Sometimes Facebook “memories” remind you of fun/cool events. Sometimes they remind you of just how fragile life is. July 23, 2014 is a day that forever changed our family. My brother-in-law, Jeff was involved in a freak farm accident. He was trying to put out a small fire on his tractor when it started up again and drove over his back. It broke his pelvis, punctured his lung and broke most of his ribs. One of his sons, Garrett happened to be with him at the time and called 911 and his other brother and sister to come quickly. The ambulance got him to Ellendale and then flew him to Aberdeen, SD. From there, they determined that he needed to go to Hennepin Medical Center because they have one of the best pelvic surgeons in the country. Time seemed to stand still. We were all beside ourselves waiting, hoping, praying… Would he be OK? Would he walk again? Would he remember what happened?
I drove quickly to get down to Minneapolis to be with them. I waited longer than I should have to leave, but then just got in my car and took off. I picked up some clothes for my sister, Marie since we didn’t know how long he’d be there (and she just left right from work.) I am sure to them, there are vivid images of those days, weeks and months that followed. I remember those first few hours after I got there. We waited and prayed and tried to keep people updated on what was happening. I remember them lightening up his sedation to do a neuro check and seeing the fear and confusion in his eyes. I remember him being taken out of sedation but kept on pain meds & still intubated. He was able to respond well & wanted to write notes to Marie. He asked, “where am I?”, “what day is it?” & “will I be ok for the wedding (his oldest son, Casey had an upcoming wedding)?” He wrote about 4 pages of notes, telling what happened, thanking Garrett for saving him & telling everyone he loves them. We really just handed it all over to God. We knew that there was nothing that we could do and it was all in His hands. He had surgery to put a plate in his pelvis to keep it stable, but that meant no weight on it for several weeks. A week later, he was able to be moved to the hospital in their town to continue recovery.
Caring Bridge entry from July 25th – As I sit here tonight & try to make sure that my amazingly strong sister gets some rest, I’m overwhelmed with the last 2 1/2 days. For those who don’t know me well, I’m Marie’s “baby sister” by 9 yrs. I’ve admired her for many things, her faith, her caring nature, her strong family bonds, her selfless friendship & her relationship/teamwork with Jeff. If you’re reading this, you know of Marie & Jeff .. Whether you’ve known them for a month or a lifetime, you know what a great family they are. They are close to each other, & they are all “givers”. So, it was no surprise to me that moments after people found out about the accident, their friends & family all started praying… & offering help in any way they could. They’ve said so many times, “how do we thank everyone?!” I try to remind them, that the good they’ve always shown to others is coming back around now. They’ve also said how thankful they are to live in such a wonderful community. So from them & from the bottom of their hearts & mine, thank you. Thank you for praying, for calling, for visiting, for caring.
They have felt your prayers. Jeff asks us to read the comments to him from this site. It lifts him up and reminds him how loved he is. He loves to hear from all of you. This family has amazing faith in God. They KNOW that God has been here so many times in the last few days, putting the right people in the right places at the right time. Their Pastor Justin just “happened” to be in Minneapolis this weekend for a wedding. What a blessing to have him visit & pray with the family. Too many things to list, where we knew it could only be the hand of God making things possible.
There is a song by Casting Crowns called “Just Be Held.” It is one that had significance for the whole family as Jeff went through his healing process. As painful as it is to have these memories reappear, it also reminds us to be thankful for each day. It reminds us that we really aren’t in control of it all. Sometimes we have to hand it over to God, and just “be held.”
Just Be Held by Casting Crowns:
Hold it all together, everybody needs you strong. But life hits you out nowhere and barely leaves you holding on.
And when you’re tired of fighting, chained by your control… There’s freedom in surrender, lay it down and let it go.
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away… You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held. Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place. I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.
That year, we all learned to be held – by God, by friends and by family. Jeff was able to heal and to make it to the wedding. We often called him Super Man since he had a steel plate in him, or “Miracle Man,” because it’s such a miracle that he is here. Through struggles, our faith can falter or strengthen – it depends on what you are looking for. When you look for the blessings, your faith can be strengthened. When you foucus on the negative, then your faith may falter. May you chose to focus on the positive. May you love deeply & be thankful for today. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.