Near death experience anniversary 

12 years ago as of last night, my wife and I were driving home from a late meeting at her job.

I had stayed with her so that we could grab a bite to eat afterwards, but the meeting ran long and the rain was pretty bad and we decided not to do that. I was driving us home.

(1/ )

Near death experience anniversary 

I went down the side road that we took every night, and I drove across a narrow bridge that we drove across on a regular basis. The road was covered in a small amount of water, but nothing alarming.

The bridge was also covered in a small amount of water that I assumed was from the road. It was about 9pm, maybe a little later, and I don't see super well at night. It's possible that it was worse than I realized.

(2/ )

Near death experience anniversary 

As we crossed the bridge, I realized that the water was Suddenly deeper than it should be, and tried to back up.

As I was backing up, the front end of the car was *Pushed* by the onslaught of water, and we were turned.

At this point, we were no longer on the bridge, although I did not realize this fact for several more seconds, as the height of the car had not changed.

My wife was not wearing shoes. This meant that she noticed the water on the floor boards.

Near death experience anniversary 

She tried to smash the window, but could not.

I recognized that the power to the car was still working and was able to roll the window down. We climbed out and on the roof.

I was attempting to stay on the roof. The car was floating down stream. She slapped me up side my head and yanked me in to a tree branch.

Near death experience anniversary 

We were about 30 feet from the road, the water was up to our chests. The creek bed was about 10 feet bellow that, but we were roughly parallel with the bridge, thanks to the height of our tree branch.

A man who had witnessed this tried to walk across the ground to us.

It was not ground. It was a bridge.

He did not hear us shouting for him to stop.

He ended up in the tree with us.

Thankfully, before he tried to help, he called the fire department.

Near death experience anniversary 

As best as I can tell, we were in that tree for about 2 hours. The water got higher while we were there, but was rushing so quickly, there was no chance we'd have been able to break free from it.

I later found out that a near by neighborhood (the one we normally drove through on the way home) had flooded entirely. Buildings covered to their roofs.

Apparently some kind retaining wall had snapped as we went across the bridge, and that's what pushed us off.

Near death experience anniversary 

If we had been in the neighborhood when that happened, instead of at the bridge at it's entrance, I do not know what would have happened to us.

The neighborhood was in a valley. The bridge was on a hill. The water was 30 feet deep at the creek bed, or so, but that was only about 5 feet over the bridge.

But the road after the bridge went down hill, dropped off probably 60 feet or so.

Near death experience anniversary 

Of course, her car was totaled.

I also lost my phone (my last feature phone, which was replaced with a featureless flip phone for six months or so before I got a real smartphone) and every computer I owned, all of which had been in my backpack. (I make it sound dramatic. It was an HP 100 LX, a brand new dell laptop, and an asus eeePC. Certainly not a treasure trove, and my data drives were all fine).

Also lost were my wife's phone, and both of our film cameras.

Near death experience anniversary 

Also also lost, in a funny twist of fate, was my wife's skirt.

The fireman who eventually saved us said that it was super common in events like this, that the rushing water pulls the clothes right off of people.

It was still kind of funny as we drove back to the fire station.

Near death experience anniversary 

My dad came and picked us up from the fire station, and the whole way back to his house I just remember him shouting "DRIVE, PEOPLE. IT'S JUST WATER. MOVE."

Dad and I already had a strained relationship, but that was kind of the last straw for a long time.

Near death experience anniversary 

We were kids. Freshly graduated from highschool, trying to figure out the rest of our lives.

She bought a new car a few months later, partially paid for with insurance money and the rest financed in her own name.

That enabled her to build up enough credit history that, coupled with the little money we were able to save from our jobs meant we were able to buy a house during the aftermath of the '08 collapse.

Near death experience anniversary 

That flood changed the trajectory of our lives for the positive in many ways.

It was a bad experience, but it ended up benefitting us in the long run.

I don't think about it much anymore, but it's September 21st, so it's time to remember.

Flood photos 

We went back about a week later to retrieve the car. I took some photos, but on an exceedingly shitty camera.

Here they are.

I provide context in image descriptions.

Near death experience anniversary 

This is not the closest I've been to dying in my life, but it's the closest that I can remember.

Any of a dozen details changed slightly, timing changed on redlights, etc. and it's likely that we would not have made it.

If I'd stayed home, my wife would have suffered through it alone. Would she have made it out of the car?

Near death experience anniversary 

The other event, which I don't remember, was on valentines day in 1993. It was a pretty horrific car accident, in which I hit my head pretty hard. I don't remember anything for weeks on either side of that, even though the rest of my memory before and after the event is surprisingly clear considering how young I was.

Those are the times I've nearly died.

But I'm alive, and here we are.


Near death experience anniversary 

@ajroach42 And we're glad you made it. :-)

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