I wanted to share what happened to my oldest son A and I yesterday. Not so much so everyone can read it, although, I'm happy if you do, but more so for my own personal memory.
We were driving home from General Conference in Salt Lake City. It was such a sweet experience to be present for one of the sessions with A who was old enough to go. In order to get home we have to come off the freeway and then drive another hour through a canyon. It was raining in the canyon and at some points visibility got pretty bad. Being the cocky Oregonian that I am, I pressed on passed the other cars. When the torrential rain hit us, I slowed. It's hard to remember, but I think I was initially going 70, I think I slowed to 60 as the visibility out my window all but disappeared. I could still see it though.
I could see the massive puddle of standing water about a hundred yards in front of us. I tried to slow even further, but as you're traveling at those speeds, a hundred yards is a blink. The rain had blessedly stopped dumping on us by this point and I shouted, "Hold on, A!"
We hit the water and floated straight for a second. Then the back fishtailed to the left. We hung there, sliding sideways down the freeway for what felt like ages. I turned the wheel to try and keep us in some sort of control. The cars' back spun around the opposite side and completed the circle. The median flashed before my eyes and I steered as best I could while we careened 60 mph down the highway in circles. I don't know how many turns we achieved. Maybe two, before we hit the gravel on the side of the road. Spun another time, I think halfway on the freeway and on the gravel. It was here that I thought our car was going to flip. I could feel it tilted dangerous on my side. I was still gripping the steering wheel, determined to control the situation as best I could. I just wanted to keep A safe. I didn't care what happened to me, so long as A was not on the side that got hit. He was the only thing I could think of. Just keep him safe. Drive this car and keep him safe.
I wanted so bad to let go of the wheel and run to him. Cocoon him in my arms so when we crashed, I took the damage he was going to take.
As we hit the dirt. I was able to get us out of our last spin-- I think that was me that did it-- but we were still going painfully fast. The next thing I saw was a 10ft fence. We smashed into it, along with a small post and maybe a few bushes. I later found out, there was a boulder involved as well. Our ride came to a halt as the fence caught us and absorbed most of our energy.
We were face down in a ravine. But we weren't at the bottom of it. The wire fence was holding us up. The front window was smashed. Maybe more was smashed. I couldn't tell.
I immediately turned around and looked at A, "Are you ok bud. Don't move. Don't move. It's going to be ok." My voice was shaking. My hands were shaking. I was terrified that if we moved we would go down the rest of the way into the ravine. It wasn't far I don't think, but it was hard to tell maybe 10 to 15 more feet down. Our car was tilted so that if A were to unbuckle his seat belt, he'd come flying down at me.I was so scared that if he came to me, the car would flip over on itself down into this ravine.
My phone was still under my leg, I never put it there when I drive. The battery had only 4% and I called 911. A was crying. He was so terrified when I looked at him. My voice was barely doing me any good. I could see a man running up to us. Our real life guardian angel. I don't remember what he said to me, but I told him he had to get my son. He ripped open the back of our car and pulled him out, carrying him and running to his car where his children sat.
It was raining.
His wife ran up to me. I couldn't open the driver's side door. Maybe the giant fence post and gnarled metal tangled around it had something to do with it. I tried to climb out the window, but wasn't having a good go by myself. This amazing woman helped me pull myself out the window and then she lifted me off the fence post to the ground. I was still on the phone with 911. With no shoes, I ran... or did I walk?
I found myself sitting in this family's car as I spoke to the dispatcher. They asked me if they should send an ambulance. This felt like a really stupid question to me, even in my shocked state. I kind of thought that was what you sent when the person on the line tells you they were in a car accident. I told her there was no visible damage to our bodies, but I wanted to make sure my son was ok. Two minutes after I called them an ambulance arrived. Then another. Followed by 3 state troopers. Then for good measure, two fire trucks, another ambulance I think? And three more cop cars.
My wonderful hubby was called sometime during this point. I couldn't stay on the phone with him for long, I think this may have scared him more by hanging up so quick.
I will never forget the kindness this family and another offered me at this time. They ran back to the car to get our shoes. A didn't have his on either. They stayed with us and offered their phones since mine was now at 3%. I asked for some baby wipes to wash my hands and face with and one of the gentlemen there ran to his car and gave me an entire pack to keep. :)
They were our guardian angels that night. I felt such relief I felt when I saw A being carried away from the accident and that he was not hurt.
After the ambulance came, they whisked us to the back of their vehicle pretty quick. We checked out by their standards. Which worked for me. I was still trying to get my voice under control and talk like a normal person again at this point.
Then came the questions. First from the medics. Then from the state trooper who responded first. Then again from the medics and the state trooper.
A tow truck was called.
We sat in the State Troopers car. A opted for the front seat, while I sat in the back in the cage. ;) He thought this was pretty funny. Apparently his shock of what happened had worn off rather quickly. Mine was still clinging to me like a bad cologne.
We sat in the state troopers car for a long time. He explained a lot of things to me and even spilled some of his Pepsi on A's white sunday shirt. A found this to be hilarious. :) I bet you, 10 years from now, that will be what he remembers most. Or at least I hope.
I had no way to get home.... naturally, but my hubby had no way of getting to me either. In the end, one of the other state troopers took us home. He was so kind and amazing with us.
Heavenly Father was looking out for my son and I that night. As we were spinning on the road I felt that our car was in a very controlled and guided path as we moved. I don't know how to explain it other than these angels knew we were going to crash, so they directed it. As I was steering, I felt completely calm. I knew without a doubt what I had to do with my hands. I knew which direction to steer. It felt like I was driving with another persons' hands on the wheel with me. I guess tonight I was fortunate enough to be reminded that I am still needed on this earth.
A few days later: A and I were checked out by some doctors. A is experiencing some PTSD. He had a nightmare that night that he was in the crash again, but this time his seat belt was not on and he flew through the windshield and broke his head. He told my mother as we skyped my family that night, that he was scared that he would never see me again. And then his behavior has changed. The doctor said that A's way of coping might be to act extremely silly and spastic. I really hate that he has to go through all this. His knee has been pretty sore as well. And then my injuries are mostly bodily soreness. Back, shoulders, hips, neck. Oh... and I have a concussion. So hopefully all this makes sense!
I will never have enough thank you's to say to those first people that pulled us out of our car, to the officers and paramedics that cared for us. For my hubby's sister and her family's sacrifice to come up and help us as we work to get back on track. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and for the rest of my life.
~Can't remember if I shared this one yet or not: A stole something from the store yesterday... so I get to go with him to return it later today. When I told him he was in trouble, he asked, "You're not going to call the police are you??" And before I could say anything, E looks forlornly at him and says, "Yeah, she is."
~October 29th, 2013
Our littlest boy hasn't been on here yet. And he's pretty cute. So he get's a spot. A.M is still drinking out of a bottle. He's 13-months-old and still attached to the things. I went into the kitchen to give him some milk since he was all sorts of annoyed at me. When I gave him his bottle, he grabbed it, and walked out the the kitchen, laughing triumphantly like some evil little elf that had just pulled one over on someone. :)
E rubbed toothpaste all over my just cleaned bathroom counter tonight. We'll forget right now that this means most of his teeth did not get cleaned, because all of the toothpaste was on my counter. I was pretty ticked and feeling fairly justified in my anger since he does this ALL the time. I snapped at him to clean it up and to not rub toothpaste all over my house! (yes I have found it rubbed on my walls before.) He yells back at me: This is not your house! Everything belongs to Jesus!
Papa K and my cute oldest boy, A and cute middle son E went shopping while he was watching them for us. Each got to push their own little shopping cart. A was the only one with something in his cart, milk. Both boys, being my kids of course, were running all over the grocery story. So Papa asked them to slow down. A says to Papa, "I know, if I go too fast, I'll turn the milk to butter."