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Sunday, January 30, 2005One Year Ago Today
The love and support of family and friends is something that can never be taken for granted.
I was no more reminded of that than as recently as last January.
It was an ordinary Friday, just like any other. I was exhausted from the work week and was looking forward to visiting with my friend’s 10-day old baby over the weekend. Instead, I got a call from my brother at 5:15pm that afternoon, saying that my parents had been in a head-on collision on the freeway. My life literally stopped as I heard that my mom was airlifted to the hospital and my dad was taken by ambulance. I had no idea if my parents were alive or if they would survive their injuries. The 210 freeway was shut down as the emergency crews worked to save my parents from my brother’s 1966 mustang.
I cannot begin to describe to you the anguish that I felt. I literally pulled over to the side of the road, got out of my car, told my brother that I would call him back, and had a physical, emotional, and mental breakdown on some poor woman’s front lawn. The idea of having lost both of my parents in a single day was too much for me to comprehend - I just cried, and puked, and screamed to God for help. In an instant my life was turned upside down. Before I knew it, a friend from work and my boss were by my side, helping me to stand and trying to understand the situation. They made phone calls for me and they drove three hours in Friday traffic to get me to my parents. I was never so emotional, yet so appreciative, of my friends as I was on January 30th, 2004.
It’s incredible the things that we remember. I asked my mom, when I saw her, what she had thought of in those last few moments before they hit the wall. She looked at me and said, “the sky was blue and we weren’t going to live through this.” That was it. I am so thankful that my parents are alive today to tell me how much they love me and for me to show them how much I love them. The weeks after the accident were filled with phone calls to the insurance company, phone calls to the tow yard, police reports, phone calls to family and friends, phone calls from family and friends, disability paperwork, hospital bills, hospital visits, insurance claims, hiring of housekeepers, hiring of gardeners, hiring of in-home hospice care, grocery shopping, laundry, picking up relatives from the airport, and so many intangibles - it was incredible. And I had to do it. I had to do it all on my own and without any emotion. I became a non-stop machine - always trying to think ahead and trying to figure out what was best for my parents, for the house, in trying to maintain some sense of “normalcy” for my younger brother, and trying to keep my sanity.
Growing up, I remember a saying that my parents had taped to our refrigerator. It said, “True character is revealed when you come face to face with adversity.” I must have looked at that saying for years before I truly found out its meaning. This was no more of a greater example: TRUE CHARACTER IS REVEALED WHEN YOU COME FACE TO FACE WITH ADVERSITY.
I experienced one of the most traumatic times in my life at the prospect of losing both of my parents. I can’t tell you how blessed my family is. There was a renewed sense of faith in our non-religious family that I can’t describe. All I can say is that something greater has been watching over us and loving us.
It's been exactly one year since the accident. My parents are mostly healed from their injuries; although remnants and memories still remain. I can't drive past the accident spot without looking at the marks on the side of the wall and remembering... My dad still has a few missing teeth ~ which is great to make fun of him for ~ but is a constant reminder. My family is probably closer than we have been in a long time. Going through things like this, together, only makes those bonds stronger.
I still cry over what happened. The scared feelings that I had; those overwhelming days of doubt and insecurity; and of course the idea that I could have lost my parents so easily.
Anyway, I just felt I had to write this.