Sunday, December 14, 2008

A life changing event

I have regained my composure enough to blog about my feelings. Yesterday I found out that friends from my old Stake/Ward lost their 17 year old daughter in a car accident on Friday night. Their daughter, Megan was a beautiful, active, righteous young lady. She was in a car with 2 young men from the Liberty Stake.

Physically the young men have minor injuries, mentally will be a different story. I feel so bad for Megan's family. I know that they have experienced much pain in the past couple of years. I also know that we have the same faith in forever families and faith in a loving Heavenly Father. There is nothing that I can say to help. There is nothing I can do to help. All I can say is I am sorry and I love you. I will do whatever is needed of me to help. I pray that their family will feel peace and comfort during this time. I cannot even fathom, nor do I wish to imagine, the pain they are feeling.

The first thing I wanted to do was see my children and so we talked, hugged and kissed. My oldest finally returned my call today. I do not think he understood my desire to hear his voice and know that he was alright. I cannot explain it. I just needed to know. Now that he is married and living on his own starting a new life, I do not see him as much. I know he is busy, but it is hard for me at times. I just want to see him and his wife. Recently he graduated from the fire academy. He is still searching for a full time position as a fireman. Part of me wants him to find that position because I know it would make him happy. Part of me wants him to stay safe and never find a job as a fireman. I know selfish huh? I cannot help worrying, it is part of who I am. I just try to not think about it. I am pretty good at ignoring things. I am an expert at that, but I digress.

I feel badly for the boy who was driving and the other boy who also survived. It is a hard road that they will travel. I pray for them and their families. I pray that they will know forgiveness. I pray that they will forgive themselves.

When I was 19 and had only been driving less than 6 months I had a very bad car wreck. I was driving a huge 4 door 8 cylinder car for the first time. The car belonged to my boyfriend. We had been to the lake on a beautiful July day in Nevada. I was driving, my boyfriend was in the front seat, in the back was a married couple with their 6 month old daughter. It was 1981, we did not have seat belts in the car and no law about car seats. We had our windows open, no air conditioning. The feel of the wind blowing through the car was fabulous. We had the radio on loud. We were talking and laughing. We were having fun. I was driving way too fast and tried to pass a van on I-80 going east from Reno towards Winnemucca. I hit the shoulder made of sand, the girl in the back seat screamed. I remember it was really loud and then total silence. Eerie silence and total darkness. I thought I was dead, but then I smelled sage brush. A smell that I have never really liked and I thought, "I cannot be dead because God would not put sagebrush in Heaven." (Yes, I thought I would go to heaven. Funny it did not occur to me that I was in hell with the sage brush!) I heard someone say "Where is Kathy?". Then someone else said "oh no she is under the car". Then screaming "she's dead!" I thought to myself "I am not dead but I will be if I do not get out of here." I suddenly could not breathe and started to panic. I realized where I was and that the darkness was the roof of the car in my face. I tried to turn my face just a little to the right and I could see light. I realized my feet were sticking out from under the car. I had no shoes on. (lost my flip flops) I thought of the scene in the Wizard of Oz when the witch is under the car and her shoes disappear and her feet shrivel up because she is dead. (my boyfriend and I had seen the movie in Reno at the MGM Grand theater just a couple of days before.) In my panic I realized I needed to let them know I was alive if I wanted to stay that way. I began to wiggle my feet and tried to scream. I could not get enough breath to scream. Suddenly I heard voices scream "she's alive, lets get this car off her!" Then release I could breathe and see. Several truckers had stopped and proceeded to lift the huge car off me and then pull me out by my feet. The first thing I did was sit up. Not the smartest move. A ton of blood rushed out of my nose and I passed out. I came to as the paramedics were loading me into the ambulance. David, my boyfriend at the time started telling jokes and telling the paramedics that I would do anything to keep from cooking him a meal. (we were going to have a nice steak dinner at my house that night.) He really helped to ease my fears. By the time we were at the hospital I was laughing. My pastor and the couple from the back seat were there to greet us. The couple caught a ride into town. This was before cell phones. They called the ambulance and sent them to us. Everyone thought I was dead and was very surprised to see me breathing and laughing. I will never forget how grateful I felt when I saw them. They were fine, the only scratch any of them had was on their baby's head from being pulled out of the car through the broken window. A piece of glass scraped the baby's head. But nothing serious. It turned out that David had a broken shoulder and collar bone so they flew him to Reno for surgery. I had a dislocated hip, broken leg,cracked front teeth and concussion. They said the concussion was why I did not remember what happened. According to witnesses I lost control of the car and swerved all over the road. I finally ended up in the meridian having flipped the car on it's hood. I must have flown out the windshield because of the cuts I had all over my head and arms. We landed in sand. That sand saved my life. Witnesses said that they stopped because there was so much dust that they could not see and many of them did not know what had happened. We stopped traffic on both sides of I-80. The police came to the hospital. I got ticketed for reckless driving resulting in an accident. A $25 fine at the time. The police man felt bad giving me the ticket. I was just so grateful that we were all alive. I did not care about the ticket.

We went to see the car after we got out of the hospital. It was totaled. I took a picture, you can see my body imprint on the vinyl hood of the car. I was lucky that the accident did not mess up my face. David said when they pulled me out from under the car, he was afraid that my face would be all mangled. But only my teeth were cracked. I ended up getting a new bridge.

That accident was a real turning point in my life. It changed the course of my life. Many times over the years I have thought how different my life would be if someone had been seriously hurt or killed.

When David got home from Reno, we had a hard time getting to see each other. He lived in the country, I lived in town. I did not have a car and I wrecked his. So we talked on the phone a lot for 3 weeks. Sometimes his little brother would bring him into town to see me. On one of those visits we were talking about how blessed we were that we lived. We decided the we were meant to be together because of this, so we eloped. We called our friends that were in the car with us and they took us to city hall that afternoon. Me in my cast, he in his sling. We got married. Even their baby was there. After when we told everyone, they did not believe us. They had to see the marriage certificate before they believed it. My church and our friends threw us a reception and we started our lives together. We got married August 1st, 1981. Our son Mike was born on May 25, 1982. David was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was a member of the Assembly of God. My pastor was so proud that I married the Bishop's son. David came to church with me because he was proud to be a Jack Mormon, as he said. Because of the accident he lost his job. So we moved with my Mom and step-Dad to Las Vegas for employment. There I called the missionaries to investigate the Church. In September of 1982 I joined the church. David's family came down from Winnemucca for the baptism. His father baptised, confirmed me and blessed our 4 month old Michael. That day I was blessed that I would go to the temple and have my forever family. I truly wanted this. I just did not know it would not be with David. David and I separated when Mike was 9 months old and divorced 10 months later. After our divorce I moved to Iowa to be near my family. I was born in Des Moines and still had lots of family there. My mother and her husband were living in Hawaii at the time. (they traveled a lot for his work.) I wanted to have some space between David and I. He had some major drug and alcohol problems and I needed to be sure Mike and I were safe. So we started a new life in Iowa. I went to college and got a good job. I met Jim (my husband of 20 years) at singles. We were married in 1989 in the Manti Temple. David's family was there. Dwayne, his father and Milt, Jim's father were the witnesses at our sealing. Jim and I had Mike sealed to us in that ceremony. David gave us permission. A missionary in my ward was going home to Las Vegas and he and his father went to David's house. They got a letter from him giving permission to have Mike sealed to us. David's comment was "I won't be in the Celestial Kingdom anyway, what difference does it make to me?" I will be eternally grateful to that missionary and his father. He then came to the wedding with the original letter. He had mailed a copy to us as well. So many things happened in order for me to discover the gospel and to go to the temple with the love of my life.

How different would my life be if someone had died in that car accident?

How beautiful is the healing power of our Savior. He has helped me so many times in my life. Especially during the time after my divorce. I was loved by my church family. I had a fabulous Relief Society President who took me under her wing and loved me at a time when I felt so unworthy of any one's love. She reminded me that I was loved. She reminded me of what was really important in life.

I raised my son for 7 years by myself with the help of Heavenly Father and with the support of loved ones.

I am truly blessed. I am grateful for that terrible accident that changed my life. I am grateful for the Gospel, my family, my friends and my testimony. I am grateful for my faith and love for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I have always had a child like love and faith in Christ. As a child I always went to church even though my family did not. I always found someone to take me. I am grateful for that gift of faith and love. It helped me to accept the truth when I saw it.

Would my life be different if someone had died in that car accident? I am grateful that I did not have to find out. I pray that those boys will come out stronger because of this tragedy. I pray that they will have peace. The kind of peace that can come from our loving Heavenly Father. I pray that they will forgive themselves. I pray that they will feel love and support from those around them.

I am so sorry that this has happened. I pray that all the people touched by this will have the peace and comfort that they need at this time. I bear witness that we can have these blessings at this time. I love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I close this post in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.


KC Mom said...

Thank you for sharing this story and your testimony. It's the "living" that struggle with what has happened. I know there is a plan and I know we'll all be reunited. It's important to show love and that's all that matters.

Valsy said...

very good and very honest