My Grief Challenges

Inclement Weather Day November 22, 2014

       483488_10151296312805784_1201018438_n   November 13th, a 2 hour late start, which then turned into an inclement weather day.  I had been able to get my loopin’ finished before the decision had come through. There were a few times, while loopin’  when the frozen rain hit my face, it was a bit painful.    The cold was not the problem, it takes me 2 laps to get warm, then it becomes a matter of convincing my lungs that loopin’ is a good thing.                      Thursday, the eery numbness seemed to have dissipated. It had been replaced with an eery dread.     For several days, now, my gut has been grinding—incrementally—probably just reality slams and or guilt slams, in the making.  Or maybe just the  usual dread of any Friday.        Was there more. ?                                                                                          I  used the unexpected free time to work on ornament parts.  I enjoyed every minute of  folding, looping and twisting 300  pieces of wire.  It seems the storm never developed as expected, but I was thankful not to be driving passengers during the times of pelting ice drops.                                                            Bob and I had prepared for a Friday of icy drives to work,  but a quick check revealed dry roads.                      Cold and dry I was going to get my loopin’ finished.                                                                                                         There were no road closures and I had not been instructed to do a snow route.   I had no problem on the first part of my run.                                                 As I was approaching-slowly a steep right, I noticed a glare.   A quick check behind, hazards on, pause, honk and a back-up was in order.  I knew I would need  to back-up  quite a ways so I would be able to be up to speed to drop the chains. I wanted to be able to take the corner at a slow approach after the chains were in motion.   I was thankful that the road was not busy. My chains did a champ of a job.  I had a passenger to pick up at a slick area, at which time I decided to use a new turn around.   I had a bad feeling in my gut regarding my usual turn around.   No problems.         As I was getting ready to turn onto the next icy issue, a call came over the radio for the driver ahead of me to not use the upcoming road. Dad’s would take their children to school-the road was very bad.  Well, it didn’t involve me, so I was going to proceed. I thought if the other bus wasn’t on the bad road, I would be able to creep forward , up the steep slope of  a road.     I did not want to stop until the top, where the road was more level.                             My plan was changed,  as I turned the corner, looking at the cars, in my path, wanting to weave through carefully.   Some cars had been hit by other cars and were angled into the road.       A couple of Dad’s were out at the intersection-trying to help motion cars through.   I was doing fine.   Looking ahead, the bus was in front of me, after all.  I had seen it in enough time to figure how slow I could go without slipping back. As long as I did not have to stop, I was sure I would be fine.                                                                                                   For some reason, the bus in front of me,  hadn’t moved.    I knew if I stopped, the steepness of the road and ice would be against me.   At the same time I had wondered if the bus  in front of me would be able to move.                     I had to stop.  Hoping I had left enough space, in-case the other bus slid.  He was at an area that was not as steep as where I was. I could tell that the ice wasn’t as thick.  A parent finished talking to the bus driver and crossed the road.      Then I saw sparks come from the chain area, of the other bus.  He had been able to get going.   I had the break set and was doing a slow rev in order to hope for a go.   Nope. the bus started sliding back. The nose of the bus had gone, a little, to the left.  My  bus finally quit sliding.  I put out a call, sure I was going to need help. I had 12 elementary passengers on the bus.      I wanted them safe. I had seen at my back left the pick up angled out into the road. On my right was a curb and  a fancy huge house. The ice on that driveway was so thick I knew if I went there, the house would be ruined. I tried 2 more times to get the bus to move forward. It did not. It slid back and the nose was wanting to continue to my left.         Suddenly,  the bus stopped. ???    BlueBird Bus   ( This is the type of bus I drive.)                                                           I was thankful that there was enough room around the bus for chaining.   I made a distress call-I did not care who heard or how I sounded- I set the E brake, planted my  right foot on the brake and was not going to budge until I had help.  When I looked around, I was thankful my passengers seemed untroubled – how ???      Normally, we are not to idle our buses for more than a minute. I called in asking permission to   keep the bus on. I was told yes-to keep my passengers warm.     Then 2 rigs fishtailed up past me.   I was worried about the one rig preparing to back into a driveway. I thought the rig was not going to be able to stop.  The mechanic truck, I was sure it was going to slide down to me, but, no, he was able to get parked off street.  The  trainers were having a hard time getting down to me. Then I remembered my shoe grippers. Shoe Grippers   I got them out. They were very helpful.  I just wished I had more-as I looked out my front window,    the mechanic was on his rear, sliding down, to my bus.  He told me how he had broken his ankle the previous year and did not want that to happen again.  I was asked to shut the bus off, while a plan was figured.     All this time my passengers had sat so well. I had been worried that wiggling the bus might make it slide, so I had asked them to sit still.                                                            One of my passengers had on a hoodie, anklets and “high-water” pants. He was getting cold. I had everyone sit 3 to a seat. I gave my loopin jacket to the boy.                                                                                               Finally, the chains were on. The ice had made it a difficult task. The mechanic figured the ice to be at least 1/2 an inch thick-he didn’t think the chains were going to be effective.                                     My helpers boarded, I was given instructions on what to do. Once started we were going to try and pick up some stranded high- schoolers and take them to their bus.    We were heading down-what I knew as a steep and windy road. A man was frantically waving and mouthing “Don’t go”.   I planted the bus. I told  my trainer I did not want to go until I knew what was wrong.  As he went to check, a pick up came out of a driveway. He was going to come up my way. The ice won and he slid back into a couple rigs.    I was told I was going to have to back-up and turn around. Oh man-I was sweating bullets.  It took some time, but we made it.                                                               I was given a chance to let someone else drive. I had declined. I was sure that I had messed up bad and I needed to drive out of this situation.  Then I was suppose to go down the ice hill I had been stuck on.    All worked out okay.                                            Once my helpers were out of the bus-I was worried for them, they had a long slick stroll, to their parked rigs,                            I wanted my passengers to talk to me about what had just happened.   They decided to call this their special field trip with Mrs. K. They were looking forward to telling their school mates.  One passenger commented that she learned that “bus drivers don’t have such an easy job, after all.”                                                                                            I know my insides had been shaking since before I had to stop, behind the other bus. The angst was mounting, but I did not want my passengers to know.   Finally, my passengers were safe at school.           By this time, I was shaking.  Dispatch had asked me a question-I must have sounded awful.  I headed back to the garage.  I was in front of the shop-trying to find the broken link, the trainer had told me  about.   The mechanic, who slid down the hill, came out to let me know my chains were okay.         I was loading them into their container when he asked me if I had aged 10 years.          By this time, tears had been falling , when I looked up, some took a long fall to the ground. I admitted to the mechanic that these stresses take me back to the day Shawn died. The stresses, my failures— my  anguish was brewing over.                          It hit me in the face, about the  growing eery dread—me, stuck on ice.                    My new fear was, my passengers wouldn’t  be allowed to ride my bus, anymore.     They all rode, on Monday. I was relieved.                                                                                                                                                                                        So, Friday the 14th. My Dad’s  I hope his day was better than mine !!!               959ff6b18e569588b09cd511f2da3942


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