We rushed to the hospital, not knowing what we would discover when we arrived. As we pulled into the parking lot, we saw a helicopter coming in for landing. At the time, we didn’t know which child it was. My mother-in-law called to ask me what I needed her to do. I told her to be there with my husband and to not let him out of her sight. My husband later exclaimed, “So that is why I couldn’t ever shake her!” Alex, who turned 18 a week before the accident, was being taken to the adult hospital while our 3 youngest boys were taken to Children’s. I couldn’t be in both places at the same time and I struggled with this over the next few weeks. My phone became my lifeline between both hospitals.
Have you ever gotten hurt but was afraid to look at it to see how bad it really is? That is exactly how I felt while being taken back to see Alex. I needed to see him for myself, to know that he was okay, but the fear was overwhelming. You keep telling yourself that you can do this. You are strong. The truth is you don’t have a choice. It is like walking face first into your biggest fear. When I first saw him my heart exploded with relief and fear, all at the same time. I could see that he had badly broken bones. He was covered in blood and had almost bit his tongue in half. His vitals were all over the place. We were told to wait in the hall as they performed x-rays. The sound of his screaming tore through me. It is a sound that I will never forget. I will admit that I actually ran from the sound. I just couldn’t do it, not yet. Your new best friend is the surgeons as they come to deliver new information. I have always been the mom who was nervous when my children were sick. Why do they have a fever? Can the doctor not give them something to feel better? What do you mean we just have to let it run its course? In this instance, I was on board with whatever it took to mend his body. Surgery? How fast can we do that?
During this time I was receiving updates on the boys by phone as my husband and his family were allowed to see them. Joshua had a severe laceration to his face and a broken leg. Jacob had multiple broken bones.I kept asking about Jackson. “We haven’t been allowed to see him yet.” Finally, my mother-in-law called. Jackson was being rushed into emergency surgery. They believed he had internal injuries and a possible spinal cord injury. My knees hit the hospital floor right there in the emergency room. Not Jackson. This cannot be happening. It was like a mantra playing over and over in my head. This was one of the only two times I actually fell to my knees.
As soon as Alex was transported to the trauma unit, I ran to the Children’s Hospital. Literally. This route would be made over and over throughout the next few weeks. I was taken back to see Jacob and Joshua. They were both black and blue from head to toe. Joshua’s entire face was swollen and bleeding. Jacob had severe lacerations and broken bones everywhere. They were both heavily medicated but able to talk to us. This was the first time I was able to witness just how strong and brave our boys were. Jacob tried to make jokes with me. Joshua refused pain medication. To this day, I am overwhelmed with pride at strong our boys are.
All of the family met in a conference room. It was there that P.J., my husband, announced that he wanted to make it clear that there would be no blaming Alex, and anyone who done so could leave the hospital. He explained to them that it was just an accident. I hadn’t even considered that people would think this until that moment. People even commented on Facebook and private messaged me in the weeks following the accident asking me who was at fault for the accident. Hinting towards the other driver being under the influence. We later even heard that there was a rumor going around that Alex was on drugs while driving. To make it clear now, Alex was completely sober per the mandatory drug test that was he was given at the hospital. The family in the other vehicle are wonderful Christian people who followed the progress of our boys with continued prayer. It was an accident. One that could not be avoided and simply happened.
As he was coming home and only 10 minutes from our house, the back tire of his vehicle hit a gravel patch on the inside of a curve, which caused his vehicle to hydroplane. The oncoming SUV, seeing his vehicle hydroplane, took the ditch out of instinct. They actually met head on in front of someones yard, not on the road. Alex was driving under the speed limit and did absolutely nothing wrong. They were all wearing seat belts. He was not on his phone or distracted. As I said earlier, the warm weather and earlier rain created the perfect cocktail for slippery roads. My husband and I slid all over the road on the way to the scene of the accident. In order to get traction accelerating from a stop sign, my husband would have to press the gas, let up and press it again. In no way could Alex have avoided this accident.
Even knowing this, I knew my son would hurt for a long time. Alex has always been my child who loved everyone. Defended those weaker than him. His heart is tremendously huge, and with that comes a sense of responsibility and burden. I was to learn that no matter what we said or did, this was something that God intended him to work through on his own. As a mother, we want to shelter, protect and defend. We want to fix the boo-boos and make everything in their life okay. It was hard for me to accept that I couldn’t heal his heart. Only God could do that. This was Alex’s part of the journey, and God was and is molding him into the man he will become.