I know so many of us have received that dreaded phone call that informs you that someone you love was in an accident. Nothing can make your heart drop faster. That is why when I got into a serious car wreck last Friday I knew to start the phone calls with “Everyone is fine, but…”.
The week before this happened we had driven from Ohio to Texas. We spent our vacation playing cards with family, overeating, swimming in the pool, and getting caught up on each other’s lives.
The morning we planned to head home, J’s sister treated the kids and me to see Toy Story 4. I drove the kids because I wanted J to sleep in as long as possible in preparation for the long drive ahead of him. Afterward I followed behind J’s sister’s truck on the highway as we headed back to the house. Everything was fine until a semi truck suddenly pulled into my lane. I don’t want to give details in case I have to go to court. I hope that’s not the case but I am going to play it safe until all the dust settles with the insurance companies.
SJ was in the third row next to the window and Ezie was in front of her in the second row next to the passenger window when that side of the car was sideswiped by a semi truck!
I ricocheted between the truck and a concrete barricade. The windshield and passenger window glass was smashed out of the car. The side view mirror landed in the front seat. Mirrors, and lights, and compartments were crushed. The airbags were deployed.
I heard the smash and my van soon came to a stop. At that moment I honestly didn’t know if the accident was fatal. Time stood still and I felt like my whole world went dark for half a second then I cried out, “Are my babies okay!?”. I unbuckled the seat belt and shattered glass fell off of me as I went in between the front seats to reach my children. SJ was screaming, and Z was crying. I was able to look and talk to each one of my children as I dialed 911. The biggest injury was SJ’s elbow which was scratched and bruised but not severe. I got a little scratched and bruised too but we were all okay. It was a miracle!
Then a white truck pulled up behind me and a man ran to the back of the van, but couldn’t get the door all the way open.
I squeezed through the opening and abruptly asked if he could tell the dispatcher where I was because I had no idea. I gave this older gentleman my cell phone and without thinking I wrapped my arms around him as if I could transfer all of my weight and all of the pain onto him. I started sobbing uncontrollably for a moment. I knew my kids were okay and something in my gut needed to feel rescued by someone more grown up than me. I couldn’t speak, but I was so grateful he was there to help and that we were all alive.
At that point I climbed back into the van with my four children. “I love you. I love you. I love you.” I sputtered as I gasped for air. “I am so glad you are okay. It’s going to be okay. Thank you Jesus for saving us.” Then my sister in law showed up after crossing through traffic while on the phone with J directing him on where to find us. An off duty nurse also arrived and we got the van turned off and exited onto the side of the road. No one saw the driver for a few more minutes and we worried that it was a hit and run, but eventually he walked back to the scene of the accident. The cops had lots of questions and for the most part I was able to speak clearly but I started to lose feeling in my legs and my breath kept getting heavier.
Eventually, my van was towed away and the kids rode back to the house with J while my sister in law took me to the ER to get treatment. I couldn’t stop reliving the moment. I would see flashes of the trauma in my mind and then I would shake uncontrollably. I felt fear pumping through my veins. When we arrived at the hospital and I felt far away from the scene of the accident I could finally calm down. The doctors gave me prescription pain meds and muscle relaxers for the inevitable soreness that comes when you wreck a car on a highway where the speed limit is 75.
That night back at my in-laws house J wanted me to play dominoes to get my mind off of things and I tried, but I couldn’t finish the game. The anxiety was overwhelming. I excused myself and went to bed and I woke up 16 hours later.
We took a couple of days to rest per the Doctors instructions and finally headed home. I knew getting back in a vehicle and being on the highway again would be difficult for me. J got a beast of a car so that I would feel safe. When we first started out I would gasp and close my eyes a lot but I managed.
At night though when it was dark all you could see was semi trucks and their headlights all around us and they felt terribly close. Ezie and SJ started crying. It felt so scary like being in a black ocean with sharks and whales all around ready to swallow us. I turned around so that I couldn’t see out my window and I held their hands. Ezie said “but mommy that truck is getting so close to us. I’m scared of a wreck. What if…” I cut him off. “I want you to close your eyes and sing with me.” I sang Your name is like honey on my lips… one worship song after the other… You’re never going to let me down… we cried out Through it all, through it all my eyes are one you… and they joined me as we Raised a Hallelujah louder than the unbelief! I could sense a shift in the atmosphere. I could barely sing out the words as I wept through the lyrics- You make me brave. You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the Love that made a way. Then they were asleep. I gently let go of their hands, turned back around, and looked straight ahead into the deep dark sea of uncertainty in front of me.
I have had to trust God for every ounce of strength I have needed to get through this. I usually see myself as a courageous mama bear, but this wreck has left me feeling as crumpled and banged up as the van they had to tow away. Thankfully I have an army of friends and family willing to fight this battle with me. I feel their prayers.
We are going to get through this. No fear can hinder the promises He made.