Monday, July 12, 2010

Remembering 10 Years Ago & Lessons Learned

Given that our wedding was ten years ago on June 24th, you might be thinking this is another post dedicated to remember our wedding day.

But you'd be wrong.

This in fact is a post remembering the day one week after our wedding.

July 1, 2000.

We had been on our honeymoon in the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, TN. We had a wonderful honeymoon and couldn't have enjoyed it more. It's one of my favorite areas of the country, with lots of hiking, camping, rivers, and forests to be explored and enjoyed. And oh the views are just so breathtaking. It was a delight. Our cabin was in the midst of the mountainy forestland, so it was ridiculously peaceful and quiet. This was before Fibro days so I loved hiking and I didn't get overly hot overly easy. Tim also really enjoyed it!

That Friday, we drove back to my hometown and stayed back at the house I grew up in with my mom. The next morning, we drove Tim's Saturn station wagon thing {not quite a station wagon but it might as well have been} he'd bought just the summer before {Tim & I}, as well as my dad's Jeep {my dad}, and my Grandpa's truck {my mom} up to our apartment. I'd never even seen it and was totally in the dark. So after we finally arrived with our caravan, we started to unload. We had to go to the office to get the key and I got to see the apt! It was 756 square feet with 1 bedroom, but it was just perfect for our needs at the time. It was a block from the train station where I could walk to hop the Metra to take me to my downtown Chicago job. First job out of college, this country girl gets a city job. You can imagine my culture shock.

Anyway, we unloaded the stuff and then mom & I got to work unpacking the kitchen right away. Tim & dad went the 25 minutes to Tim's mom's house for his stuff. They were gone a long time.

I got nervous.

We didn't have a phone in the apartment and the car phone I had of my dad's, I'd left in Tim's car.

Over an hour and a half went by. Still no sign of them.

We were pretty much settled in the kitchen, and I was getting antsy. Something didn't feel right. I was pacing. I was peeking out our sliding glass door onto our balcony {on the third floor} time and time again. Mom was gently reminding me everything would be okay, maybe they got caught up in conversation.

Then I'll never forget the moment I saw them walking up to the entrance. Tim looked strange. Defeated kind of. Exhausted. I stepped out onto the balcony and heard Tim's mom holler up at me in a strange and shaky voice "Roe, can you come down here please?! Quickly?!"

I don't even remember if I said anything to my mom. I know she heard Doris. I bolted out the door and down the three flights as fast as my legs could carry me {which back then was relatively fast}. I have no idea where my dad was, I just remember the way Tim looked. It's indescribable. I could tell something had really happened.

And wait... where was his car?

I honestly don't remember what was said. I just remember the pale look on Tim's face, the scratches and bruises on his face and arms, and the horrific, faraway look in his eyes that told me our lives had just been radically shaken.

I hardly remember anything else, but what I know now is this. Tim was coming off the interstate on an exit ramp. Dad was two cars behind him. Dad could tell an accident had just happened in front of him but took him moments for him to realize Tim was hit, and then he proceeded to call 911 as he ran to my new husband's side.

A lady in a large Chevy Suburban had missed the turn onto the entrance ramp, jumped the little grassy median, hit the driver's side of Tim's car, flipped over, and burst into flames in the grass on the other side of Tim.

This is a time when you are thankful the driver wasn't wearing a seat belt. She was thrown from the vehicle, which in this rare case, actually probably saved her life.

Tim was barely scratched from the airbag. Otherwise, he was fine despite being so shaken. Three more feet to the right, and we're not sure he'd even be alive today.

Thank you God!!!! 

There was an investigation. 

She was drunk. At 4:00 in the afternoon.


Sometime that week Tim's mom took us to the place where our car was. We also saw the empty shell of what used to be the Suburban. I got some pictures of our car. Pardon the quality, they're scanned from a 12 x 12 scrapbook, so they are also in pieces.

A couple days after the accident, his mom drove us to the ER for Tim to get his arm checked out. He'd sprained his forearm and wore a sling for about a week. I was so thankful for Tim's parents living fairly close, letting us borrow their car until we found our own, and taking us places as needed. I had no clue about the area, where to go, what to do, how to get anywhere, and knew no one except Tim and some of his family.

Looking back on the day, I still get a little sick to my stomach.

And I thank God for my husband, that this wasn't worse, and that the other lady--despite that she was in the wrong and shouldn't have been drinking & driving--was still alive.

I'm thankful my dad was nearby and able to be with Tim when it happened. I'm thankful it was close to his parents house so his mom & dad were able to get there quickly. I'm thankful my husband is still alive and with me today. I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy, and for all that he taught us as newlyweds after such a traumatic event. I'm thankful that in His sovereignty, we were protected financially, able to get to the court case, and provided for with a new vehicle relatively quickly. Despite that everything didn't turn out all grand afterward, we learned a lot, grew stronger, and became even more outspoken about drinking & driving.

We can look back now and are truly grateful for what we learned from the experience.

To God be the glory.

1 comment:

Sherah said...

A powerful post here, Roe. I had (unbelievably) almost forgotten about this story. Those pictures are unbelievable. God was definitely watching over that husband of yours! :)