Sticks and Stones may Break My Bones, but Words WILL Hurt Me

I'm going to dedicate this entry to an emotional experience I went through two years ago on this past Monday.  I'm in the process of writing a book about the entire experience and don't want to say too much, but I will provide you with the basics.

On Sunday, October 10, 2009 at approximately 3:47 a.m., my life drastically changed.  I was on my way home from hanging out with friends after work (at the time, I worked for a local television station and got off work around 11:00 p.m., so 3:30 was the typical time on a Saturday night that I would start heading home).  I was driving home, when I approached a left hand turning lane at a very busy local intersection.  The light was a green ball & green arrow, so I, as well as 2 cars behind me, began to turn left onto the adjacent street.  Midway through the intersection, I heard a loud noise accompanied by screeching.  That part is a blur, considering I was in shock from the accident.  At first I had thought a deer ran into my car, because I had thoroughly checked the opposite lane of traffic before making my turn.  I got out of my car and noticed a motorcycle wedged into the hood of my car and a man, laying face down on the hood in a pool of blood.  I was shocked to say the least, and did all I could muster up or think of doing to help the man.  I hugged him from the back, held his hand and said prayers until the ambulances arrived.  They peeled me away from him as they rushed him to the hospital.  The man later died.

I'll make the after-story short.  I had to get a BAC test not too long after he was rushed to the hospital, to make sure I wasn't drinking and driving.  I ended up being cited with a ticket for 'failure to yield to oncoming traffic with bodily injury/death'.  We ended up hiring a criminal defense attorney (the best one in the area, might I add).  He received my BAC test, and of course it came back with a level of 0.00.  The other mans BAC, however, came back with 0.12.  He was clearly drunk and turns out (in the police report) he ran a red light.  He was also driving with a suspended license and it wasn't determined, but myself, along with three witnesses swore his lights were not on.  We had court in May 2010, and I was dismissed from all of the charges, being I was innocent.

The local newspaper had written an article on the accident, and I was disgusted with how they wrote it.  The author wrote, "He was driving a 1988 Yamaha motorcycle when it was hit by a 2003 Toyota Corolla driven by 21-year-old Michelle Ravin, said police Sgt. _______".  He was hit by Michelle Ravin?  Correction- I was hit by someone who was too belligerent to stop at a red light.  I also made the mistake of going online and reading the article that was written in the local paper and read the reader comments.  People were saying things like "I bet the girl was drunk and texting", or "Because he died, she was in the wrong", and the worst- "I saw her run a red light and hit him".  Those were all false accusations.  I was so hurt by those comments, that it made me even more upset.  Get the facts straight before you go accusing someone of something so horrific.

I would say you can imagine how I felt, from holding a mans hand who was dying on my car, to feeling the guilt of him dying and me surviving, but honestly, you can't imagine.  No one can imagine it.  You can have sympathy, but you cannot have empathy.  You can't relate to those feelings- they're indescribable.  I spent months going to weekly appointments with a counselor to learn to deal with the realization that the accident was not my fault, and that I did not cause his death.  I wasn't myself for almost a year and lost a best friend because I wasn't my usual self and didn't enjoy going out, or being in a normal social setting directly after my accident.  I endured people in my classes saying things behind my back and accusing me of his death.  I wasn't over it 2 years ago and I'm still not over it, but every day gets that much easier.  Every year I visit his grave site and bring flowers to pay my respect.  People always ask me why I feel the need to respect someone who was driving drunk and almost killed me.  I tell them it's because I spent the last few minutes of his life with him, and don't see him as a drunk driver, rather a person who was dying and needed comfort- and I was the only one who could provide him with that comfort. 

Click here to see the newspaper article.

I'll leave it at that.
Best Wishes,
-M

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