Looking back, you question every choice you made. Why did I change from my flannel pajama bottoms into my swishy workout pants? Why did I throw on a bra? Why did C and I decide to wear shoes and jackets? These choices, while funny, are normally unheard of for us for a quick errand out of the house.
Why do I remember every detail of the accident? I thought I was supposed to forget the moment the car appeared out of nowhere in the dark of night. I wish I could forget what it felt like when my head crashed against the side window or the moment of impact when my face hit the airbag or reaching out to grab the front of my husband's shirt in panic. The relentless sound of the horn blaring when we came to a stop, the sight of my husband repeatedly punching the center of the steering wheel as hard as he could until it stopped. The smell of smoke and thinking we were on fire and the terrifying sound of C quietly saying, "My neck..."
We did the quick check. My husband and K had minor bumps and bruises. C and I took the brunt of the injuries, but we were all alive and that's all that mattered. Then my husband broke the silence..."Where's my hat?" (Whew. A moment of normalcy amidst the wreckage.) A policeman leaned his head into my husband's window and asked, "How is everyone?" And my husband said...."Well, I can't find my hat." (Dude, let it go.)
We started hearing the approaching sirens and C and I were surrounded by paramedics. If you've never been in this situation, and I pray you haven't, these comforting and gentle men become your immediate heroes. So when I heard a voice ask, "What size does she need?" and the man holding my neck said, "She's a small," I remember thanking him. I don't care if he was referring to my neck. He called me a "small" and he became my personal favorite.
I remember demanding that my family ride in the same ambulance. I remember being strapped to a board and carried through the dark cold and slid into the bright warm ambulance. And then I remember the rising claustrophobia-induced panic working it's way to the surface and the paramedic's face appearing in front of mine as he talked me down. That's when I heard my husband's voice say, "I got your Tough Mudder bandana off the mirror" and God (once again) used that darn event in my favor and I mentally put myself back into the underground tunnels where all I could hear was my teammate saying, "I can see the light so we're almost out" and I turned my focus onto the ambulance lights and mentally ran that statement through my head on a loop.
Then I remember lying side by side with C in a trauma room, unable to look at each other and depending on the comfort of holding hands, which is how we sleep on the nights she climbs into bed with us.
Many x-rays later, we were both cut loose from our restraints and released with pain medication, instructions to rest and warnings that the following day we would feel like we've been hit by a car. They were correct.
The healing has begun. We're starting to recover physically. Some PTS symptoms have arisen in C. She needs to sleep with us every night. She has nightmares. She was initially refusing to eat, then required me to feed her and then her awesome big brother Z, worked his bribery charm with a Happy Meal & milkshake. Her response to returning to Kindergarten is, "I better not" which is heartbreaking considering the battle we went through weening her into all-day-every-day Kindergarten and she's only been full-time for a little over a month.
Besides that, we need to focus on the basics of dealing with police reports, insurance claims and replacing our van.
There are a lot of "Why's" in this. I think it's normal to ask the hard questions and that's okay. What I don't think is okay is to stay in the why's. I completely trusted God with every aspect of my life when I walked out the front door, (dressed like my husband), on Wednesday evening. Despite the many circumstances in my life that changed that night, my God remains the same. Not only did He protect and spare my family from tragedy, but He surrounded us with friends and family who prayed, came to the hospital and sent messages of support and offers of help.
And those of you who heard me speak at the Women's Conference a couple weeks ago won't be surprised to hear this: When we left the hospital in our friend Mandi's car to go home that night, the song "Redeemed" started on the radio...and I said,
"Ssshhhh....God's hugging me right now...."
He loves me and I trust Him.
And that, my friends, will never change.