I'd be lying if I sad the past 7 days were anything other than excruciatingly stressful. I feel like I've put my mind and body through more over the past week than it's experienced since last summer. It seems that about once a year or so I go through a period of one to two weeks of torture when it comes to work and all things related. I've been very blessed to be booked up solid for design work for weeks. Last Monday I was starting on two ro three new projects with clients, rounding out a huge design project (with a very tight deadline), trying to manage life around here, etc. Then out of nowhere a past project sort of just blows up. Everything was deleted. Not by the fault of anyone, but just by accident. That's not exactly the kind of email you want to wake up to on a Monday morning. I skipped blogging for three days hoping I could sort of pull myself up from the stress, but I messed up by going into the week thinking "Oh my gosh! I'm screwed. I can't do this. I don't know how I'm going to manage." Rookie mistake to psych myself out... The week trickled on and I worked double hours in my office. Normally I strive to answer my last email around 5pm and then spend the rest of the evening on the opposite side of the house from my office. Instead, I was responding to client emails and inquiries at 9pm or later because I couldn't earlier in the day. Being busy is a great problem to have, especially when they're paying clients. I'm definitely not complaining there. But sometimes life falls into your lap and you're left thinking "Um, what now?!". I failed to account for the unexpected and then the unexpected totally happened.
It was okay though. As stressful as the week was, I made it through. My clients were kind and understanding. My husband picked up some of my slack around the house. I kept working for the weekend. I installed the huge project on Friday, and only have a few lingering things to tie up. I rolled a few clients around in my schedule to try and give the best service possible and Friday evening couldn't come fast enough. Then Mike got sick on Friday, and felt like crap on Saturday, too (and even still). We spent the day in Nashville as Toby went to see his grandparents and little did I know that was going to be the start of the saddest/scariest nights ever. Mike had to swing by airport parking to pick up his parents' car while they were out of town, so I drove Mike's truck. After spending a really fun day together and enjoying ourselves, we grabbed a bite to eat in the next town over and then decide to head home. It's an easy 45 minute drive, but it's on a country highway that winds around the hills like crazy, and it's pitch black out. It's really well known for the deer population that like to jump out in front of your car as you make your way up and down the hills. It was 10pm and the weather was perfect. I was driving Mike's truck home, going 55mph, and leading a string of about a half dozen cars. Mike had Toby with him and had stopped to put gas in his parents' car so he was a few miles back. I was making my way up the base of County Line Hill when I rounded a curve and all of a sudden, not even 2 feet in front of my truck, there was a brown dog staring at me.
There's no subtle way to say it: I hit the dog. Head on. Going 55mph.
I know I shouldn't swerve, especially on that highway. The drop-off on either side gets to be incredibly steep at varying points and the curves make it dangerous already. The second I hit the dog I jerked over in the lane, trying to put my truck as far into the shoulder as possible. I couldn't see anything because it was so dark, but the 6 or so cars that were behind me just kept passing me... they saw what happened! I'm already sitting on the side of the road screaming and crying. I couldn't turn around there so I went about a 1/10th of a mile down the road to turn around. Mike had no cell phone service and I only had 10% battery life so I called my mom. She answered the phone and screamed "What's wrong?!". I couldn't even make out real sentences. I was only 20 minutes out of town but it took my parents an hour to get there because I couldn't even tell them where I was. I was able to scream "hit dog. mike car parents airport" before hanging up. I pulled back around to where the dog was laying in the road and I tried flagging down anyone I could from my truck. No one stopped. Mike recognized the truck from it's headlights and pulled back around to me. I stumbled out of the car and just fell on him screaming that I hit that poor dog. It was just laying there and I didn't know what to do. I wasn't going to leave it! I had to find someone to help, but I could barely even stand up. Mike checked on the dog and told me that the dog was non-responsive, but breathing. Then I really went into a fit. It must've been in so much pain! The only thing worse than killing a dog with your truck is almost killing a dog with your truck!
Mike put me in the car with Toby and I know I had to scare him to death. I couldn't stop hyperventilating and at that point the panic attack was full blown. Mike tried flagging down 5 or 6 passing cars but no one would stop. We didn't have cell signal there and there were no houses around that we knew of. Finally after 20 or so minutes of desperately waving to passers-by, a truck stopped. They knew the owners of the dog. I saw them lift the dog up and put him in the bed of their truck then drive down the road. I ran out of the car and over to the nearby field quickly where I proceeded to throw up and cry for the next half hour or more. The guys in truck came back but I couldn't even regain my composure. I was a basketcase.
Mike and the guys exchanged information and he assured me that no one was blaming me. It was an "unfortunate situation" and no one meant for it to happen, but the amount of guilt I've felt over the past 36 hours is astronomical. My parents came to where we were so my stepdad could drive the truck home and I rode with Mike. I kept playing it over and over in my head, in slow motion. Clearly doing myself no favors. I kept crying that I killed someone's dog and thinking about how upset I would be if that were Pip or Georgia. Toby broke my heart when I asked if he was okay and he answered "Uh huh. I just want to go home and see Pi'kin and Georgia and Enid and Tater Tot". After we finally got home, Mike put Toby in our bed while I talked to my parents outside. He came out and said "Toby said that he wanted his mommy to come watch cartoons with him because it'd make her feel better and she wouldn't cry". It's going to sound so silly, but that was the best Mother's Day present I could ask for. He wanted me to be happy and not upset. I snuggled up in bed with him to watch one episode of Spongebob before tucking him in and he asked me if I was "still sad about the dead dog" (Subtlety doesn't exist in a 4 year old's world)
That night's sleep was the worst. I had all of these dreams and despite getting 9 hours of shut eye, I was exhausted all Sunday. But Mother's Day with my family was wonderful and I'm trying to count my blessings rather than dwell on the obviously awful event Saturday. We drove past the spot where it happened twice yesterday, and both time I was a bucket of tears. I kept saying to Mike that that was someone's pet! I wasn't speeding, I wasn't distracted, I was completely and 100% focused on driving... why did that have to happen?! I know I'll never feel okay about it, despite knowing there was nothing I could do, but I had hoped that writing it out would make me feel at least a little more peace. I know I'll always drive past that spot and relive that in my head. I'm just so heartbroken that so many people saw it happen but no one wanted to help.
Now I'm battling whatever sickness I got from Mike. The perfect way to start a new week. I'm trying to let the past week roll off of me like water but sometimes it's tough to feel that sort of defeat. I know this week will be better, but my heart still hurts from everything. All I can think about is how I can hold my composure long enough to call the family that owned the dog (or well, call the friends of the people, then the people) and express my sincere condolences. I would hope the same from someone if the roles were reversed. It just won't be easy.
That's how my week(end) has been. A little bit depressing right? Sometimes you just gotta get that out. (Of course major thanks to not only my mom, but my stepdad, too, in coming to my aid when I needed them.) xo