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Two in Two Years
When I think back to last year on Christmas Eve, I will never forget the one call that changed my life forever. It wasn’t a “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” call that changed my life. This call was one call that nobody wants to hear. The call when you find out that a loved one was killed in a severe car accident after a last minute Christmas shopping.
The phone rang at nine o’clock at night on Christmas Eve.
My mom yelled from across the kitchen, “I’ll get it.” I heard my mom murmuring something into the other end.
The next thing I knew my mom was sitting on the couch in the den with a tissue clenched in her hand crying with dad by her side. She kept dabbing the tears that were rolling down her face and cheeks. I felt as if my heart had skipped a beat. My dad had this look on his face with the sorrow in his sensitive cinnamon brown eyes but yet his eyes just stared like he was in shock, which I’m sure he was. I mean... I was anyway. I stood in the doorway with my fourteen year old sister Clara standing next to me she wanted to put her arm around me for a hug to console me to tell me it was going to be ok. But I pulled away; kind of rudely. That one second seemed like one hour-a month-a year-forever. The world just seemed to stop around me, and nothing in my life seemed to matter to me anymore
Eventually mom looked up at me with a tear-stained face and said,
“Anna’s not coming home she’s in heaven, she’s an angel. There was a small whimper that came from my mom as she dabbed her eyes again then she continued
“—She hit a patch of Black ice... and tried to control the car, but it rolled over into the ditch. The smashed up car was upside down and by the time the paramedics arrived Anna was pronounced dead on the scene. The paramedics found a piece of aluminum lodged in her head, which they think was the cause of her death because of the loss of blood.”
These tragic scenes seemed to play like a movie. Her life had flashed in front of me.
For some reason my body just wouldn’t let me cry to show the grief of losing my sister who was also my best friend. So I looked around at my family with tears streaming down their faces. All I could think about was that Anna was always strong and was there for anyone who was stuck in any situation, including our family, even me.
“Rose are you thinking about Anna again,” Clara asked, interrupting my flashback.
“Yeah...I’m sorry, I’ll go get ready now”.
Not two minutes later Clara was already upstairs taunting me along.
“Are you almost ready, I can’t miss my first high school basket ball game, I mean come on the boys team is playing and they’re so cute”! She squealed.
“ Okay, okay, I’m ready lets go,” I sighed as I grabbed my school sweatshirt. Clara hustled down the steps and I sort of took my time.
Clara already had her coat on and was working on her knotted up shoelaces.
“Rose make sure you have your cell phone and window scrapper because there’s supposed to be freezing rain starting at eight o’clock tonight...right Isaac?” mom asked her husband
“I do believe so”, dad said as he was chopping up the veggies for tomorrows stir-fry supper.
“...drive slowly, please”.
“I will dad. Don’t worry. Clara and Rose gave mom and dad a hug and said goodbye. Isaac and Sarah looked out the window and waved at their teenage daughters as the Saturn Ion backed out of the driveway.
“So Clara how does it feel to go to your first official high school basketball game”?
“Oh my God Rose, are you kidding, I am seriously ecstatic”!
I started thinking back to my first game so I figured I would share my story.
“I remember my first basketball game, that was a night to remember. I was fourteen years old and my best friend Amy invited me to come along to accompany her. At first I was a little skeptical on whether I really wanted to go, because mom and dad weren’t going to be there, it was one of those exciting but yet nervous feelings; I mean I was going alone. I was so excited to go I mean I just kept talking about the game for weeks.
“Well I’m not the least bit worried!” Clara exclaimed.
“Hey you know I’m supposed to meet Ellie at the game and I was kind of wondering if you, Amy, Ellie, and I could sit together at the game?” Clara asked.
“Yeah, that’s fine with me, I really don’t mind.”
“Were finally here!” Clara exclaimed.
I could really tell that this for surely was not going to be her last game she would to go to.
About an hour and a half had passed and basket ball game was almost over and we all new how it would end. The boy’s team was twenty one points ahead of the other team.
So I mentioned to Clara “We probably should get going home because the roads are going to be terrible on the way home. The freezing rain is going to make the roads very slick and it takes us almost fifteen minutes to get home. So are you ready to go?”
“Yeah, besides it’s nine o’clock and I’m getting extremely tired” Clara yawned which showed me her response to this question was legit.
As soon as we walked out the doors Clara almost fell down because the parking lot was so slippery, but thank God the freezing rain had stopped, but I still knew the roads weren’t going to get any better.
“Clara could you please get the ice scrapper out of the back seat?” I have to scrape off the windows so I can see and so I don’t get pulled over and end up with a ticket because you know how mom and dad would feel about that.
We started driving slowly down the road and I always hate driving through the trees when the roads are slippery. By the time I realized it a deer jumped out right in the road.
Clara yelled, “Watch out”!
I swerved to the right and tried to miss the deer. Of course the deer jumped to the other side of the road safely.
The next thing I knew the car was rolling down the ditch, which seemed like a brutal theme park ride that easily could cause a whiplash. Glass was flying all over the place; I felt the glass hit my face and being wedged between my back and the seat. I was starting to feel the blood drip down my face. I could hear metal bending and each time the roof smashed the ground the roof got closer to my head. I already knew I was living the nightmare I had had several nights for several months after my sister Anna was killed. The car finally stopped and we were upside down. I moved very slightly to the right near my door and the car rocked and the metal crinkled as it rocked. The terrifying rocks stopped. I was so confused and scared all at the same time. I looked at the seat next to me and Clara wasn’t there so she must’ve thrown out of the car into the ditch. I didn’t hear any movement the only thing I heard where the crickets chirping like nothing ever happened.
In confusion I yelled Clara’s name several times like three or four times the only response I got was silence.
I couldn’t even get out of car the to save my sister. That one thought made me bawl like a two year old after running into a coffee table when they’re learning how to walk. I looked through the broken window and felt my stomach come up into my throat. I noticed that there was blood everywhere. Clara wasn’t moving and I thought I had lost my only sister left. Just to assure my self, I screamed her name again and again, but still no response. I screamed so loud hoping someone would hear me and help because I didn’t know what to do. I was hanging upside down in a car with my seatbelt holding me in what was I supposed to do? I was stuck.
All of the sudden I saw a bright white figure coming directly at me, it seemed to have popped out of nowhere. I strained my eyes to see what it was. I could see what it was. It was an angel. It was Anna. God I must have hit my head harder then I thought. I literally thought I had lost my mind so I closed my eyes real tight and opened them again...and sure enough it really was Anna.
Anna started directing me on how to get out of the car. I was so bruised and so scraped up that I was having a hard time moving my right hand. My hand was covered in blood and I could have swore I saw a bone through the skin but didn’t want to look, but I looked anyway...that was a mistake the moment I looked I threw up all over. There really was a bone, but why I couldn’t feel any pain I couldn’t even tell you. I guess I was pretty lucky... for now anyway. I didn’t give up trying to get out of the car I just kept on going. Anna had told me to unbuckle my seatbelt and try to slide out through the window, but the top of the window was crushed down so far that getting out was very difficult. I was also starting to feel the pain shoot through my right arm, it was almost unbearable. The only thing that made this process easy was that there was no more glass left in the window frame, it had all shattered out during each vicious blow to the roof by the dark hard earth. I usually think of the dark, hard earth as saving people, like from drowning, but now it was nothing of the sort, it was a killer, a murderer. The only thought that had crossed my mind was whether Clara would really be okay. I carefully reached for my cell phone, which was laying somewhat under the roof of the car on my side. I was trying to be as careful as possible so that I wouldn’t get cut, with the glass all over. I was pretty dang lucky that my cell phone actually worked considering all that it had gone through. I then called 911 and gave them my location. Immediately after I had done that I looked for Anna and she had disappeared. I stumbled over to Clara and I sobbed, because I felt like the most worthless sister or even person on this earth as I was the driver and responsible for this accident.
The next thing I knew I was in the hospital room with my family sitting in the room crying. I looked at the bed next to me and Clara was lying in the uncomfortable hospital bed with an air mattress in the Intensive Care Unit. She was lying there so lifeless with a white hospital gown on and a machine trying to keep her alive and tubes down her throat giving her air, the machines were breathing for her, making her heart beat. There was something about the ICU that gave me the chills, I don’t know if it was the fact that the walls were plain and white or that there were machines all over the room, and cords, IV tubes, meters, dials, the computer screen with the slightly jagged green line that was telling the doctor her heart rate, or that is was just cold in the room. All of this equipment was mounted on the wall behind Clara. I kept staring at all this in disbelief even though I had the same electrical equipment behind me I wasn’t being treated as intensely as she was.
I jumped out of my bed just so I could get to my beloved sister, but I moved so quickly that my legs gave out and fell but I didn’t care, no matter how much the pain from the fall shot through my legs. I crawled over to Clara’s bed with potentially bruised knees and bawled. I was told to lie back down and rest. I didn’t want to but I gave in.
It must not have taken long to fall asleep because I awoke to hear a doctor telling my mother and father, in the hallway, outside the room that they couldn’t do any more to save her life, and that Clara didn’t make it. I got out of my bed and knelt next to Clara, the doctors had removed all the tubes, and IV’s. They were going to remove her but I stopped them and requested a few more minutes as nature took its course and slowly shut down Clara’s immune system. Not a minute later I heard Clara taking her last breath of air. That was it, she was gone…I lost my sister. I cried and tried to spit out as many prayers as I could. I would’ve done anything to have my sister back I didn’t want to lose her, not my sister not another family member. As I said these prayers the accident just kept replaying itself over and over and over, it was too graphic to think about, but I couldn’t help it those tragic scenes just kept flooding in uncontrollably.
I prayed for only five minutes. As I was praying I heard something like someone was taking a breath of air but second- guessed that. I looked up at Clara. Her eyes were wide open, and she sat up and kind of looked blankly at us with her pale face and bright blue eyes with bruises around them and started to tell the family what she saw at the gates of heaven, and said that she was told by GOD not to go away from her family.
She also said she saw Anna and that Anna said to give her family a message- to tell her family to let go of her and that they were holding on too tightly, and Anna couldn’t go anywhere with the other angels because her mother and father refused to let her go.
I looked at my sister and hugged her. I looked at her eyes that danced full of life they were blue and sparkling. I will never forget the day that Clara had died and came back, and when people say cars are dangerous they’re not kidding. 1 in 5,900 people are killed in car/truck/SUV accidents a year.
It was one miracle that GOD gave me. I don’t know that I could ever do enough to make up for it, to give back.
I looked up at the tiled ceiling and said, “Thank you GOD”!
It was certainly was “Two (accidents) in Two Years.”