Healing the scars. Thankful for blessings. What Veteran’s Day means to me.

I’m sure your thinking…what does a picture of a wrecked car have to do with Veteran’s Day?
Well, when you get into a car accident (and I say that lightly because it was a deadly wreck) on Veteran’s Day, that day forever becomes a part of you.

My grandfather, who passed away in 2001 was a Veteran. He was an amazing man, truly my hero. I always believed that he was my guardian angel but that specific Veteran’s Day in 2012, I knew 100% that it was true.

5 Years ago

It was about 6pm on a Sunday evening. Daylight savings time had just begun so it was pretty dark out already. My little family of 4 was driving home from a friend’s birthday party. It had been a great night reuniting with old friends from high school and watching our children play together. My husband was the driver, I was the passenger and the girls were both sounds asleep in the back seat. We were driving on a 2 lane road about a mile from our house.

I remember I was looking down at my phone, and the next thing I knew I saw a car driving toward our lane. I said to Jeff “what is he doing?” I questioned myself ‘Are we in the wrong lane?’ In that moment, I closed my eyes and said to myself “this is it” as the car came right towards us and we collided.

The last thing I remember was seeing his headlights coming directly towards us. I hoped that when I opened my eyes, it would just be a dream. In that moment, all I was thinking was, please God make sure my girls are ok.

After the car stopped, I immediately looked in the back seat to see how the girls were. When I turned around all I could see was the car that hit us in flames. Nothing else mattered at that point but getting the girls our of our vehicle. All I could think about was if his car is on fire then ours is next. There was gasoline running down towards our car. It looked like a scene from a movie. I will never forget that sight for the rest of my life. I grabbed Kenzie who was behind me and got her out. Then Jeff (who was unconscious from the airbag) woke up and got Brynna out. That is when he discovered her nose was sliced in half. The side curtain airbag came down and sliced right through her precious 3 year old nose. She never cried, she never said a word, she just stared at us with her eyes wide open like she was saying “mama please help me.”

At this point we had all gotten safely out of our car and were waiting on responders to come. I am so thankful for the amazing men and women that were with us that night. They kept me calm, told me everything they were doing and took the best care of my girls. We had so many people coming out to help us. It was truly amazing, they were angels in disguise. Jeff and I were separated into two different ambulances, one of us with each child. It was the longest ride of my life to the hospital.

Mackenzie was treated with some scrapes and bruises on her eye and face. Jeff and I had tons of bruises and were sore from head to toe but none of that matters when your children are hurt. We were told Brynna needed to have emergency plastic surgery to repair her nose. I wished so bad it was me. I hated to see her lay there on that hospital bed with no emotion. The doctor came in an told us what was going to happen, he finally took her for her surgery. It was fast and simple. He did a remarkable job.

Unfortunately, we were informed later that the man driving the other vehicle was not going to make it. He had burns throughout his whole body. While I was angry, so very angry. I did not wish for that to happen to him. We were told he was pulled over for speeding and decided to run from the cops. He was going approximately 90mph on a 25mph road when he hit us head on. He made a decision that night that sadly cost him his life.

Its been a long road the past five years. But I finally think we are at a point where we can try to put this horrific night behind us. Brynna has suffered PTSD, anxiety and countless doctors appointments. She still hates being in the car at night and most nights she still sleeps in our bedroom. But looking at her 5 years later you would never know the emotional and physical damage she suffered.

As for me, the anxiety I have in a car…I doubt it will ever go away. Since I was the passenger, I have horrible anxiety being in the passenger’s seat, but not so much when I am driving. I think it is because I feel in control when I am behind the wheel, but when someone else is driving I feel so vulnerable. It’s hard to explain. We have all overcome a lot.

God has big plans for us. Being alive is a true blessing so make the best of it! Be strong, be a fighter, be fierce! But most importantly hold your loved ones tight, you never know when they can be taken from you.

So today, on Veteran’s Day we celebrate our country’s heroes and give thanks for all of our blessings. Being told none of us should have survived that accident was truly an eye opener and changed the way I live my life. I am so thankful that we were given a second chance. As Thanksgiving approaches, it is natural for us to feel a great appreciation for all that is special in our lives.

Remembering our Veteran’s who have served our country is something I am grateful for each and everyday. So today on Veteran’s Day let us all remember the men and women who have served our wonderful country.

For my hero, my grandfather, my guardian angel

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