This past weekend Tracy and I went up to Grand Rapids, MN. Saturday we attended the Grand Rapids/KAXE Riverfest music festival. We heard some great music from Wild Horses (new MN band), Chastity Brown, Shovels & Rope, and Wilco. It was a beautiful day with good friends in Northern MN. All around lovely.
Sunday we got up and rode our bikes (ebikes, so don’t worry, we didn’t wear ourselves out) on the Mesabi Trail. Again, beautiful and lovely Northern MN day. We are certainly fortunate and blessed to be able to do such things.
We then had lunch at the ubiquitous small town micro brewery. As we had to drive four hours home we passed on the local brew, but did enjoy a fresh made pizza. And then we got on the road to home.
It was an uneventful drive home until there was a bit of slowdown on I-494 as we approached I-35W. If you live in the Twin Cities, you know this spot always slows down no matter the time of day. And WHAM! our 2021 Kia Niro lurched forward and small pieces of glass filled the car. I was able to veer right onto the shoulder before being pushed into the car in front of us. No obvious injuries, though certainly stiffness and soreness that hopefully doesn’t linger or lead to something else.
The first order of business was to clear the busy freeway of the remains of our two ebikes and the bike rack. Tracy then checked on the other driver and I called 911. She was fine, though very distraught. It’s just stuff we reassured her. Stuff can be replaced. But dammit, it’s a pain in the rear now to deal with replacing that stuff. See reference to our good fortune above. We have stuff to replace and it will be. (This might be the most Minnesota, “it could be worse” thing I’ve ever written).
Here’s the real lesson. On Monday I told Tracy I was having trouble concentrating and at times during the day I noticed my hands shaking. She wisely pointed out that’s the thing with trauma, you don’t control how your body responds. In the grand scheme of things this as definitely a case of ptsd, not PTSD. More inconvenience to my daily routine than trauma.
This experience has given me new, deeper empathy for those who experience sustained and/or more significant trauma. It can mess a person up in ways you may not predict, or maybe even avoid. And it reminds me that you don’t know what trauma a person may be dealing with when you are interacting with them. So be kind, forgive, and offer grace. Anything else may just add more trauma.