When Lives Change in a Matter of Seconds

Finding gratitude in simple joys after a devastating car accident

Posted in , Dec 6, 2017

Life after a car accident

The last thing I remember was the car speeding straight at us…and then everything went dark.

My husband, 4-year-old son, 4-month-old baby and I had left home that evening to run some errands. We were about ten miles from home when our lives changed in the matter of a few seconds.

A drunk driver coming the other direction hit the car in front of him, knocking them into our lane where we hit them head-on, both of us going about 45 miles per hour. I remember hearing my husband’s frantic “Oh, God…” and I don’t remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital. 

I had a severe concussion, a face filled with slivers of glass, a fractured ankle, a broken pelvic bone, and had broken my hip, pulling it out of the socket, and breaking pieces off it. The paramedics had been forced to cut me out of the car.

Friends who rushed to the hospital to be with us say that for hours after my surgery, I repeated, “Is Paul okay?” 

They’d reply, “He just had to have stitches for a cut on his forehead.”

And then I’d ask, “Is Jeremy (our 4-year-old) okay?” They told me he hadn’t sustained any injuries. 

And then I’d frantically ask, “Is my baby okay?” 

They told me he was in pediatric intensive care with a concussion and that he would be fine. But I was so upset that the nurses finally had to bring Tim down so I could see for myself. I’ll never forget the relief of seeing that baby boy in his little hospital gown.

That began a six-week hospital stay. Six weeks where I never once left my tiny room with the view of a concrete roof, wallpaper with 82,467 tulips on it, and the choice of three television stations. Six weeks where I was in traction and could not leave my bed. And six weeks where my sweet husband juggled working, caring for two small children, and spending time with me at the hospital.

At the end of those six weeks, I began the process of getting back on my feet—a difficult task after being immobile for so long. It would be many pain-filled months before I could walk again without crutches or a cane. 

It was a difficult time, but I learned some important things. First was intense gratitude that my family was okay. I learned to be thankful for things I’d taken for granted such as walking, the simple joy of a hot shower and being able to take care of my family instead of being the one who needed the care. I learned that friends are priceless. And I learned that God is faithful. His sweet presence and precious promises from His Word are what sustained me through that time.

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. My family learned firsthand that there can be huge consequences when folks choose to drink and drive. Do you think the risk is ever worth it? 

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