In this chapter we find out that Leah has been in a car accident on her way to school.
She hit a tree, the only one in the middle of a cornfield.
As I reread my words and remember the feelings, I was struck by just how much I wasn’t prepared to learn what had happened. I describe it as being in a country without knowing the language or customs, and I’ll add here, I didn’t want to learn the language.
During this time Leah was in surgery and we didn’t know her prognosis. Both Dan and I were going over our last conversations with her, trying to figure out where we could have made a change that would have altered the outcome; that would have prevented her accident.
We were sitting with the “what ifs,” and the “if onlies.”
We were praying for her to emerge from surgery with a smirk on her face, and her familiar eye roll. We were sure that our lives would once again return to the way they were before, a normalcy with a few lessons from this experience. I didn’t realize at the time how much I was clinging to that gossamer thread. I could consider no other outcome. We were going to laugh about all this someday.
We were in the unknown.
We are always in the unknown, yet this experience, being driven to the hospital without knowing what had happened, waiting at the hospital while she was in surgery, not knowing what challenges she would have when she was out of surgery, introduced us to a level of the unknown that we had never experienced before.
I had forgotten that Dan and I each had different thoughts about those early days.
We could barely share our feelings with each other. We had to be strong, for each other; for Peter, our son; for Leah. I could not even allow the thought that Leah may die enter my consciousness. I couldn’t comprehend anything other than the four of us leaving the hospital together, arguing about whether we were going to get pizza or tacos for dinner.
I wanted another chance to be a better mother for her, for me, and our family.
I wanted it all back. And it wasn’t to be. I didn’t yet know what was going to be asked of me in the next fewdays. I often wonder if the five days in the hospital were for me and us to prepare in whatever ways we could for what we would be soon facing.
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