Saturday, January 12, 2013


Ok, so I suck as a blogger. I am long over due for a post. I am sorry, friends, that I have done a crappy job staying on top of this.

It seems wrong to have the first post of a year be a sad one. I feel like I should be talking about all the hope I have for a new year, a clean slate and blah blah blah

That would have been my post, but life doesn't always go the way you think it is going to.

We watched the Broncos game today. I am not a fan of football...or really any sports. I didn't grow up in a household that's pulse beat to whatever sports season it happen to be. And I pretty much suck at sports. The game was a good one though we lost and our season is now over. The devastation of Broncos fans sent ripples through Facebook.

The creeping crud has been making its way around our family, today it was Jamison who was feeling sickly and we were all out of Ibuprofen.  Despite the single digit weather, I was off to Target for drugs. My husband chivalrously offered to go, but I said it was fine as long as I could wear mom's warm pea coat opposed to my thinner jacket.

I drove about 2 blocks before my windshield was so iced over I had to pull over and fix it. After scraping and waiting for the car to warm a bit more I was on my way. I was headed east down Colfax just about to pass under the interstate when a truck in front of me swerved suddenly. They careened across several lanes at full speed. With an ear shattering shriek of metal the truck crashed head on into the stop light post.

It happened so fast. It felt so unreal, like I was watching a movie or a crime scene reenactment. I quickly pulled over behind the smoking truck. I turned on the emergency flashers and jumped out of my car. I ran up to the truck. I asked if anyone could hear me. A man who had also seen the accident was standing there with his phone calling 911.

I walked closer to the car. I could smell the destruction. I couldn't see anything but deployed air bags. I went to the passengers side door. Several other cars had stopped by this point and there were several men standing around, cussing mostly. I walked up to the door and tried to open it to see if there was someone in there. I asked for some one bigger than me to come help, not sure I would be able to move the shattered door, but everyone just stood around with faces looking shocked and appalled. I opened the door and bits of plastic and metal came pouring out. Glass was everywhere.

I saw a pair of boots, work type, but couldn't see what they were attached to, the air bags filled the truck and the front engine compartment was now in the cab. I walked around to the drivers side and pushed the airbag off the drivers face so she could breath. She was breathing but had a huge gash on her forehead. People were gathered around, but only one or two came close enough to see anything. I saw she had the owner of the boots laying in her lap.

I knew enough to not move anyone, not that I could have or that it would have done any good. The girl, maybe in her early 20's, was breathing raggedly. I gently touched her face and let her know she wasn't alone. I asked if she could hear me, if she could tell me her name. I told her help was on the way, I lied and said she would be ok. I told her that her friend was in the car with her and we would make sure to help him to. I told her to just stay real still, they would be there soon. She never responded.

The guys (I was the only woman on the scene) parked a big truck behind us so that no one would hit the wreck. I just stood, talking to the girl. I heard her friend moan. I told him help was on the way. I felt so helpless. I couldn't do anything or help anyone.

The firetruck was there first. The fire man said he would take over. He asked how many were in the car, if she was the only one. I told him there was a man in the car too, he was in her lap and was hard to see. I stepped back as they cut off the door. I talked to the police  trying to take guesses to why she swerved and how fast she might have been going.After much cutting of metal, they laid her on the stretcher. I moved my car. A police officer handed me a clip board and told me to take it to my car and write a statement.

I sat in the car, shaking. I had been in the single digits in a dress for the last 30 minutes but was just realizing how cold I was. I had to warm my hands by the heater so I could feel them enough to hold the pen. I wrote what I knew, which only took up 3 sad little lines. I got out of the car and waited for the officer.

They fire department continued with the cutting but with less urgency. When they pulled the man out of the truck, they gathered around then covered him with a sheet. I knew what that meant.

The officer came over and thanked me for my time, told me to travel safely and that they would be in touch.

I got back into my car, the radio was on and the dj's were ranting about the outcome of the game. It seemed so trivial. Who cares about a stupid football game, I just watched a man die and held a woman who was bleeding to death and struggling for each breath in my arms.

I came home. Matt made me tea, my mom gave me hugs. I told them about the crash. Jamison woke up.

I sat and rocked and nursed my baby and though what a strange thing life was. I could go from watching a life end to holding one that was just beginning in a mater of moments. I thought what might have happened if Matt had gone to get the drugs for the baby. I wondered why God worked it so I was there. Why not someone more helpful, who could have done something other than lie to a woman who laid with her friend dying in her lap?

My heart hurts for the family of the man who didn't get to go home tonight. My heart breaks for the young woman who may not see the sunrise tomorrow and if she does, will live the rest of her days with the blood of  someone else on her hands.

There is so much pain. I am not sure how to process it. How is life so harsh and so beautiful at the same time? Why do some get to walk away?

I know there are no answers this side of heaven. So my prayer is, Lord, let me walk gently through this world. Let my life leave echos of peace and love and truth. Help me spread more joy than pain, more wisdom than grief. Let me live a life of Grace because there is no guarantee for tomorrow.


Otis Gates said...

Although the tale made me sad to read it It was beautifully written. I think it had to be you one with so much compassion to be there for those two. You have a wonderful heart and I am sure your voice gave comfort to.that mans last few moments. You did everything you could have and more than most would. Hold your babies close and love them a little extra today.

Christen said...

Love you Gretchen. You were supposed to be there! :)