Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Too Close for Comfort

This morning at 7 am I got a call from Jason. (He goes to work at 4 am). He starts his call with, "Don't freak out, but..." So, of course, I start freak out. What did he expect?

Jason works in Rock Springs, about 15-20 minutes from Green River. He carpools with a neighbor of ours (they're on the same crew in the same department at work, and therefore, have the same schedules; it's really convenient since we only have one car). When they arrive at work they drive trucks carrying their equipment out to the job site and set up.

The company has been cutting back. They let all of their temps go. Then they cleaned house in the office, letting all of their higher paid staff go. Recently they let go the "rotators" (they live in other states and the company pays for them to travel here, work their 2 week rotation, and then again pays for them to go home for their week off to see their families). No worries, we're pretty confidant in the security of Jason's job! Anyway, because of these lay offs, they rearranged crews and schedules.

More explanation: Jason works crazy hours (about 17 a day) for two straight weeks and then gets a full week off paid. The two weeks he works are really draining on us all. He is completely worn out and sleep deprived by the end. I'm tired of dealing with the kids and everything on my own. And we all just miss each other like crazy. But that week off is WONDERFUL! We get to spend every second together and it's so much fun!!

So Jason's crew has already worked one week in their rotation so far. That meant he would work again this week and then next week he'd be off. We were planning a trip to Utah. Yesterday we found out that he was being moved to another crew. Red crew.

Red crew had their week off this last week. That meant that Jason was going to be expected to work the next two weeks with them in joining their rotation. That meant 3 straight weeks for him. He's gone before I'm up in the morning and home at night just before bed, if I'm even still awake. I was not happy about not being able to see him all of next week. Besides, this was messing up out plans to go to Utah!

I kept telling myself to think of the extra money it would bring in and that it was just one extra week. I could get through just one extra week. But I wasn't happy.

Then my phone rang at 7 this morning. There had been an accident. Jason was in an ambulance. On their way out to the job site in a work van a car had swerved on the two lane highway and hit the van carrying my husband head on. The driver of that car was killed.

Killed. Someone actually died. Life was taken. That fact alone made this news hard for me to swallow. Jason was alive. He thought he had a broken collar bone. He thought everyone in the van was okay.

He had to go. They were taking him to the hospital to be checked out. I hung up the phone and immediately, without a thought, dropped to my knees. Thank you, Lord! Thank you that my husband is alive! Thank you that it's someone else's family who will suffer this tragedy today!

Then I called my family. I explained what had happened to my mom. I cried to her. Guilt because of my prayer had set in. My mom expressed her love and concern for Jason and comforted me the way any perfect mom would.

I called my dad. That was a "funny" conversation. When I had explained the situation to my mom I had prefaced the news with, "Jason's okay, but..." I had (unintentionally) failed to add this to the story when I told my dad. "There was an accident. A car hit Jason's work truck head on. It was the other driver's fault. He was killed..." This was followed by my dad yelling. "What?! Jason's dead?!" Oops. Didn't mean to give you a heart attack, Dad. :) I quickly clarified that Jason was okay, it was the other driver who was killed. I was reprimanded and then we laughed off the tension. Dad expressed his love and concern as well and then I called Jason.

Our car has been in the shop. For way. too. long. So I've had no transportation. We decided there was nothing I could do at the hospital, so I stayed home with the kids waiting to hear what was going on.

Jason was x-rayed and the doctor confirmed that his collar bone was snapped in half and had shifted on top of itself. (It's pretty gross). I called one neighbor to watch the kids and another to give me a ride to the hospital. They were more than willing to help.

When I got to the hospital I talked to Jason's boss and the safety director of the company. Then a nurse took me back to see him. I knew everything was fine and that Jason would be back to perfect in no time. But someone wasn't fine. And I had seen pictures of the wreck. That crash was the equivalent of driving over 130 mph into a brick wall. Seat belts or not, there was no reason ANYONE should have survived that crash. I tried to hold back tears and hug him as gently as I could.

I didn't lose my husband today. By some miracle. Because it was no less than a miracle. And on top of that his injuries are as simple as the expected aches and pains and a broken collar bone. He's still here. I can kiss him and hug him and tell him that I love him. I could never do those things enough.

The driver of Jason's work van fractured his back. Everyone was released from the hospital with minor injuries. Nothing more than whiplash and back pain. And the driver's back and Jason's collar bone. Miracle.

Jason told me earlier about how after the impact he looked around and saw the driver of their van slumped over. He thought he was dead. Thank heavens he wasn't. Everyone but the driver and the guy in the passenger seat got out (those two were trapped in the van and had to be cut out by the fire department later) and tried to stop traffic on the highway. Jason described walking to the other driver's station wagon and seeing a lifeless body, eyes open. He described the man's hair and glasses and other details that reminded me this was a real person.

My heart breaks for the family of that other driver. Last we heard they still hadn't been notified. The accident happened at 5:34 am. They suspect he fell sleep at the wheel. His poor family. I hope they share our knowledge of our Heavenly Father's plan. I hope they will find some peace and comfort in their time of grief and suffering. They will be in my prayers.

It's been an emotional day. When I think about what happened, or what could have happened, tears show up out of nowhere. I look at Jason and they come again. I love him so much! I don't want to imagine what my life would be like without him in it. He brings so much happiness to me and the kids. He's such a wonderful, wonderful man. My very best friend.

I need to stop thinking about it. I don't like the emotions it brings. So I'll leave you with a few pictures. And my gratitude to everyone who has called or helped out or kept us in their prayers. We love you all so much!!


These were all taken early in the morning on Jason's camera phone. Thus the poor quality.

This is the station wagon that hit them. He just swerved into their lane. There was nothing they could do. I'm SO grateful for that circumstance. No one is left behind to live with the guilt of what happened. Such a strange thing to be grateful for. Perspective is drastically changed in these kinds of situations, I guess.


The work van Jason was riding in. He was directly behind the front passenger. This picture is after the doors had been cut off by the fire department.

My sweetheart sleeping after a long and traumatic day. He keeps teasing me about how I'm going to have to help dress him and bathe him for the next couple of months while he heals. I just keep reminding him that I'm happy to help so long as he understands that I've already got two little bums to wipe, so he's on his own in that department!! (Did I just share too much?) :)
Jason also bit almost completely through his tongue in the accident. I won't torture you with that picture. It's disgusting!!

32 comments:

The Brandt Clan Fam! said...

We are SO glad that Jason is alive and "well"!!!! We love you all and will be praying for everybody affected!

Paityn and Mark said...

Wow Mckenna! That is so amazing that he is alive and ok. Those pictures are horrible. You must have been so stresesed and scared. We love you!!

Griffee's said...

Oh my! I'm so glad your family is ok. Those types of things scare the crap out of me. I hope everything goes smoothly with his recovery and quickly. But on the bright side he'll be home a few days eh?

KHathaway said...

That's scary, and I'm glad that Jason is alright! Statistically he's used up his near death experience, so you guys should be good for a while :P Really though, I'm glad that it didn't turn out any worse than it did. Also, while you may feel strange about your prayer and being grateful that the other driver doesn't have to live with his guilt, I kind of agree. I hope you'll all stay positive and happy!

Lali Johnson said...

Oh My Gosh McKenna! I am so glad everything turned out ok. I can't imagine how your day has been and I will be thinking about you guys for quite some time.

Breeann said...

Thanks for the chills and tears! I am so glad to hear Jason is ok. My husband leaves for work super early too and I tell him every morning to drive safe and stay awake. I will keep your family in my prayers. I hope Jason's recovery is quick and goes well.

The Larson Family said...

That is so scary. I'm so glad that he is alive! I can't imagine how traumatizing that must be. You guys and the family of the other driver will be in my prayers.

M&M Kemp's said...

Gosh...you sure know how to get a heart racing and tears flowing! Thank you for reminding me to count my blessings. What a wonderful miracle.

Tabitha said...

Y'all continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. We love you.

camille said...

Wow, I have no words. It's truly a miracle. I will keep your family in my prayers along with everyone who was affected by this.

r said...

I'm so so happy your husband is OK! That is any wife's worst nightmare. I hope he heals well and fast, so you can get back to just two kids to take care of :)

Jill Revell said...

Holy cow! I'm so glad that your husband is ok. That is definitely too close for comfort!

Davis, Linda, and Gavin said...

So glad to hear Jason is doing okay. How scary!! Heavenly Father was definitely looking out for him.

Liz Goble said...

I'm so glad that Jason is okay. That is so scary...are you going to be able to let him go back to work? I would be freaking out!!

Lauren and Tyson Fiala said...

Oh we are so glad Jason is ok. What a huge blessing! It makes me realize that every day truly is a gift! We hope Jason heals fast and feels better soon.

Nicole said...

OMG! McKenna I am so happy that Jason is "okay". What a horrible expirence to have to go through! I wish you guys the best with his recovery and the other guys in his crew. You guys sure have someone watching out for you!

Erin and Family said...

so glad that jason is okay. love you guys!

Megan said...

So scary...but such a miracle. Hope all is going well and I will definitely hold my husband a little tighter tonight.

Scimber said...

Thank heavens Jason is safe! Here's to a speedy recovery.

Melinda said...

Just want to add my gratitude that Jason was okay and that you had such great support around you. McKenna I still haven't met you but I feel like I do from your blog, so anyway, know this is heartfelt and tell Jason too that I'm so glad he's okay. Hopefully we will all get together sometime :)

B2 said...

SCARY SCARY SCARY!!!! I am so glad that everything is okay! hope he recovers soon!

Jess said...

I totally got chills reading your story! WOW! That is so crazy, scary! I'm glad that Jason is okay!

Davis Fam said...

Holy cow....this is just a reminder of how important life is and of how much we love each other. I am grateful your husband is alive and surviving. Love ya!!

Andrew and Charonne- said...

im so glad he is ok, count your blessings...........

The Larson Family said...

Thanks for the pineapple suggestion. I can't get fresh pineapple until tomorrow, so I'm eating canned for now. Hopefully it still works!

I hope your hubby is doing a little better!

Kandace & Isaac said...

What a day! Isn't it crazy..one moment we want to cut our kids heads off with a butter knife because they are driving us crazy and the next we just want to hug them and be grateful that they are alive. I hope everyone is recovering. You are a trooper. I couldn't handle your husbands work schedule. My hat goes off to you.

Kristin said...

I am so grateful that Jason was not more seriously injured. I really hope that everything is much better for you all now.

Jobi Niu said...

SHUT UP!! Oh my gosh! I'm SO sad for that family of that man who passed away! I'm very happy Jason is ok and that just his collar bone was broken, I'm sure he's in alot of pain, but he's alive. Life is just crazy. I seriously need to live everyday to the fullest, geez. I feel so bad for all those Dad's, husbands going to work everyday trying to support their families in this tough economy and stuff like this happens, breaks my heart! :(

The Tarin Family said...

OMGosh! I'm so glad that Jason is alive and he is home healing! I'll for sure keep that other family in my prayers, and I'll pray for a speedy recovery for Jason. I can't believe those pictures! That's one of my biggest fears, is someone coming into my lane head on. I'm just so glad that your husband is alive!

Kristin said...

how about i just help you hit 30 on this one instead!! he he

Cya soon i hope

womanoforangerinds8 said...

Huh. I thought I already commented on this post. Oh well. I told Mark about what had happened. We're both shocked, grateful, and thinking about all of you. Hope Jason is still recovering...and quickly. We miss ya.

Addicted Fisherman, SlingShotGirl, and Ms. Drool-bug said...

Oh my heck Mckenna!!! I am soooooooo happy that Jason is okay! I will keep you and the driver's family in our prayers. Tell Jason we're so sorry and are thinking of you guys!

It makes me so appreciative that my family is well and in good health. Everyone thinks they're immortal until they are reminded that things like this can happen.