December 29, 2010 — Day 1
This is the night that divides our lives into ‘before Becky died’ and ‘after Becky died.’ We had just sat down to dinner when we received the first call about the accident. Our son-in-law, Jacob, didn’t have our cell number in his cell so he called his Mom, Barbara, and asked her to call us. All we knew was that there had been an accident, that Jacob was on his way to the hospital and that he was pretty broken up when he spoke to Barbara. We immediately sent out a prayer request on our church’s prayer chain. Then the waiting began.
As the night progressed and we spoke briefly to Jacob at various intervals it became clear that Becky’s injuries were grievous and ultimately that she was not going to live. We prayed with Jacob and cried with him, desperately wishing we could be there with him and so thankful for the cell phone connection that at least allowed us to support him a bit. At one point in the evening we sent out a second prayer request to let people know that things looked bad for Becky. Soon our daughter Joni came to the house to share this grief with us. Not long after the second prayer request went out we found dear friends at our door. I’m going to be honest here – we would not have called them to come to us. We were stricken and wanted to process alone as we struggled with our feelings and decisions about when to leave for Jacob’s home and how to get there – several hours away. Our friends were quiet, mostly just sitting in our living room and ‘being there’ while we talked over what next. We finally decided that flying first thing in the morning made the most sense. From there our daughter Kristin and her husband Chris would be able to drive us to Jacob’s home. With that decision our friends insisted that we try to get some rest, that they would do the same, and that our transportation to the airport would be provided in their van. They prayed over us and then left us to finish packing and to rest.
We didn’t sleep at all that night, but we did force ourselves to rest. Our friend came back at 3 a.m. and drove us the two hours to the airport through an icy night when we had no power to think with clarity. Had we chosen to drive we would’ve been a minimum of 9 hours on the road through the night with the last 100 miles or so on ice-coated roads.
When I think back on this now, I’m so blessed at the ‘presumption’ of these friends. They didn’t call and say ‘we’re praying for you’ – although they were. They didn’t check-in and offer to help if we needed anything. Instead they showed up at our door and quietly helped us make wise decisions putting their feet to those decisions. I’ve learned an immense amount about ‘being there’ for others through this experience. Thank you dear friends.
“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17