Counting Our Blessings
Christmas Eve plans included going over to our Pastor’s house to fellowship and enjoy playing games. Rachel and Abbey had to run an errand and they took the little car and would meet us at our Pastor’s house around six that evening.
We had a wonderful time eating snacks and lots of desserts, playing games, and laughing together. The teens and young people were in the front room enjoying games and the adults were in the kitchen around the table playing trivia games and getting to know each other better. Anna and Zak were in the den playing with the kid toys and enjoying the ‘new’ toys more than you can imagine!
We started wrapping up the evening around a quarter to nine. I was helping Anna put all the toys back and Rob was trying to keep Zak in line as we got ready to go. Rachel came and told me her and Abbey were leaving. I told them that we would be leaving shortly. Our plans were that we would unwrap one gift before bed. (Something Anna kept reminding me of as we finished putting the last toys in the tote and finding her jacket.)
We got the little kids buckled into their seats and James climbed in the back with the leftover desserts in his hand. I looked at the clock as we backed out of the parking spot, the clock read: 9:10. I picked up m cell phone to call Rachel and tell her that the door was locked at the house but that we would be there shortly to let her in. I noticed as I got ready to dial her number that I had missed a call. Just then I heard someone calling for us and running towards the van with a cell phone. It was the Pastor’s daughter.
I watched as Rob was talking on the phone and could hear Rachel on the other end; but could not make out what she was saying. Rob did not look too alarmed and then handed the phone to me after he told her to tell me where she was. He told me to find out where she was. The pastor’s daughter asked him if Rachel was OK. I heard him tell her that he was sure she was and that we needed to find her.
Rachel’s voice was extremely calm as she told me that she had wrecked the car. I assumed that she was in the ditch somewhere and was not too concerned. I told her that she needed to tell me where they were. She said she was not sure. The fog was so thick. I told her that we were pulling out of the driveway and asked her which way we needed to turn. She told me and I told Rob. Then I asked her what was wrong with Abbey. (I could hear her crying in the background.)
Rachel told me that Abbey had hit her head. I told Rachel that I was not going to get off the phone with her and to tell Abbey that we were on our way to them. (Still I was just assuming that they were in a ditch somewhere up the road a ways and wanted them to know that we were coming for them.) I told Rachel to tell Abbey that we were coming. Rachel said she was on the ground. I asked her where she had hit her head. Rachel said, “I don’t know. I think it was when the airbags went off.”
Suddenly, my paradigm changed! I questioned, “The airbags went off?”
“Yes, and I hit a tree. There is a lady with Abbey right now and they called 911.”
I put the phone down over my chin and told Rob that they had hit a tree, the airbags had gone off and 911 had been called. He looked concerned. I then asked Rachel which way I needed to turn at the upcoming intersection. She said she was not sure. She was all turned around in the fog. I asked her to put on the lady that was helping Abbey.
I questioned the lady as to their location. She told me where they were and I instructed Rob that he needed to turn around. Rachel had made a wrong turn and it was down the other road. I heard a lot of voices and a lot of confusion, and then Rachel was back on the line. She seemed disoriented. I assured her that we were almost there.
Then we saw the flashing lights.
They were getting the body board out of the ambulance and I had to will myself to stay in the van until Rob got it over to the side of the road. I ran to Abbey who was behind the car and crying in the grass. The paramedics were working on her. As I ran up to Abbey I saw Rachel run into Rob’s arms.
“I am her mother, and I am not leaving her side, “ I heard myself addressing the paramedic who was holding Abbey’s neck in place and telling her to focus on her breathing. I then sat by Abbey and told her it was going to be OK. I remember asking the man in uniform if she had been thrown from the vehicle and they assured me she had not. I helped them role her onto the board and helped Velcro the neck brace into place and watched as they taped her head into a stationary position.
I knelt in the grass and talked to her. I told her to think of her favorite Bible verse and promised her God was with her. I listened to her cry; and told her God was with her and to breathe deeply. She kept telling me that her head hurt. I called our Pastor’s wife to tell her what was going on; and handed the phone to Rob for him to give Pastor directions as to where we were – I was not sure. I knew that Pastor was on his way.
I was completely at peace. I was not shaking or crying and I felt God was right there with us. Overwhelming peace filled my heart. A total peace I can not explain. God is good.
As I was walking along the stretcher toward the ambulance I saw the State Trooper asking Rachel what happened. She explained that she had gotten turned around and could not tell where she was with fog. She was trying to get back to our Pastor’s house so she could get her bearings and figure out which way it was to home. While she was trying to find the correct street she did not see the curve and went off the road and into the tree. He asked her if they had been wearing their seat belts and Rachel assured him that they both had them on at the time of the accident. The officer told her that it was not her fault. The fog was so thick that night the ambulance had almost missed the curve coming to the scene. He informed her that he was glad she and Abbey were OK and that he would not be issuing a citation because she had not been negligent or reckless in her driving.
Abbey continued to be in a lot of pain as they worked on stabilizing her breathing and blood pressure. It appeared that we were looking at possibly a broken leg or shoulder. I was thankful that we were not looking at a life or death situation and I went out and told Rachel, Rob and Pastor that Abbey was doing OK. They allowed me to ride in the ambulance with them to the hospital. Rob followed behind. Pastor and a couple of his daughters took Zak, Anna and James home. Rachel had been treated and realeased by the paramedics, and was sent home with the others to rest.
X-rays were done and Christmas Day arrived while we were sitting in the ER room waiting for the results. The doctor came in and told us that Abbey was very lucky – no broken bones. He also told her she was going to be very sore for the next week. She was then were released to go home to the other family waiting for us.
Christmas morning started late for us this year. All of us slept in. When it was time to unwrap the gifts under the tree there was a different attitude amongst all of us. A reality that this day almost did not happen was understood by all. James read the Christmas story this year, “Unto us a child is born…”
I sat and listened and prayed and thanked God that we were all together as a family this Christmas day. It was a somber and thankful day. One I can not describe in words.
That afternoon we went to the crash scene and saw where it all had taken place the night before. We talked with the neighbors who had come out and helped our girls from the moment they heard the car hit the tree. We told them ‘thank you.’ We listened as they told us that there have been at least 10 other cars who have missed that curve without the fog that had been there the night before. They were glad we had stopped by and let them know the girls were OK. We handed them a tract with the plan of salvation and invited them to church.
I thanked God as we drove away from the curve that could have cost my girls their lives and thanked God that He had spared them and kept them with us this Christmas. I was thankful that we would not bury another daughter in December and that Anna’s birthday would be celebrated in two days – not just endured under the cloud of grief.
The car is gone; but my girls are still here. That is fine with me.
I have been thrilled to watch my girls become closer through this crisis. There have been lots of tears, lots of prayers and the last few days have been savored. Being together as a family is not something that is guaranteed for tomorrow – or for the next hour even.
Everyday is a gift. Life is a gift from God. So thankful that He has more plans for my girls and that He allowed them to stay with us longer.
Hug your children; and cherish another day with them. Thanks for stopping by – I am so glad you did!