As I left the office, the only thing I could think about was getting out of my suit and heels and into some sweats and tennis shoes. I was looking forward to relaxing as it had been a very long day and the end of the week was near, the weekend holding a promise of maybe some relaxation and rest.
I turned on the radio in my truck to relax on my way home. As I merged into to traffic on I-480 south bound, I found that the traffic had soon come to a crawl. I turned stations on my radio to see if there may be a traffic report to explain the congestion. A news report came on shortly explaining a horrific accident that had occurred on the I-480 north bound side that was causing many problems for traffic proceeding in both directions. I decided that I really did not want to deal with the traffic mess and would exit at the first chance and take the side streets home. I tuned back onto my music, as I approached the next exit near Creighton Medical College, I could see the wreckage on the off ramp. It was horrible! The red car had folded like an accordion upon hitting the tree. There, of course, were medical crews on scene and they appeared to be administering CPR to the poor individual extracted from the car. I said a silent prayer for God's will and proceeded off the exit ramp.
I decided to stop at a convenience type food mart to grab milk and bread, hopefully keeping me from having to go out later in the evening. I made my way through the store looking for the items I needed, as I rounded the corner, my cousin Arnie approached from the other side. I was so excited to see him! It had been months since we had seen each other. I knew he had recently taken on a second job to make ends meet (times are tough all over and a dollar doesn't seem to stretch as it used to) but he looked terribly exhausted. "Arnie!" I exclaimed, "I am so glad to see you!" He stared blankly at me for a few moments then greeted me with a hug and a "how are you". I told him I was well and asked how he was doing. "I am --- okay. I am so tired, so tired. I want to go home". I asked him if he needed my help. He said no, he had a fare he was picking up at Creighton, he was driving a taxi as his second job. It was important to finish the job and pick up the fare.
He looked so tired and had such a blank expression that I became concerned. I told him I would call his dispatch and tell them he was ill, I could drive him home to rest and they could send someone after the taxi. He said no, he had to pick up his fare, He then kept repeating, at least three or four times, that he just wanted to go home, do his job and go home. Arnie had three wonderful children that he loved more than life itself and I was assuming his was missing his children, but he just looked ill. I told him that we needed to keep in touch and that I missed seeing him. He turned and walked away towards the check out stand and looked back over his shoulder. As he walked away, over his shoulder, he said 'love ya'. His words were slow and halting and he was walking very slowly. My concern maintained. I felt he was ill and needed to rest.
I grabbed the couple of items I needed from the store and proceeded to the check out. I figured I could catch up to Arnie and maybe persuade him to take me up on my offer to take him home. He should not be driving, let alone picking up taxi fares, feeling that poorly. As I approached the check stand, Arnie was no where in sight. I asked the clerk if she saw which direction Arnie had gone. She asked what he looked like, I described him, and Arnie was hard to miss. He was about 6'3", 250 pounds with shoulder length blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. The clerk replied she had not seen anyone fitting that description. There was only one check out register, so... I chalked it up to her having seen so many people all day that she had forgotten. I looked into the parking area quickly to see if I could pick him out in the lot anywhere. He was no where to be seen. I made my purchases and continued home. I figured I would call Arnie later and see how he was feeling.
As I continued my drive home, the radio mentioned the accident again and stated the interstate was still backed up due to the accident. I got home, changed clothes and sat down to relax. My husband asked if I would like to go to dinner at one of those family style restaurants, neither of us wanting to cook. We got back into the truck, the radio announced the accident was still being cleaned up. We took the side streets. As we ordered our dinner, I began to get a terrible headache. A few minutes later I became very nauseated. I thought perhaps I was suddenly coming down with something.
Our dinner was served and I asked for a box. With the way I had started to feel, I would not be able to eat a thing. A few minutes later my cell phone rang. It was my Aunt, Arnie's mother. She informed me that Arnie had just passed on. He was in a horrible car accident driving his taxi. She went on to explain that it was the very accident that had been on the radio and had blocked traffic earlier in the evening. I was stunned! The accident occurred at around 4:15 PM. They had a terrible time extricating him from the wreckage. He passed at Creighton Medical Center at 6:30 PM.
I was absolutely numb! I had just seen and visited with Arnie at the food mart at 5:30! How? Why? I am still numb and confused. This incident occurred 2 days ago, and as I grieve for Arnie and for my families loss I also continue to wonder and feel confused and actually a bit frightened.
Why do these things keep happening to me? What shall I do about this?