Wednesday, February 24, 2010

a date to celebrate...

It is Friday night...a mild almost spring evening in the valley. Friends stop by to pick us up...we are on our way out for supper. There is much to talk we are going on a Hawaiian vacation together in a week or two...and there are plans to make. Two country blocks from home...all talk and planning came to an abrupt end.

The last words I hear are..."Look out. He's not stopping!" And he never!

That was at this very intersection...fifteen years ago today. A truck hit us broadside...the driver later claiming he had not seen the stop sign. Life as we knew it changed at that instant. The car we were riding in came to rest in the field...and all was deathly quiet...for a moment. I thought maybe we were going to be OK. But then I looked over at my hubby...and I knew he was not OK. I can't even describe the happenings of that marathon evening...but hubby was critically injured and transferred to the intensive care spinal cord unit of Vancouver General Hospital by ambulance. The family was notified. Our oldest son was studying at UBC in Vancouver and met the incoming ambulance at the hospital. Son #2 had left for a weekend with friends in Calgary that afternoon...and when he arrived, he got the message that he needed to return home immediately...and so he began the 10 hour drive back. Our daughter was performing in her high school drama that week...and two of her aunts met her after that evening's performance to give her the news. Whether or not he would survive...or ever walk again...were questions we had no answers for that night.

One thing I knew...the cows still needed to be milked twice a day...and I had no idea what was happening in the barn. There were arrangements that needed to be made...before 5 o'clock the next morning. Our fourteen-year old neighbour...who milked for us on occasion...was my hero!

Sometime in the wee hours of the morning...we learned that hubby had a blow-out fracture in his lower spine...and head injuries. There was no quick cure for either. Jeremy arrived home from Calgary the next day...quit his job...and has been farming ever since.

It was a long and painful road to recovery. After a few weeks in hospital...he was released to my a body cast. I was terrified. Nursing was never one of my aspirations...and I'm not much of a nurse. He wasn't always the best patient either! Those days, weeks and months are rather a blur...and included rounds of appointments with specialists and therapists and insurance company representatives...and keeping the farm going. It was many months before we went out for dinner...and when we did, he could not sit through a whole meal. It was summer before he drove again...and only then that he realized the repercussions of heads injuries. He had no idea how to get from Point A to Point B...a route he had driven many times. But slowly life returned to normal...a new normal.

That all happened fifteen years ago today! We never went out for dinner that night...we never went on our Hawaiian vacation for many years...we never went anywhere for a very long time. I shed tears on occasion...and felt sorry for both of us...and cried out to God to be my strength. He always heard...and answered in ways I can't even begin to recount. Friends and neighbours offered their help...and somehow we kept things going on the farm. Hubby is doing just fine...deciding long ago that he would rather work out on the farm than do those ridiculous exercises he was supposed to do. He lives life one day at a time...knowing each day is a gift from God.

February 24, 1995 is a date I would sooner forget...but it needs to be remembered. Today is the fifteenth anniversary of 'the intersection that put us on a new course'...and so we mark the occasion. We will have a special an important hockey game...and be thankful for all the moments we have shared over these years.

There have been mountain-top experiences...and some really tough times...and many ordinary everyday moments of life...and I am so thankful that we have been able to share them. And for that reason...this is a date to celebrate!


  1. You're a remarkable couple - no doubt. Anyone who thinks that a marriage is made up of only two should read this post. When God is the third part of the marriage you get the strength to make it through the darkest times - and come through the other side to tell the story.
    Wishing you many more Hawaiian holidays!

  2. Wow - today really is a day to celebrate God's goodness!

  3. I read your post aloud this morning Judy and we choked up as we stopped to try to remember what we knew about the accident.
    It does make one pause to think how these huge life moments change who we are and what we become.
    I have no idea who you and Elmer would be today without the accident but I sure love who you have become.
    I praise God with you to have this day to celebrate God's hand on your husband, your own life and your marriage.

  4. I had no idea that you had lived through such challenges. Celebration is indeed in order today! A friend of mine used to say that she made a point of thanking God for His help twice as long as she had asked for help. In your case, each day is an answer to prayer and the thanksgiving lasts on and on.

    Hugs to both of you and cheers to all that were there to help you get through the tough times.

  5. Oh, how well I remember leaning on my banister while Janice R. was telling me that my brother was on his way to Vancouver in critical condition.

    Thanks again for the phone call Janice.

    We packed up to be a support to mom and also visit brother, it was tough to see -- it brought us to our knees. How we praise God for the gift of healing.

    As God has blessed you, you in turn bless many others. Celebrate!!

  6. Wow, I have been asking God for encouragement. This is great. My husband has been in a wheelchair since he got out of the hospital in 2002. I have been so discouraged because he still can not walk without assistance. We pray and pray but yet it is so slow. You show me I need to thank the Lord for each day and for what He is doing in that day. I wish to also celebrate with you!

  7. Oh Judy..indeed a day to celebrate..there is that moment that changes everything, and today I praise God along with you that He kept His hand on you, then and now.

  8. My heart is full. I will celebrate your lives with you. God is good.

    I am just back to work this week. It had been so long since I felt like visiting, and I missed everyone.

  9. Judy an event like this puts life in perspective doesn't it? All the little petty things in everyday life that we can get annoyed or angry with, and then something like this happens and we wonder why we even spent an bit of energy on negativity when life is so precious and can change in an instant!

    I am so glad that Elmer survived, and that he is doing as well as possible today, and that your lives are back to a new, more precious normal.

    God has truly blessed you both! You both shine with an inner light because of this anniversary is good to remember it and give thanks!

  10. Your story illustrates how life can change drastically in an instant. I am so glad to know that your husband was able to recover from such a severe injury. I can only imagine what a difficult time that must have been for all of your family.
    You do, indeed, have much to celebrate.

  11. Ohh Judy .... I didn't know you then..but I feel the emotions anyway. I am soo thankful to God for sparing both your lives and healing Elmer of his injuries! What a journey you have had !
    We celebrate with you tonight... and every Feb. 24th. It is my husband's birthday. From now on I'll add your names to my Feb. 24th thankful list!

  12. I echo what your other commenters have said. You and Elmer have an inner light that draws others to you. I'm sure much of that comes from walking through those dark times and receiving your strength from God one day at a time. May God grant you and Elmer many more anniversaries of remembrance and thanksgiving.

  13. Those days never leave us. And here we are 15 years later sharing similar experiences, celebrating similar event, acknowledging that God is in control...and that he will also chart our future...
    Thanks again for sharing your story of encouragement. We need to hear stories that recognize God's grace and mercy.
    Cheers to both of you as you continue to celebrate more holidays in your favorite part of the world.

  14. Judy, thank you for sharing this here really touched me. What a story of God's grace and mercy in your lives. I have often been blessed in reading about the love and life you share. Choosing to live in acceptance of the pathway that God has allowed you to travel together and living each day with Him as your guide. I pray that you will be blessed with many more years together, and that you will celebrate each as a gift as you have till now. Kathy (MGCC)

  15. How did I miss this post? Because we are in a snowstorm and because everything is closed and my plans changed for the day, I had time to go back through your blog. I so enjoy each visit, so I knew I would like this. When I got to the February 24th story, I read every word. What an amazing story! God spared you and your husband's lives so beautifully. I love how you wrote this, how you shared the good and the bad of it. How in a moment's time everything is our lives can change. I am so thankful that I had time to go back and read the missed posts, especially this one. It was truly an inspiration in my day.
    You are a blessing to me Judy!

  16. Thank you Judy for this story of encouragement. I had no idea you have walked such a challenging road.

    My husband is walking through a challenge with his hip surgery that has not worked out. It has only been a two year journey and nothing like the level you and your husband have faced. Your story of faith, courage and perseverance puts our situation in perspective, and reminds me how I need to keep a thankful and God praising heart.

    Oh yeah, I am not the worlds best nurse either :/


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson