A year ago, I received one of “those” phone calls. Those dreaded phone calls that makes your world stop.
I come from a very large family – my Dad is one of 17 children, I am grandchild number 30 or something – there are a lot of us! There is one cousin though, who I have always connected with. We spent our summers camping together, and spent the winters writing letters and sending them in the mail because emailing and texting didn’t exist for us yet. We got ourselves into lots of trouble and laughed until our bellies hurt more times that I can count. Apparently covering our 8-year-old selves entirely in mud from nose to toes was not as fun for our parents as it was for us!
We both have our own families now and busy lives. When I got the call, they had just celebrated their daughter’s first birthday.
And the phone call.
My dad telling me my dear cousin was in a terrible car accident. Her daughter was in the car with her.
It wasn’t good.
They were both rushed to the hospital and her sweet baby girl was being air lifted to the children’s hospital hours away. I felt so helpless and could barely contain the grief.
I saw a photo of the accident. My heart sunk even further. The car was crumpled. The back seat was non existent really. My heart continued to break.
Surgery. Brain surgery. That is what was required to save her precious little girl. A full day of talented doctors doing their very best to help this innocent little girl who was just learning how to walk. Every family member waiting with hope in their hearts that we would see her amazing smile again.
And the worse part… it could have been avoided. They were hit from behind by a distracted driver.
Distracted driving. It’s against the law and lives can be turned upside down. This still isn’t enough to change everyone’s mind. When I’m out running, I see so many drivers with phones to their ears, and drivers looking down and texting. While out on a walk last summer with a friend, we literally jumped towards the ditch to avoid a mishap with a distracted driver. I doubt to this day that he even knew we were there. That text, call, makeup application, dancing to music and recording yourself – it could all end with your loved ones getting one of “those” phone calls. We all need to just drive.
The amazing part of this story is that through all the hurt, pain, worry, heartache, and sorrow, we were all given that chance to see her amazing little smile again. It took time but now, a year later, she is an adorable, smart, funny and amazing little two-year-old, who is loving life and enjoying being a big sister. I suspect that she will get into just as much trouble as her mother and I did when we were little.
She has already made me laugh so hard my belly hurt. It was awesome!
We were blessed with an opportunity to learn.