Thursday, August 31, 2006
when i get where i'm going
Yesterday, August 30th, marked the 22nd anniversary of the day that changed our family forever. We were driving home from a summer's-end camping trip, which had been cut short by relentless rain.
As we headed down the winding, two-lane highway, my husband decided to pass the ancient motorhome in front of us. Because of its snail's pace, a long line of cars stretched out behind us. When Greg spotted a straight patch of road, he decided to go for it.
Unfortunately, so did the logging truck which was several cars behind us.
We didn't find out what actually happened until days later, when kind witnesses found us at St. Elizabeth's hospital in Red Bluff and told us what they'd seen. (The highway patrolman's report stated that Greg had pulled out and cut off the truck driver, placing the blame on us. This was all from the truck driver's account). Their car had been in between ours and the logging truck and they described how it had sped by them and then rear-ended us, sending our Oldsmobile Delta 88 into a spin. Then, unable to stop because of its great size and speed, the truck slammed into us broad-side. The impact flung our car from the road and wrapped it around an oak tree.
Greg and I both sustained severe injuries to our legs and spent the next four months in wheelchairs.
Miraculously, Lindsay and Danielle, who were strapped into their carseats in the backseat were completely unharmed--
not a scratch (even though we discovered later that Danielle's carseat had split in half).
Our four-year-old son, Jonah, didn't survive. He had been napping in the front seat, between Greg and me. His death certificate states he died upon impact, from "crushing injuries."
As a friend put it at his funeral:
"Jonah fell asleep in his daddy's lap and woke up in his Father's arms."
On August 30, 1984, we entered into a unique fellowship of suffering and have never been the same. Parents don't ever expect to bury their children--it shakes the very foundations of life. But we held onto Jesus and each other as we walked through this valley of the shadow of death and eventually came through it with a different perspective.
This life is not all there is. Heaven is immensely real to us now.
Last year on the anniversary of our accident, I saw the music video for "I can only imagine." The video opens with very sad people holding up framed pictures of loved ones they've lost. By the end of the video, only the empty frames remain, with the living looking joyfully up through the frames--looking toward heaven. In the final scene, a little blond-haired boy, about four years old, comes running toward the viewer, the light of heaven reflecting off his small form. He looks toward the camera and smiles . . . and for a minute I see Jonah, waiting for me.
I was undone . . .
Like I told my husband last night--it has been 22 long years since we last held and kissed our son.
But we are one step closer to home.