Monday, November 7, 2011

Miracles, Meteors and Magdalene

Deb: This weekend our dear friend Cheryl––whom you met this year when we did a three-way with her––headed with her family to the Stratford Festival in Ontario to see the wonderful Canadian, Broadway-bound production of Jesus Christ Superstar. As it happens, this is the last weekend of the show in Stratford and I, being an official card-carrying member of the “I’m obsessed with all things Jesus Christ Superstar” wanted to see the show before it left Canada. This is the first time in fifteen years my husband and I have not been able to get to Stratford to see shows, missing many wonderful productions featuring, among others, our dear and talented friends.

So I set out to get a single ticket––as Colin was away in the Boston area doing a show (which some of you attended), but I was lucky enough to get, through a lovely friend in the production office, two cancelled tickets. So I asked Barb to come with me. She happily agreed to a wonderful day, which was supposed to consist of a gorgeous two-hour drive, lovely lunch, show, and a peaceful drive home. Or so we thought.

Cut to: Our precious friend and sister Cheryl phoning me last night from Stratford. She was breathless and clearly in pain. She, her husband, and their daughter had been in a horrific car accident, but mercifully, they were alive and functioning.

They were stopped at a traffic light and some guy—who claimed the sun was in his eyes—came barreling into them, knocking them into another car and into the intersection and into yet another car. Their car was totally destroyed, but they came away relatively unscathed. The air bags beat them to a pulp, but ultimately saved their lives. Their daughter was belted and sleeping in the back seat. She woke up, crisis over, to the reek of the air bag gas. Cheryl and Bill were taken to the hospital where they were released in considerable pain, but alive and well ... and as a result ... in the mood for celebration.

The second and tinier miracle was that Barb and I were scheduled to go up the next day to see the final show of Jesus Christ Superstar. Cheryl and Bill of course had no way home and were elated that we were, in a last minute twist of fate, coming right to them! We said that we would chuck the show and simply come up to gather them and their belongings and take them home. Cheryl wouldn’t hear of it. “YOU MUST SEE THIS SHOW!” she said between halting breaths. She insisted that they would simply sleep and chill and gather their resources while we attended the show, which they did.

So we saw the show. And it was a stupendous production. I feel I am authorized to say that given the number of JCSuperstars I have seen on stage and in film. I urge you to see this show on Broadway if you can.

Spent from the production and spent from the wild and challenging events of the last few weeks, we picked them up, took them to the wreck yard, emptied the contents of their shattered car into Barb’s, and said our thanks and farewell to this little gem “Breezy” who had kept them safe these 12 years and held its own right to the end, honouring its owners’ years of appreciation.

We all celebrated the miracle of their survival. It hit me again like a ton of bricks when I saw the car in the scrapyard, broken and finished. We swarmed its broken frame, each of us in our own way giving thanks for their safe escape.

When Barb and I set out to get them, all shaky and full of emotion, we imagined surrounding our car in blue light against impact and then imaged a white light around that one. We always do this when either of us feels any weird or scary energy on the road. Barb said that she had read that there was another huge meteor headed towards earth this week and, although it was not scheduled to hit our green home, it was coming close enough to shake things up, to make unusual and bizarre things happen. True to its word in our corner of the world, it shook our dearest friends to the very foundation of their being and brought my Mom some potentially bad news, all in this one day.

But the real miracle was everyone’s reaction to these events. My Mom rolled with this punch in her can-do way, and even joked about it. Cheryl and her family simply looked at their car, brimming with emotion, but overflowing with thanks and gratitude. No anger. No regret. Just a breath of life sucked into their bruised lungs that told them, despite the searing pain, that they were alive.

Mary Magdalene offered our soundtrack. “Try not to get worried, try not to hang onto problems that upset you, don’t you know, everything’s alright now, everything’s fine, and I want you to sleep well tonight. Let the world turn without you tonight. Close your eyes, close your eyes and forget all about us tonight.”

Barbara: Deb has captured this extraordinary day in all its amazing detail: miracles, meteors and Magdalene, indeed. The last 24 hours have been astounding in their beautiful mayhem. Completely mind-boggling drama, and completely soul-warming communal love. We felt so lucky and calmed to be together and safe on the one hand, and so lucky and stimulated to be able to celebrate creative excellence on the other.

I don’t wish days like these on any of you, but I do wish—given that days like these happen on, well, a daily basis—that you are surrounded by just such love and light. And, more importantly, that you see it. xo


  1. Aww I am so sorry for Your friend Deb. I know accidents can be so scary . What I always tell people is that cars can be replaced people can't . I know it sounds bad but at least she can say that no one was badly hurt and that is something good. My prayers go out too her And her family and I am glad that they are ok.

  2. So happy all our safe and you were able to be there for your friends. Deb, what is the update on your Mom?

  3. Lyndsie thanks for the good wishes. Madge thank you. We were so happy to be able to be there for them. Cheryl's pain is much easier today and her husband's is worse. But he is seeing his doctor. Mom dodged a bullet when they told us last week the foot was healing and that amputation was off the table. Yesterday when I WASN'T THERE!!!!, a doctor told her that it was not healing and that she would at least lose the toes. We are on an emotional roller coaster. She is a rock though Madge. We just pray it is only the toes. Thanks for asking. I am going down to meet with doctors today and I will keep you guys posted. xo

  4. Oh my goodness Deb!!! I'm so glad your friends are ok! Car accidents are so scary! But at the same time, I'm so glad that you and Barb are going to see a wonderful show (that I would like to see myself!!!!!).

    Sending some special thoughts and prayers to your friends! :)

  5. *deep breath* OK. Wow. Where to begin? Yikes.

    First and foremost, I have to run across the internet to EVER SO VERY GENTLY hug Cheryl. Omigoshomigoshomigosh. I feel such gratitude through and through that your family is safe. I've seen the alternative. I've been up to my elbows in the blood of the alternative while working on victims who didn't come through as well. And, no, no, NO way do I even want to think of that happening to Deb and Barbara's beloveds. *shudder*

    Cheryl, don't be surprised if nightmares creep up on you in the night over this one for a while. And, don't be surprised if you flinch a bit while driving when you find yourself sitting at an intersection and feel an eerie sense of familiarity. This. Too. Shall. Pass.

    Was anyone in the other vehicles in the accident hurt?

    Secondly, Deb, if you can share, what's going on with your mom, now? *worries* *worries some more* *hugs Deb fiercely*

  6. Thirdly, let's step back from gut twisting, heart fluttering, teary eyed stuff and have a wee little astronomy lesson for a sec. A meteor is a bit of space trash (often just a fleck of dust!) that enters the Earth's atmosphere and burns up during its descent. This brilliant streak of light is what is commonly called by the misnomer "shooting star." If a bit of the meteor actually survives burning up on reentry and smacks into the Earth, it's a meteorite. (Interesting side note: There's a museum in the nat. sci. building on campus where I went to university that houses this meteorite in one of its exhibits: )
    (My favorite meteorites are the ones that are little pieces of Mars! :) )

    Meteors are little one offs that happen all the time. But, sometimes, there are lovely bunches of meteors in the same night. Have you ever gone out away from the city lights and watched a meteor shower in the dark night sky? Some of the best meteor showers are the Orionids and the Perseids. Each year as our planet drives its highway around the sun, we pass through certain debris fields (like from the tail of a comet, etc.) at predictable times, and it makes for gorgeous sprays of meteors streaking across the sky.

    Trust me, you don't want what our planet is hanging out with later this week to be a meteor. lolol

    Asteroid Yu55 will pass by the Earth less than one lunar distance away on Nov. 8. It isn't the first time an asteroid has stopped by for tea, and it won't be the last. And, of course, we've all read the theories about the dinosaurs getting pimpslapped by an asteroid and about the various possibilities (small asteroid, meteor, comet, etc.) regarding the Tunguska Blast. An asteroid is, basically, an itty bitty little planet wannabe orbiting the sun (not to be confused with Kuiper Belt objects). The most famous asteroids in our solar system hang out in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Some asteroids are big enough to have a wee little moon orbiting them. Some look like giant space potatoes. Some are chunky little Volkswagon Beetles in space. They hang out, cruise around the sun, and are, basically, kinda boring. Our position in orbit and Yu55's position in orbit (its place in ITS year) are gonna end up being a spooky cool drive by this week, and astronomers are drooling over the close range observation opportunities. Tuesday is, basically, a chance for, on the one hand, the news media to get its panties in a wad and, on the other, astronomers to have a small scale Super Bowl party. :)

    Look, I've got a bit of a medieval peasant streak when it comes to the supernatural. But, I cringe over anyone saying the equivalent of this asteroid causing a disturbance in the Force. Even Obi-Wan Kenobi would be all, "Sheesh!" over this one. Nothing magical, mystical, or just plain, "The universe is picking on me!" is a result of this lump of rock floating by. Please, drink of a big cup of science on this one. You could even plop in a lump of sugar carved to look like an asteroid. ;)

    Oh, Deb, I see where you told about your mom while I was typing. Oh, dear. *worries* *sniffle* *HUGS*

  7. Thanks Rigel, is there anything you don't know? Thanks for the science lesson! Yes my Mom. I know. Waiting still, waiting. And yes Cheryl and Bill are all too aware of what could have happened which is why they are so grateful. They were hurt the worst of the four cars so that is good for all concerned.Thanks Holly we'll take those prayers!

  8. Oh my gosh, what a weekend!!! You must all still be reeling. I am so glad Cheryl and her family dodged that bullet. And how weird that you both were put in their vicinity due to someone else's cancellation. Funny how the universe works some time. What a reminder to live everyday to the fullest because you just never know......say the things you need to say, love the people who need to feel it from you.
    Deb, I hope your mother is going to be ok. And I hope all three of you will be ok after a shock like that. Big hug to all of you....

  9. Wow. Thankfully, your friends made it through this. I'm so relieved for the two of you, as well, because the sigh of relief is palpable; we can feel it through today's blogs. After seeing those pics of the car, yeah, that is definitely something to be thankful for, that they walked away from it. I wish them well in their recovery.

    (The sun has never been known to text, eat, tune the radio or anything else that would create this kind of havoc, or cause him to be moving a bit over the speed limit. Letting the sun off the hook, I hope this guy is punished more severely than just having a dented car.)

    Deb, your mom is one hell of a woman, to be handling all this as well as you say. I'll imagine that blue and white shield around your mom and you, holding in and protecting that amazing strength as she goes through all of this.

    The escape to "JCS" was just what you two needed. To get your minds off what's happened is an accomplishment in itself. To be able to take away a little piece of comfort from it... priceless.

  10. I wish you guys could make an elixir out of your positive attitudes and give me a couple of tablespoons...or gallons.

    Glad your friends are okay, and that your mom is making the best she can out of a bad situation. Hand in there girlfriend.

  11. ...hang in.. typing while lying down doesn't work well sometimes.

  12. Deb so sorry to hear the roller coaster ride took another dip, will be thinking of you and your mom today.

    As for the musical I think JCS was the first musical production I ever saw when I was about ten years old. It is what initially got me hooked on them.

    From the pics that car accident looks like it must have been pretty rough thank goodness car safety has come such a long way and that no one was seriously hurt.

  13. Aww deb I am still sending prayers to your mom and you. .. Sending good wishes and a big hug your way as way as well Deb.

  14. Thanks, all, for your beautiful thoughts and riffs! It's funny how yesterday we were energized by our sense of great good fortune and luck, and today I feel quite wiped. Don't get me wrong -- I still feel enormously grateful and lucky, just... well, wiped. Karen, it's hard work making that elixir -- Although it's definitely worth it!!

  15. Very sorry to hear about the accident, though equally as happy to hear that your Cheryl and her family are doing okay. I know what they went through. Several years ago while I was driving to the campus I attended (I lived with my parents during this time and not near the college). I ended up flipping my car back over front after my right front tire hit a patch of gravel on the side of the road, sucking my vehicle into the ditch. I was alone in the vehicle and it was the only one involved in the wreck. The entire passenger side was caved in, though the driver side was still as normal. Most of my windows were broken and anything loose in my car before the wreck were strewn about in the field. I was able to unbuckle after the car stopped flipping and thankfully it landed in an upright position when it finally stopped. With the airbags deployed, I thought the gas from them was smoke coming from the engine, which only made me more frantic to get out of there. I was able to get out before the guy in the car behind me could come over to check on me. He tried convincing me to sit down for a while, so I did and called my mom to let her know what happened. She thought I said that I simply 'drove' into the ditch, thinking that she could tow me out with her SUV. She showed up to the scene a while later with my younger sister. Obviously, they were both shocked to see what had actually happened. The cop that arrived told me not to go to the casino that day, since I had already used up all of my luck by surviving as well as I did. With all of the adrenaline I didn't feel the pain for a while. After all of the paperwork was filed by the cops regarding the crash and after seeing my car towed away, my mom drove me to the clinic to be checked out. Eventually I found out that almost every muscle fiber in my body was torn, which led to immense pain every time I moved for about a month. I was also picking out fragments of glass from my scalp for a couple of days. But beyond that, I was okay. I even drove the next day, it really wasn't much of an issue. I realized it was some random freak accident, so I didn't really develop a fear of ever driving again. My sister let me borrow her car for a while until I bought a new one. Also, this same sister used to drive without wearing a seatbelt but she certainly wears one now after seeing how mine saved me. I don't even want to imagine what would've happened to me had I not been buckled up. Also... best wishes to your mom, Deb! Sorry to hear about what she's been going through :( -Apey

  16. Oh Deb, So sorry to hear about your mom's latest trial...If I had any advice here as you endeavour to manage all the different aspects of this difficult event, it's to try to not react to everything as it presents itself. I know in a sense that's like telling you not to swerve from a car that's coming right out you but there is always so much to consider and so many facets to be managed that what emerges first isn't always what turns out to be the result. And I'm speaking both of your mom's potential amputation and how everyone is responding to the prospect of it and its subsequent manifestations. You are going to need everything in you to get through this trying time, I think, in my humble opinion, you would do well to create a little artificial distance as the events unfold...if only to give yourself time to breath and organize a thought. Tell your parents I'm thinking of them and sending good thoughts their way.
    Please pass along my regards to Cheryl and her family too. So grateful things weren't worse. Not to downplay their pain, suffering and inconvenience but so many much more bitter scenarios spring to mind. Glad to hear that someone else's moment of inattention isn't destined to be the stuff of their days forever. Wishing them a speedy recovery too. Love to all, Annette

  17. Oh lordy! So scary, aren't they? Having been in one, I can speak from experience; very humbling but terrifying experience. Luckily, we were without injury, and I'm glad your friend and her family are ok!

  18. Harrowing, but well-told story! My babysitter's doctor's uncle's dog was in a car crash once, lost his back leg. (And I was going to say Jesus Christ Superstar is a car-crash of a show, but that would be wrong. Wrong).

  19. M.J that is awful but as much as I adore you I will not sit still for any diss of the JCSS! :-)
    Kelly they are great thanks!Annette honestly this is what I endeavor to do but thanks for the thoughtful well worded advise. Taking it to heart. Apey what a story and what a great strength in overcoming it. And yes...buckle UP is the message right!

  20. I was in the middle of replying to these when I got distracted. Came back to my computer to realize my half-started comment is now gone. Deb pretty much took the words from my mouth, but I have to add my "oh my god's" to Apey's experience! Thank god you're okay!! And that is something we said several times yesterday -- how grateful we were for modern technology like seat belts and air bags (as much as they bruise and hurt in bad accidents).

    Annette, beautifully said! MJ, I always look forward to hearing your POV.
    xo Barbara


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