Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Wreck That Saved My Life

This year, I am especially thankful for many things….
The first being Life and all that it brings
Next being family and those I hold dear
How precious they are and how lucky I am to have them near
I am thankful for laughter, smiles and fun…
Treasuring those moments and remembering days when there were none
The stars, the sun and sky … all of God’s beautiful displays
Remind me how thankful I am of experiencing every day
I’m grateful for the lessons learned, as on this journey I go
And welcome the opportunities that come and how they help me grow
Even little every-day things that are overlooked by many
I’m thankful for them all and wouldn’t trade any
I am ever-grateful to God, who each of my blessings gives
His wisdom, guidance and strength are by which I live
With all this said, I cannot forget one more important gift
Friends like you that motivate, inspire and lift!
Happy Thanksgiving!

I wrote this poem the Thanksgiving that followed our motorcycle wreck, in 2005.  That was such a powerful year for us and a visible symbol of how short and precious life is.  Below is a story I wrote last year, reflecting on the impact of that wreck and how it changed us - for the better - forever.  It may sound odd to say you are thankful for a motorcycle wreck but it was blessing in a disguise....

The Wreck That Saved My Life

Five years ago this week, Tim and I were in a near fatal motorcycle wreck. At the time, and for years after, I felt it was the most difficult thing we'd ever endured. I had hoped it would be; that somehow, we were given a tragic moment early in life and would be spared pain in our future. Sadly, our life would be turned upside down only three years later with the loss of our son, Austin. The wreck doesn't even compare to the pain of losing a child. Broken bones hold nothing to a broken heart.

Even though I still suffer lasting injuries from the wreck, I am thankful for it. Though I am weaker physically as a result, it made me a stronger person. It undoubtedly brought me closer to God. The wreck made me realize how fragile and short life is and to treasure every moment. It made me appreciate the simple things and every day experiences that others may overlook.

People always say in a near death experience, their past flashes before them. With me, it was the opposite, it was my future. What I saw were the snapshots of time with my children that I was going to miss. I saw the timelines and milestones that I wouldn't get to be a part of, should I not make it through the accident.

My children are what kept me grounded through the chaotic, terrifying scene I found myself in the middle of. Externally, I was fairly calm and composed, spouting off birth dates and numbers to the faceless voices above me. Internally, I was fighting with every ounce of my soul and in deep conversation with God. I didn't care what condition my body was in, I just wanted to remain on this Earth to be with my boys and be a Mom to them.

The wreck also strengthened our marriage. I remember nearly every moment of the wreck, from impact to the ambulance, to the ER and hearing the gasps of family as they arrived and saw me, to being wheeled to surgery. The only part I don't remember is right after impact when I briefly lost consciousness. Witnesses have told me that even though the motorcycle had pinned Tim down; he pulled himself out from under it and literally crawled to me, grabbing my hand before he too lost consciousness. That act of love will forever speak to how deeply he cares for me.

For the first time in our marriage, we were forced to sleep in separate beds and in different rooms. Yet, I would often wake up from the fog of medicine they kept me in, to see him sitting in a wheelchair beside me. Later, we would arrive home to again be separated, as my injuries kept me in a hospital bed for many months. Tim refused to sleep in our bed without me though and lived those long weeks on the couch, again beside me.

We joked that we had become our grandparents, with our oversize pill holders and medical equipment. We were more dependent on each other than ever, as an act as simple as a shower now took an entire morning, followed by a nap to recover. I appreciated then the time we were able to spend together and the patience the wreck was teaching us. I never imagined we would need this strength just a few years later.

What I am most grateful for in the wreck is the awareness of how special life is and to soak up every moment with my children. Nothing was better than spending time with them. We made beautiful memories that I cherish, especially now with Austin gone. Whether it was on an amazing vacation or a simple night at home, we appreciated every second with them. Hugs and kisses had more meaning because we knew how lucky we were to be there with our boys.

I was thankful to be given a second chance at life, grateful for each sunrise because it meant another day to spend with my family. Looking back, I am so appreciative of that time. In those days and months after the wreck, I sat in the moment, thankful for the gift of being there. Never would I have thought that a few years later, we would lose our most precious gift. I knew for myself how short life was - and is - but never guessed it for one of my children.

Losing Austin has been a nightmare I wish daily we could wake from. It is a pain that even the lessons from the wreck did not prepare me for, if there is anything that even could. However, that wreck brought each of us closer together individually and as a family. And I will forever cherish our time with Austin and I am grateful that the last three years we were especially aware of how precious those moments with him were.

Don't let God give you a speeding ticket. Slow down.
Make the most out of life.

Look at more sunrises. Find joy in every day.

Never go to bed angry. You might not get a second chance to make up.

Trust God. He always gives you the strength you think you don't have.

Laugh. A Lot. It makes any bad day seem a little better.

Answer every question when your child asks, "Why."

Don't take the little things for granted.



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