or fantasy. I feel a little like the walking dead, with Jeff patiently helping me go through the motions, keeping me from collapsing. (Michael too.)

So now we are driving home and about 10 minutes ago I was reading and editing Heather and Amy’s writing with what daylight was left, when Jeff said “deer.”

I looked up, out of habit more than desire to see a deer (did I think he said “dear” perhaps?). I looked up right as he said “nailed” with a very ominous tone.

I didn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. It looked like a huge mound of debris at first, starting at the fender of the car in front of us and shooting at a very high speed into the shoulder. Then I saw legs, flailing. “oh my God,” I said, and my whole body tensed up, too shocked to cry, still hoping what I was seeing wasn’t real.

And then in a second, we were past the deer who was surely fighting for his life, still following the car that unintentionally bestowed this terrible fate on the poor animal.

I looked at Jeff, said “What can we do? Can we go back?”

He touched my knee, knowing my love for animals. “There’s nothing we can do.”

After the week I’ve had, the last thing I wanted to see was another creature in pain. I was angry at Jeff for calling it to my attention, making me witness such a terrible sight. I was angry at the car in front of us, for performing this act and then continuing on with the drive as though nothing was wrong.

And then I started thinking: I feel like that deer. I started my week believing all was well, life was good. And then suddenly I found myself on a highway, not even knowing I was in danger, and then – smack. There you have it. Out of nowhere I’m flailing, flat on my back, fighting to breathe and with no warning I was up for this battle.

Hopefully my story isn’t one of “nothing we can do.” Hopefully the person that hit me will come back to help me back on my feet, taking me to get stitches if necessary. Until then, I’ll be fighting for my life. And maybe becoming a vegetarian.