I blog for many reasons, one of which is to remember. I want to remember the good, the bad, the light and the darkness. I want to remember the days of pain, because pain is never wasted. Never.
The following post is just that. It is me putting down my thoughts about what we are walking right now and what this past month has looked like for our family. My purpose is only to point people to Jesus. To tell His story through our lives.
This picture was taken on the morning of January 7th.
Around 1:30, I received a phone call that I will replay in my head every single day, sometimes several times a day. It’s there when I close my eyes at night. It was the sound of fear and panic, telling me that there was an accident. The call was from my husband.
The weekend was going to be special. My friend, Celia, flew in from Pennsylvania to attend a Plexus event with our team. We had a huge team dinner planned after our event. Mark and Tristyn were heading to the deer lease. She hasn’t been able to go very much this season because of her school and volleyball schedule. They were so excited about their weekend. They were especially looking forward to it because they invited friends to join them.
I spent most of my morning visiting with friends, one of which was my best friend, Jana, who was also at the Plexus meeting. It was her husband and two of their daughters who went to the deer lease with Mark and Tristyn.
About 1.5 hours into the meeting, I noticed I had missed a call from my dad and then my husband called. I declined his call because I was in a meeting. My first thought was how odd it was that Mark would call me. He knew I was in a meeting. I began to worry that something might have happened to my elderly grandmother. Why else would my dad and then Mark call?
I texted Mark to make sure everything was okay. No response. I waited and began to text again. A voicemail came through. My heart dropped. In 25 years, Mark has rarely left me a message. I stepped outside to call him back. When he answered I could tell he was outside. It was loud. His voice was trying to remain calm, but he didn’t sound like himself. Mark is always calm and never wants to rattle me. He is a rock. This was not that kind of call. He was panicked. I heard fear. “Kim, there’s been an accident. Get Jana, and get to our house. Now.” Somewhere in the conversation, he told me that my dad would pick us up to take us to the little town where the deer lease was located. I asked over and over what happened? Was it the girls? Were they alive? But, he didn’t tell me. He was panicked and his voice was starting to yell. In all of my life, I’ve never heard him like that. I remember begging him to tell me if Tristyn was alive. He wouldn’t.
I went back into the meeting, found Jana and we headed out. Jana went to her car and I went to mine.
It was a 30 minute drive from the meeting to my house. It was only by God’s strength that I was able to make the drive. Once I arrived at my house, my dad was waiting for me. It was then that I found out the three girls, Tristyn, Sara and Ally, were in a UTV and were hit by a truck. We didn’t know anything else.
I also found out that instead of heading to the little town, we were heading to Parkland Hospital. Tristyn was being transferred by Careflight. All I could do was pray. My dad drove and I sat next to him and prayed. The drive felt like hours. We didn’t know if Tristyn was alive. We knew nothing. I knew why people went to Parkland. Parkland is one of the best trauma hospitals in the nation. I knew that it had to be horrible if they were taking Tristyn there.
It was during the drive that I got a call from Jana’s sister, Amber, telling me that they were heading to the little town. Oh how my heart leapt. The other girls must be okay. They don’t have to go to Parkland. Then, Amber told me that Ally, Jana’s 16 year old daughter, was gone. A month later I still can’t believe it. To even write those words make me sick.
Now that I look back, I was in shock. I was numb. I’m not sure I was able to process anything. How can a day change so quickly?
We arrived at the hospital before Tristyn. Several people were already there waiting for me. I didn’t know how they knew, but I was thankful for their presence. I knew they were praying. Security took us to a special area-the trauma area.
We waited, still not knowing anything. We didn’t know if Tristyn was alive.
I was torn on focusing and praying for Tristyn and grieving for Jana.
The next several hours were a blur, but the careflight finally landed. She was admitted to the trauma department. The careflight guy told me that she had broken legs, possibly a broken pelvis and internal bleeding. She also had a severe blow to the head. It didn’t matter. She knew her name. She was responsive.
They let me go back to see her for a minute. I’ll never forget walking into a room with my little girl laying on the hospital bed. She looked like Tristyn, but then again, she didn’t. She was covered in blood, dirt, grass, and scrapes. She asked about Sara and Ally. We couldn’t tell her anything. I still didn’t know what happened.
Doctors and nurses were everywhere.They moved so fast, on a mission, while my baby lay on a bed, covered in only blankets and iv’s. Tears slipped out of her eyes a few time, but mostly she was brave and strong. She told me later that she knew I was there but couldn’t see me.
After several hours of X-rays, tests, stitching up her head, they took her into surgery to repair the compound fracture in her right leg. She was in surgery for over 2 hours. The rest of the evening was a blur.
I found out that our girls were in a UTV, when a truck hit them from behind. He never saw them.
We spent the next 24 hours in ICU and the next 9 days in the hospital. I remember crawling into our makeshift bed that night a few feet from Tristyn. I wanted to cry and scream, but nothing came. Mark wouldn’t leave Tristyn’s side. Finally around 2:00 am, I closed my eyes. I think I “slept” 2 hours, waking up to Mark still staring at Tristyn. I understand why. It is a miracle that she is alive.
Here’s my first facebook post that I wrote that morning around 6:00am:
“As I sit here this morning, the fog of yesterday is beginning to lift. They told us to “try” to get some rest, that today we would need it even more. How is that even possible?
How does one mom rejoice when her daughter’s life was spared, when your best friend is grieving the loss of her daughter?
How do you tell your daughter what happened to her friends? How do you move forward when your grief is deeper than anything you’ve ever felt?
How does one morning of laughing with friends turn into this nightmare?
I sit here listening to Tristyn’s breathing and I’m hanging on to each breath. I’ve never been more thankful for that sound. I stare at her face knowing that my baby is there, beneath the swelling, scrapes and bruises. The nights of dance parties in the kitchen and Gilmore Girls marathons seems like it was in another lifetime
We know that bones, bruises, and cuts heal but the emotional trauma and hurt is deeper. Tristyn has the most gentle heart of anyone I know. In the next few days, we will have to tell her things and she may begin to remember. (She has asked but we were instructed to not tell her anything yet.) Please continue to pray.
She will learn to walk with broken legs and begin therapy soon. I know they told me of other doctors that she will see, trauma drs and head drs, but I can’t remember.
Friends, thank you for every visit, phone call, message, text and FB post. I’ve read every single one. I cried all night long reading them. Right now, I’m not able to respond. We feel your prayers and we feel loved. I’m not just saying that. We have already seen countless miracles. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
For those of you praying, we ask specifically that you pray:
*for Tristyn’s healing, no further surgeries, and no infections
*that God would be glorified in our brokenness
*that this would draw us even closer to our Savior and point other’s to Jesus. My purpose is always to know Him and make Him known.
*for the doctors and nurses at Parkland-and wisdom on what is needed for Tristyn
*mostly for our precious friends, Steve and Jana, and their family (Emma, Sara, Amber, Jonathon, Connie and Tim) We love them all and wish we could hold them and be with them during this time
*for Sara’s complete healing
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Friends, this post is already way too long. I’ll post about the following days in the next post.
I can’t mention all of this without mentioning Ally. I’m not going to share her story or her sister, Sara’s, story (but I will say that Sara, too, is a miracle!) That is for their mom and dad. I will encourage you to search Facebook with the hashtag #AllysLegacy. You will see a young girl, with wonderful parents, who raised her to love Jesus. She lived her life to the fullest and loved Jesus without abandon. You will also find countless stories of people giving their life to Jesus. The world has forever been changed because of Ally. We will miss you.