When Two Pains Collide This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 13, 2010
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Why do people have to go through what we’ve been through? Why doesn’t anyone really understand? People don’t get it; they could have died, no longer with us, never to be seen again, dead. People thing “Oh it wasn’t that bad.” If they only knew, how close they were to dying.

My family was getting together at Gene and Rhoda Denlinger’s to have a time of fellowship. The Raush’s, another family from church, were also invited. My two older sisters, Laura and Heather, went to youth group instead. So my mom, dad, younger sister Renae, and I went to the Denlinger’s. When we stepped into their house we could smell the lemon of cleaning and see a neat living room. We greeted each other and sat down to eat. Together, we ate a wonderful meal and talked and laughed no yet knowing the pain our family would soon suffer.

After we ate, watched a little Phillies, and then drove through the windy roads of southern Lancaster County, we were finally home. It was somewhat late, so when we got home, and Laura and Heather weren’t home yet, my parents were a little concerned, but not too much. Renae and I went to our room, and went to bed. We would normally talk and mess around a little until Mom or Dad told us to go to sleep. For some reason that night I didn’t want to talk, but Renae just wouldn’t stop. So when she asked “Is that Mom crying?” I was thinking, “Would you just be quiet!” but instead answered, “No, it’s just the TV. Go to sleep.” A few minutes later, I heard Mom and Dad coming up the squeaky stairs, down the hall. They came more slowly then moral, and when they walked into out small bedroom, I could see that Mom was, in fact, crying. Dad looked scared but more pulled together. They told us that Laura and Heather had been in a bad car accident. We asked if they’d be okay, but they didn’t know anything more. Renae started crying. I didn’t know what was in my mind, but it took me a while to figure out what was going on. I started to cry- I felt like I was crying out the Conestoga River. My pillow started to get wet and smelled like salt from the tears pouring down my cheeks- the taste in my mouth was terrible. My stomach started to ache. What happened to my two wonderful, older sisters?

The next morning, Mom came to check on us, and tell us how our sisters were. They were coming home from youth group- Laura was driving. She went to fast around a curve, lost control of the car, swerved on the road into a grove of trees and hit one head on. Heather was okay; she had glass in her face and a small concussion. Laura was in much more pain. She broke her pelvis and tail cone, and had a concussion. Mom asked if we would like to go visit them. We eagerly agreed and headed through the city of Lancaster, to the hospital.

The last time I was in a hospital was to sing Christmas carols to older people; this was quite a different visit. We went and saw Laura first. Apparently they had taken the neck brace off and so there was shattered glass on her neck. For Renae and me, it was a little scary to see our once active sister, lying on a hospital bed, helpless. Laura quietly said, “Hold my hand,” and held out her hand. Renae and I held it, and then she fell fast asleep. We visited Heather who looked alright. She sounded like she just had a cold and her throat was sore, they had just taken the tube out of her throat, but she was her same old self- wanting to watch the Eagles and getting mad when they lost by a field goal.

We went back into the waiting room where a lot of people from school were. They looked concerned, but how do you know if they really cared? Did they really understand what was happening? That both my sisters would have died if they hadn’t been wearing their seat belts? Did they? Or were they there to just be there? People would ask me how I was doing, but what was I supposed to say? “Oh yeah, I just great!”

Later that day, Laura and Heather were moved into the same room. Laura was always moaning in pain as if moving was like she was sleeping on a bed of nails. My mom would tell her to press the button for medicine, but she didn’t seem to understand the concept. I felt bad for Heather- she seemed fine, just tired and always hearing Laura’s loud moaning. People from church, school and family friends came bringing flowers and cards, trying to make everything okay. Everyone seemed to ignore Renae and me; it was Laura and Heather that were in the car accident after all. Laura and Heather might have in the physical one, but our family went through an emotional crash.

Sometime later that week Heather came home; then finally Laura did as well. WE brought up the TV from downstairs, so Laura could watch. She had walker to hobble around, like an older person would. She had to drop AP US History at school and had a hard time in math, which had never been difficult for her before. Heather seemed fine, but how can you tell? For all I know, she just hid all her feelings away. Our family suffered, but we stuck together and made it through.

When you see someone in pain, look at their situation from all points of view. They’re not the only ones in pain; try to see who else might be also. The pain that changed my family was great, but we overcame it together, as one. So make every day you have with them the best you can make it. Love your family, friends, enemies, and everyone else in between- you never know when you might crash.





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