Today we learned that a young friend was in a motorcycle accident and is suffering from severe head injuries. She is in ICU in Texas where the accident took place; her parents are traveling from Oklahoma to her bedside. Stephanie is a beautiful young woman, full of life and spice. When I saw her in May, she told me about the different high school electives she was considering–her options were wide open.
I never expected just how differently this kind of news would affect me now that I have a child. My stomach twisted and an impulse to hold on tight and never let go rose up spontaneously within me. Tonight I looked at Liberty on my lap, slobbering on my hand as I refreshed my Facebook page again and again and imagined what it would be like to love and nurture her to young adulthood and then have the unimaginable happen.
As much as I hate blanket rules, as of today, Liberty knows motorcycles are off limits.
Years ago when my older sister Margaret was out with the youth group for the first time, the phone rang around 9:30 pm. It was a service station/garage in town–who knows why they were calling at that hour, but that was all my mom needed to hear. She jumped out of bed and was pulling on her socks and shoes as she headed for the stairs, certain that Margaret was on her way to the ER.
Of course, my sister was perfectly fine; the phone call had nothing to do with her. Poor Mom has never heard the end of it from us–how she over-reacted, imagining the worst.
But tonight I understand Mom’s panic a bit better. The urge to protect your child isn’t rational or measured. It’s just there. And the very suspicion that your child is in danger will make you crazy.
Which is why I can’t imagine what Stephanie’s mother is feeling tonight. Nearly seven years ago she lost her sister, brother-in-law, and their three kids in a car accident. Now her oldest and only daughter’s life is hanging by a thread.
I wish the family grace and peace tonight and in the days ahead.
And now I’m going to rock my daughter to sleep and hang on greedily to each moment.
EDIT: Stephanie passed on a few minutes after I posted this entry. We send her family our love in this darkest of hours.