The morning of this job went well except that I'd gotten a flat tire on the way. I stayed to babysit the babies and had lunch before calling my mom to come pick me up.
Once my mom and little brother arrived, my mom parked on the busy street because she didn't feel comfortable parking in a strange church's parking lot. My 13 year old brother tied the hood of the trunk of our sedan closed with rope that my mom had. My mom realized that it was dangerous for her son to be near oncoming traffic. She told him to step on the curb while she made sure my bike was secure. Just as she was tugging on the rope, a car came around the corner. Almost instinctively I knew this car was going to hit my mother. I remember watching it in slow motion. I felt helpless as it careened into the person I loved most in the world. After the impact, my little brother and I bounded over a small hill that led to the church's parking lot. We screamed for help at the top of our lungs. Luckily for us there were still a few people milling about the church grounds. One of those individuals was named Steve and another was named Phil. I may have this wrong but I believe Steve applied pressure to my mom's leg to stop the bleeding until the ambulance arrived while Phil held her hand and assured her it would be alright. I don't recall if I rode in the back of the ambulance or my brother did. I do remember that somehow my older brother was contacted to come and get our car. He drove it to the hospital where we all waited for news of our mother. It seemed like hours later before the surgeon emerged to give us an update on my mom.
That was the first of 14 surgeries that my mom endured while they saved her leg. There were many times during my freshman year that I had to go to school while my mom was on the operating table. Plastic surgery and skin grafts became a common occurrence during my mom's lengthy hospital stay. One surgery was to install the Hoffman Device, a series of pins and screws that goes through the bone and is visible on the outside as well. She was the first patient at our local hospital to have it.
The man who hit my mom felt remorse. He called my mom at the hospital to tell her that he was sorry. He said he couldn't sleep at night. My mom told him that she could not sleep either. It was later determined that he was driving his ex-wife's car while on Valium. My mom's lawyer settled for a good amount that allowed our family to get off of welfare. This was a huge blessing in disguise.
Another wonderful thing that happened is that most of my family started attending church again. Many people from that church came to see my mom in the hospital. It surprised all of us because we didn't even know these people. They also sent many many cards. Shortly after the accident, someone invited my brothers and I to attend their church. There is one family in particular that faithfully drove my younger brother and I to church every single Sunday.
When my brother and I wanted to attend their youth group events, someone made sure we got rides there and back. This church family embraced my family. Eventually I decided to become a Christian and follow after Christ because these strangers had become like family to me. They showed me what true love is really all about.
While I was attending this church I became a Sunday School helper, nursery worker and babysat for many of its young families. It was there that I found my passion for children and teaching. Many of the church members had attended Biola University so I too decided that's where I'd like to go to college. It was no small miracle that I was able to attend this very expensive university for four and a half years to complete my bachelor's degree.
What really strikes me as funny in all of this is that I only attended that church for four years but because its members made such an impact on my life, it seems like it was so much longer. God used a tragedy in my life to give me hope, purpose and meaning.
My mom and I a few years after her terrible accident.