Family and Car Wrecks

March 24, 2011
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I don’t remember a lot from my childhood. There’s really only one memory that’s ever managed to impact my life enough for it to be stuck to my brain like a handprint in wet cement, and it’s the one thing that I just wished never happened. Never before have I seen my family—my entire family—collapse into such devastation.

My sister and I heard the news in the middle of the night. It was unbearably brief; the only explanation offered being, “LeRoy got in a car accident. Pack all the clothes you can find; we’re driving to Virginia.” And drive we did. The car ride must have passed by in a blur, because all I can remember from it was that it was dark outside—the kind of dark you only see when it’s two in the morning—and I couldn’t distract myself by watching trees and nothingness pass by in a whirlwind, even if I had wanted to. And then all of a sudden we were standing in front of him crying our eyes out, and I remember my grandpa and my dad giving him a blessing. I remember wondering what was going to happen to our family if he died.

And then all of a sudden, he was breathing on his own, moving on his own, mumbling, speaking, rolling around in a wheelchair, walking, and I knew our family would be okay. Not the same—how could it be the same when he’s not the same?—but okay. That was enough for me, and, in the end, I really think it brought our family closer together.

But I will still never forget.





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