I haven't blogged in six months, but I felt like the events that transpired on Saturday warranted some kind of public description, so here we are.
Actually, every week since I've been home from my mission, I've sent an email to the sisters in my mission. I call it my "sorelle email." It's been over 18 months that I've been writing these emails. There are only two sisters on my email list still in Italy, and I've only met one of them - when I went to Italy with my parents in May. Many of the returned sorelle, however, requested to keep receiving my emails, and so now I don't really know how to categorize these emails, but whatever. I always include a pop culture update, an update about other returned missionaries from our mission, and of course a Sorella Soh update, which usually leads into a spiritual thought. I've decided to just cut and paste into a blog post what I just emailed out to the sorelle this week.
Don't ever forget how much I love you.
Sorella Soh update: Welp, here we go. Most of the returned sorelle already know about this (sans details), but I literally almost died in a car crash on Saturday evening. My roommate, Aubrey, and I had watched the first two sessions of conference at home in Lehi, and decided to go down to Provo to her sister's house to have a girls' night with her 3 sisters and mom (and bambini) while the boys were all at the priesthood session. We were driving down I-15, just north of the Pleasant Grove exit, in the left lane. The HOV/carpool lane was closing (there must have been an accident there because two cop cars were parked in the HOV lane), and there was a car up ahead that needed to get over, so all the cars in front of us started braking and we did, too. The girl in the car behind us, though, must've been distracted somehow because instead of braking, she slammed into the back of my roommate's car at about 70-75 mph. I think at the last second she realized she was going to hit us and turned a little bit and smashed more into the back driver's side than the passenger side, which sent us spinning to the right into the middle of I-15. My roommate saw the car coming up fast behind us about a second before the girl hit us, but there was nothing she could do. I had no idea what was about to happen; I was just sitting in the car when suddenly I heard a loud POP and CRUNCH from the tire popping and the back of the car collapsing, and the next thing I knew, my seat crashed into the back of my head which sent my glasses flying off my head (I didn't wear my contacts that day), and the glovebox opened and everything in it came flying out at me. I was also holding a bad of pre-popped popcorn to bring to the girls' night, and on impact it also burst open and covered me in popcorn. Aubrey tried to control the car as we spun, obviously to no avail. Once we stopped moving, we both were in shock and asked if the other was alright, and then a few seconds later, the police woman who was in one of the cop cars that had been parked in the HOV ran to our car and yelled at Aubrey to move before we got T-boned (aka hit again), because her car was turned in such a way that the passenger's side (my side) was turned to face oncoming traffic. Miraculously, Aubrey was able to drive her destroyed car over to the left shoulder. I was left searching through the glovebox papers on the floor for my glasses, Velma from Scooby-Doo style. I thought for sure they'd be broken, but I eventually found them in the back seat, completely unharmed. My door wouldn't open, so I had to climb out of the driver's side to check out the damage to Aubrey's car. The back wheel was destroyed, and the trunk had just folded on itself like an accordion. The front of the car was fine, though, and the radio was still playing. Both of our phones were fine, mine was in my hand the whole time and Aubrey had hers tucked under her leg. The girl who hit us was driving a 2015 Nissan Versa (it was a rental bc she had just gotten in an accident last week), and Aubrey's car she had bought new a few years ago - 2013 Hyndai Elantra. Both cars were totaled (I'm attaching a pic of Aub's car). The whole front end of the Nissan was totally gone.
Anyway, so spare you from a lot of the inconsequential details, everyone was fine. The other girls' airbags deployed, but she was okay, and no one needed to take the ambulance. I went to the doctor yesterday and got the all-clear, and Aubrey went to the chiropractor this morning and had some vertebrae realigned, but we're both going to be totally fine. We both have some good bruises/scratches, but nothing serious. We've mostly just been sore. The other girl is okay, too. When Aubrey got the police report, I saw the girls' name on it and found her on Facebook. I actually sent her a message because I wanted to make sure she was alright and that we aren't mad at her. (Since the cops were right there and witnessed the crash, they handled everything. We didn't actually meet the girl because the cops took care of getting the insurance info and calling the tow truck and everything.)
Sorelle, I should have died on Saturday. Aubrey and I have talked about this all weekend. Her parents came and picked us up from the tow truck place, and we went down to her sister's house where we were sufficiently mothered by her mom and sisters. We also got priesthood blessings from her dad. That's when I broke down. I had been cracking jokes, offering popcorn to the ambulance guys, and Aubrey and I were literally standing on the side of I-15 looking at her destroyed car just laughing. But we both knew we'd break down later, and that moment was when her dad gave her a blessing. I lost it. I haven't cried so much in years. In Aubrey's blessing, he specifically said that Heavenly Father sent angels to protect us. Sorelle, I know with all my heart and soul and all of the life I have in me that angels were protecting us because I should not be alive right now. I keep replaying the scene over and over in my head and it doesn't make sense to me how we weren't both killed. The initial impact didn't kill us. We didn't hit ANYTHING once we got launched into traffic. In fact, it was as if all traffic on I-15 had disappeared. I'm serious. Aubrey had commented minutes earlier about how congested traffic was, but we didn't hit anyone, nor did anyone else hit us. How did no one else hit us? We were stopped in the middle of I-15 with no warning! If we had gotten hit again, the car would've hit my passenger door and I would have died, probably instantly. Angels are real, and God sent them to keep us from dying.
Surprisingly, I'm not really shaken up too bad about all of this. I mean, yeah, it was pretty traumatic, but I'm alive; I'd rather think about that than dwell on being almost dead. I'm going to make a full recovery - physically and emotionally (probably already recovered from that). I would add "spiritually" to that list, but it wasn't even damaged. Rather, it was enhanced. There are several things I've learned from this experience, and I want to share a few of them with you: 1) It's not my time to die. I've always felt that there is still a lot left on this earth for me to do, but this experience confirmed that to me. I've got a lot of work left to do. 2) The Lord loves us. 3) There are a lot of people that love us. I posted something about the accident on FB and it's been insane how many people have come out of the woodwork and said how glad they are that everyone was okay. People I haven't spoken to in years, even. Your influence never ends. 4) Your testimony can make you invincible. I had another traumatizing, potentially emotionally damaging experience in my second to last transfer with Slla Lyman (I think I've talked about it before), and it didn't harm me or have any lasting effects on me because my testimony had grown so strong throughout my mission. Getting in this car crash was similiar for me, in the sense that I'm totally okay. I have zero feelings of anger; I haven't had any at all, even though it was clearly the other girls' fault. I'm not mad. I have peace. Peace in the midst of uncertainty. Peace in the midst of confusion. Peace because I am confident in the Lord's plan. How else could I possibly feel? This is the kind of peace intended when we learn that the gospel brings us peace. It's incredible.
I love you all so much. Nothing is happenstance. The Lord is intricately involved in the details of your life, whether or not you notice it. Prayers of protection are answered. Spiritual strength can compensate where your physical strength fails. No effort is ever wasted. Serbate la fede.
Con tutto l'amore che ho,