When Trauma Strikes … Like It Did This Tuesday

I’ll start here:

You guessed it . . . my son was driving.

Everyone is just fine physically!!!

But man oh man, there is so much to dive into with this accident. With the claim not finalized, I’ll not share anything additional at this time.

The implications of this accident will take so much time to unpack and explore. It feels like I don’t have much to help me move forward as of this moment. Lots of questions. A pile of concerns. No answers. No resolve. Lots of fear.

And I have so many tasks to take care of as a result of this shift in life and I still have to go to work. This is adulting at it’s finest! I have to drop off and pick up the kids from school. I need to get food to eat. Our therapist comes over tonight (thank goodness)!

This accident created so much that I wasn’t expecting, but that’s life, isn’t it? It is . . . Unexpected shifts and turns are what make up this thing we call life.

Take the Next Right Action

Here’s what I’m going to do to move forward in this moment (it’s Wednesday night, the accident was yesterday, and this will publish on Thursday). I’m mentally numb and I know it. My mind is elsewhere, but I still have to adult.

I’m going to take the “next right action.”

This is a phrase I use for myself often, like when I am completely befuddled by life which is . . . pretty often.

I ask myself out loud, “What’s my next right action?”

And I pause.

And I listen as closely as I can.

I asked myself this as soon as I dropped Mason off Wednesday morning and was alone in my car. First, I cried. There’s so much to release.

I didn’t have to work that day, and I had a coffee date with a dear friend. I went to her house, and it was absolutely perfect.

When I don’t know what to do after the first right action, I ask myself again, “What’s my next right action?”  It is answered pretty clearly by my next thoughts.

When I felt antsy after chatting and drinking coffee with my friend, I felt strongly about getting the stuff out of my car. I found the number of the wrecking service I thought might have my car, called them, and was psyched when I found the right place on the first try.

I went directly there and cleaned out all the stuff I could salvage. Some of my make-up was broken and had glass shards in it. Gah . . . accidents cost money! It’s not just the physical, emotional, psychological, and mental shifts–they can be a great financial burden as well.

On the way home from cleaning out my car, I felt strongly about going to the grocery store, which I hadn’t planned to do. Because I was feeling so befuddled, I continued to just listen to my instincts and went grocery shopping.

When I got home, I brought the groceries in, but I didn’t put them away. I didn’t have any frozen items, and since I was still clearly in a state of shock after the accident, I just didn’t feel like it. So I asked myself again, “What’s my next right action?”

“Watch some short, mindless videos on YouTube” was the immediate, clear answer. Easy and mindless nothingness felt important in that moment.

Then what?

It was time to do the hard task of calling the insurance adjuster. I was afraid. I’m not sure what I was so afraid of, but I knew I needed to call them to find out what my responsibilities were. I called, got the information needed, and went to get Michael from school.

Then what?

Because of my conversation with the adjuster, we needed to go to the wrecking yard to sign release forms. I talked to Michael about going to see the car, and we prepared as well as we could.

That was interesting, very cold, and quick.

What was my next right action from there?

I checked the time and chose to take Michael home before I had to leave to get Mason from school. Together, Michael and I cleaned the kitchen table off, put the groceries away, and I started to unload the dishwasher. Then I left to get Mason.

Mason and I arrived home, cleaned up the rest of the kitchen, and the kids got on their computers to relax and to do their homework. I finished the dishes and made a batch of cookies (because trauma).

While I finished the cookies, our in-home therapist arrived, and we dove headlong into working through the accident. We then talked about some college prep, discussed some difficult relationships, and we finished the meeting by choosing our action steps moving forward.

Because life is going to happen and scary things are going to happen and accidents are definitely going to happen, we’re sometimes thrust into situations we 100 percent didn’t expect (and 100 percent didn’t want), whether the shift is a spilled glass of water, a broken Christmas tree ornament, or a car accident that absolutely terrifies you and totals your car.

What’s Your Next Right Action?

What’s your next right action? And the next? And then your next?

Taking your “next right action” when life is befuddling and shifting will get you where you’re going. This simple question can help get you through any situation.

And now, my next right action is to sleep. Tomorrow’s is to drop the kids off at school, pick up a rental car, work for five hours, and then head back to carpool line. And so it is . . .

With love,


Stay tuned, because I’ve got some heart-wrenching questions that need to be answered as a result of this car accident.


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