|Photo credit: Bright Beginnings Photography|
Why are dates so important? Dates make up the past, present and future for every single person on this planet. We remember birthdays, anniversarys, graduations, dates of loss (death) and to memorialize events in history.
Do you know when you wake in the morning and for about 30 seconds everything is perfect? You are still in a fog and then suddenly your brain clicks into gear and you start processing thoughts? Today that happened to me and then it hit me...today is the anniversary of the day Seth walked for the last time. Four years ago today, at 2:30pm our lives changed forever.
I can remember almost every detail of that day. I remember waking up to my phone ringing and looking at my clock (8:00am) and it was Seth telling me he was driving down from Cloud Croft to pick me up and he would see me in about 30 minutes. I have vivid pictures of me arriving at the campsite, eating breakfast with our friends, Will, Audrey and Jimmy and then napping because I was exhausted from the late shift I work the night before in the recovery room. I have vivid images of seeing a beautiful canyon and trail during our ride on the ATVs that afternoon. I remember thinking "life is perfect today." I was about to start a new job and finally have weekends with my husband.
Then, as we came back towards our campsite, Seth raced off in front of me and I didn't see him when I arrived to the area where we should turn left to up the hill to our campsite. I drove a little further and then I saw his ATV on it's side, in the ditch and then the image that haunted me for several months. My dear husband laying in the ditch with his jeans, dirty white T-shirt and brown lace-up boots. I carefully drove down to his flipped ATV and then ran to his side and the words that I never, ever want to hear again "I can't feel my legs. Go get help."
I have tears streaming down my face remembering this day and the events that occurred after this. I remember getting help. Will, by the grace of God, got a signal on his cell phone to call 911. I remember the ambulance crew getting Seth on the backboard and loading him in the back of the ambulance, waiting for the helicopter to land. I remember borrowing a medic's phone to call my mother-in-law. And her and Amanda were immediately booking flights to come be at his side. I remember frantically packing up our campsite and calling a friend to drive me down to El Paso. I remember trying locate Seth in the hospital but he was listed as "Hummer" and not his real name and how it took me nearly 2 hours before I was at his bedside. I remember Maggie booking the last hotel room available in El Paso that night because of a music festival and not sleeping at all that night. The next morning we went to the hospital and later that afternoon, Vicki and Amanda arrived from the airport. The rest of the events are a complete blur.
Isn't it crazy the details that are imbedded into our brains when we have something traumatic happen to us? I remember it like a movie reel. And that image of Seth in the ditch -- it was the first thing I saw in my head every morning for about 2 months.
That day, I remember being scared and wondering what the future held for us. Little did we know that he would in fact never walk naturally again, that we would have a beautiful son named Ethan (May 21, 2017) or a group of church family that care for us deeply. Never did we know, he would retire from the USAF at 15 years instead of the planned 20 year mark. Never did we know, we would inspire other couples. Never did we know, that I would be asked to share my testimony and how easily the words flowed from me that day (March 25, 2017) and again in April. Never did we know, that Seth would be a stay-at-home Dad. Never did we know, that we would have to plan our trips based on availability of ADA accommodations. Never did we know, we would have the Lord provide for us every single day. And last, but not least, never did we know, we would put ALL OF OUR TRUST in the Lord like we did for those 11 months in Texas and continue to do every single day since then.
Today, August 30, 2018, as my family grieves this loss, we will also praise the Lord that Seth is alive, well, independent and currently working in the garage doing what he does best (woodworking).
Tomorrow, August 31, 2018, will be business as usual, but today, as he does what he does best, I chose to shed some tears as Ethan naps peacefully in his cozy crib while listening to Christian songs on the stereo.
P.S. Ethan decided to learn how to officially walk very close to the date when his Dada stopped walking. God definitely works in mysterious ways...