Dear Drunk Driver who Hit the Vehicle my Husband Was Riding in Late Saturday Night/Early Sunday Morning;
I won’t pretend to know what you were thinking when you slammed into the back of that Suburban and then careened into the truck my husband was riding in at the time. I don’t think I can wrap my head around the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk, drinking or even only “just had a few.” There is no excuse: You were in the wrong.
Now that we all understand that you were in the wrong, I feel the need to tell you a few things about one of the men you endangered with your bad decision.
He is, hands down, the most amazing man I have ever met. He is a devoted husband, a hands-on daddy, this house’s primary dish washer, a loving son, a helpful grandson, a loyal friend, a faithful believer, and a dedicated firefighter. I suppose if you’re going to get all willy-nilly drunk and slam into two cars that are stopped, hitting a bunch of firefighters was a good choice on your part, though I suspect that you had little to do with that aspect of the decision. But back to my husband…
He seems quiet at first, and honestly, he’s not as loud as me. He is the loud to my quiet, the relaxed to my high strung. He balances me. We’re one of those weird couples that simply matches. We are, if you’ll allow me a Sleepless in Seattle moment, MFEO. Fake gag at our sappy love all you want, everyone else does. But we’ve got a good thing going over here. And that quiet I mentioned? It disappears as you get to know him. While he’ll never be as loud as me, he is quick with a joke. The twinkle in his eye lets you know that even when he’s quiet, he’s laughing on the inside. He makes me feel like I’m the smartest, funniest, most talented, most beautiful woman on the planet. I would be lost without him.
Our two sons love him to the moon and back. About eighty bagillion times. There is no one as amazing as their daddy. I mean, what little boy doesn’t want a firefighter for a dad? He is a super hero in their eyes. He plays rough, but cuddles close. He can swing a light saber with the best of them, and has taught our boys how to cast while fishing. He’s patient when teaching them how to play baseball, how to kick a soccer ball. He does things with and teaches the boys things that I either can’t do or he just simply does better. Like vacuuming. He makes my sons feel loved, valued and important. They would be lost without him.
There are other people, removed from the obvious people like his mom and dad and sister and grandparents, who would be heartbroken without my husband. My daughter. My parents, brother and grandparents, all of whom seem to like him more than they like me. The Fake Husband. Countless others around this city whom he has touched, whom he has helped, whom he has bestowed his winning smile upon. His fellow firefighters, for whom he would lay his life on the line.
Which brings me to this point: I have learned to live with the fear, the worry, the anxiety that comes hand-in-hand with being a firefighter’s wife. Most days, I don’t think about it. He goes to work, and I busy myself with my work, our children, the home and life as it happens. I have forced myself to ignore the scanner, forced myself not to turn it on when he runs out in the middle of the night. Despite the fact that I can function even when I know he’s on a major fire, the fear always looms, lurks in the back of my head, my heart. It’s dangerous, fighting fires. It is. It makes me angry that you took something that didn’t cause me much fear — driving — and tainted it. I don’t want to live in fear every time that he leaves the house that a drunk driver will ruin everything we have with one bad judgment call.
Do you know what frustrates me most, Mr. Drunk Driver? I know nothing about you. The news media in Columbus doesn’t find a car accident caused by a drunk driver that involved three firefighters and two other civilians (of which, those two were transported to the hospital) to be news-worthy. The Ohio Crash Report doesn’t yet have you uploaded so that I can know your name, so that I can google you and figure out if you were set to lose as much as we were that night. So I can know who my enemy is. So I can say a prayer for that enemy, that maybe, God willing, the next time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you will think twice about those “just a few beers” that you have had. So that maybe you won’t put that car in drive. So that maybe you’ll think about families and fathers and mothers and children and sons and daughters and friends and co-workers and random acquaintances that would be devastated by the loss of one of their own. The good news is that, once the weekend backlog is officially entered, I’ll know who to pray for — whose name to pray never crosses our paths again.
Maybe you’re a great guy, Mr. Drunk Driver. Maybe you made one bad choice in the middle of a lifetime of great choices. Maybe you feel such remorse that it will never, ever happen again. I hope so. I hope no wife has to listen to her husband recount the moments that could have ended it all. I hope no wife has to experience worse than that — the unthinkable, the unmentionable.
I am thankful that my husband is okay. I am still praying that those in the Suburban that you slammed into first are okay. I spent most of yesterday thanking God and simply staring at my husband. The problem with that is that I’m always thankful for my husband. I didn’t need this near tragedy to open my eyes and show me what an amazing man I married. I always knew that; I didn’t need your help.
We love this man.
So, in short: Keep your drunk-driving, bad-choice-making, family-endangering behind off the road and away from my family.
The Wife of the Most Amazing Man Ever
(PS: I didn’t cuss in this letter, but let it be known: I have thought all of the letter words since the accident happened. Just sayin’.)