The most traumatic incident of my life, and rebuilding.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
July 4th my oldest daughter Jayme, my children, grandchildren and foster children went to see the fireworks about 30 minutes away. We left at the same time, my 12 year old Hannah deciding to ride home with Jayme and spend the night. We said our goodbyes and due to traffic, they left before me.
15 minutes later, I saw an awful accident, the car was upside down, dust was still in the air. No ambulance or police was there yet. A man was directing traffic. I slowed down to let the first ambulance around. I could hear a woman screaming "I have a baby and a boy's on the ground".
My heart stopped. Literally couldn't breathe. I began to attempt calling my daughters but nobody answered. My son began to sob and cry. I couldn't tell if it was my daughters car and I was frozen in that moment. I couldn't move. I could just scream into the phone "ANSWER THE PHONE". Later.. days later... Jayme had a voicemail where I forgot to hang up. I was screaming "my babies, that's my babies, that's my daughters". I didn't recognize myself.
I pulled onto the curb and continued to scream. I was frozen and afraid to run to the accident. A man came to me and I continued to scream I thought it was my babies. My world stopped in that moment. He told me to go identify my children and I thought he was saying they were gone. I couldn't do anything but scream.
I did not know I could be hysterical. I didn't know that I could scream the way I screamed. Somewhere from deep inside came panic, fear and absolute primal screams. I dropped to my knees and began to pray "no God, not my babies, spare my babies". My ten year old son had his hands folded and prayed so hard. He never prays outloud but I could hear him begging God to spare his sisters, niece and nephew.
It is a blur. I remember another man grabbing me and asking if they were mine. he said "we have a girl in the ambulance, a woman we are attempting to put on a stretcher and two small children". I could barely choke out "are they breathing". He said he thought so and I ran. I saw my sweet grandbaby covered in blood, the woman holding her said she was a nurse for 26 years and that she was ok. I saw my grandson next and he was crying. I told him he was going to the hospital and I would see him there. I could hear my 12 year old screaming "MOMMY" and I ran to the ambulance. She was dirty and bruised but breathing. She was in a neckbrace and held down. I just prayed for her and told her I would follow her. My oldest was then brought in the ambulance and I could see it was bad. She could only ask about her babies and say she was sorry.
The next hours are a blur of ambulance, police, racing between four rooms at a hospital to find out that everybody was going to be ok. Our pastors wife was working on my oldest daughter, which helped. The grandbabies dad showed up to help them. My 12 year old was admitted for a serious concussion. Somewhere I heard that a deer went in front of them, she swerved, lost control, plunged down an embankment and flipped from 4-5 times. The car is totaled... they had to be cut out of the car. My babies. Cut out of a smashed broken vehicle by people who cared enough to stop. Angels.
Life was turned upside down. Hannah was released the next day, and will recover but has significant bruising on her brain. Jayme is still in pain, but is beginning to be able to move and walk slowly. The grandkids came through remarkably well, with only some bruising, bloody noses and scrapes. Thank God for Carseats. For seatbelts. For paramedics and nurses who cared enough to stop.
Now it is time to rebuild. I have stayed with my oldest daughter and grandchildren since then. Have been afraid to let them out of my sight. They are all even more beautiful and perfect then ever before.
And, time to get back to the goal of health. To living a long time to laugh and play and hike and camp with my grandbabies. To cry at their weddings, to celebrate another fourth of July, to celebrate life. Life is so short, so quickly taken away. This has taught me so much.
I am looking forward to returning to my home this week, to beginning to rid my body of hospital food, comfort food (I have eaten more ice cream this week then the entire last two years) and to exercising again. I am grateful for this community and those of you that have emailed me, texted me, and posted on this page. I am part (or was part) of two BLC challenges and had to pull out. Next time...