November 19, 1994, I was woken up by a friend crying in the phone. I could barely understand her and finally she got it out. Six of our friends were in a car accident and three died and one was in very bad shape and the other two were treated and released from the hospital. I did not believe this friend I thought she had lost her mind because I just saw these friends the day before. I turned on the radio and sure enough she was right. At that same time my mom came in the door. She had been rushing home to tell me, but my friend and the radio beat her to it. I found out later my mom was very worried because I lost my childhood friend Lisa to cancer just a few months before this and my great grandmother had died just days after Lisa. To be honest I had just healed from their deaths (as well as one can) before this happened.
I was devastated. All that healing had come undone. I knew two out of the three who had died very well. The one who was critically injured and I had just gone on a mission trip to Reno that summer. They didn't know if she was going to make it. I was sick and numb all at the same time. All I could do was cry.
This was one of the few times that I really questioned God. I just could not wrap my head around why he would let this happen. To this day I don't fully understand why, but I do know my life is better because I had them in it. I was blessed to have them for the little time I did. I can close my eyes and tell you stories about all of our adventures. I truly hate that they are not here to see what all I have done. I hate that they have not met my children, but I know they smile on me all the time. I can still feel their love and hope in my heart.
Ryan (one of the three who died at the scene) was such a great person. He left such a smile in my heart I told Chaz I wanted to name our son Ryan, but we were blessed with girls. It was Chaz's idea to throw the extra N onto our Ryann's name. I am so glad he came up with that idea. I can only hope our Ryann and Deryn will leave as many smiles behind as Lisa, Ryan, Dean and Melissa did.
My friend, Emily, who was critically injured, defines what a miracle is. I remember being told more than once that she was not going to make it. I also remember telling God he had to let us keep her. Emily is this bright light. When she smiles everyone smiles with her. We had a few mission adventures with our church while we were in high school. Of course Reno was the best. Emily made a full recovery and is now living happily ever after. She sent me an email a few months back telling me how I inspired her with my strength and courage. I quickly replied and said, "Who do you think I learned it from?" She was such an inspiration to me back then. She suffered a huge blow, which is a lot like what is going on with Chaz. Yet she fought and got back up. I remember crying and crying because I was so proud of her when I got to see her walk for the first time (once again just like Chaz). Witnessing her miracle all those years ago, gave me the strength and faith to know everything would be fine with Chaz.
I can only imagine what these parents are going through right now. I know what these teens are going through I walked in those shoes. I know what the wives and girlfriends of these soldiers are going through, but I do not know what these parents are going through. My heart hurts for them. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child. I hurt enough when our girls are sick or injured. Please say a prayer for these families today. They need all the prayers they can get. God is listening!
I also wanted to share this writing someone gave to me in 1994.
Bits and Pieces
by Lois A. CheneyPeople—people important to you, people unimportant to you—cross your life, touch it with love and carelessness and move on. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of relief and wonder why you ever came into contact with them. There are people who leave you and you breathe a sigh of remorse and wonder why they had to go away and leave such a gaping hole.
Children leave parents; friends leave friends; acquaintances move on. People change homes; people grow apart; enemies hate and move on. Friends love and move on.
You think on the many who have moved into your hazy memory. You look on those present and wonder.
I believe in God’s master plan in life. He moves people in and out of each other’s lives, and each leaves his mark on the other. You find you are made up of bits and pieces of all who have ever touched your life. You are more because of it and you would be less if they had not touched you.
Pray to God that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and wonder, and never question and never regret.