Love never dies...
On May 28, 2009 I lost my 23 yr old son, 20 yr old daughter-in-law and 1 yr old grandson in a car accident 3 miles from home. My son lost control of the car he was driving and the car flipped upside down into a ditch with rising flood water in it. I told them all goodbye at approximately 8:20 that night when they left.
They spent 10-15 minutes at a local convenience store (which I worked and still work at) and the 911 call came in to the county dispatch @ 9:00 from a passerby who happened to see a tire sticking up out of the water in the ditch. I remember hearing the ambulance siren that night but didn't think much of it. I now know where it was going.
Chris, the local police chief knocked on my door at approximately 9:15 that evening and asked who lived in the apartment across the hall from me. I told him my son, daughter-in-law and grandson lived there. He asked me if anyone was home at that time and I said no, they had just left not too long ago.
I remember the serious look on his face and the little shake of his head as he looked down at a small notebook in his hands. He told me he was instructed by the county sheriff's office to get me to the hospital...there had been an accident and my grandson was on the way there by ambulance and he had been told to get me there immediately.
As we headed out of town I could see many red and amber lights flashing on another road which was the scene of the accident. The chief tried to get more information on the way, as he didn't know exactly what happened. When we got there, the ambulance had just gotten to the ER with my grandson, Adam, and they were 'working on him'. I was told to wait in a small waiting room outside the ER.
I remember sitting there, stunned by what was happening and wanting to know more. What happened?...how was Adam...and how were Jesse and Krista...and WHERE were Jesse and Krista since nothing had been said about an ambulance bringing them to the hospital? I asked Chris where they were and he promised to find out for me.
I don't know how long, but I sat there waiting to hear something as I watched through a window by the door of the waiting room, watching Chris pacing back and forth in the hallway, talking on the phone and after what seemed like forever he and a member of the ambulance crew (a woman I had gone to school with) came into the room.
She sat by me and put her arm around me and he sat on a chair in front of me. I had a sinking feeling that Adam was dead, but was told that the ER team was still working on Adam and I could go back and see him soon. What Chris told me next took the wind out of me. It was like I was having a nightmare. The county sheriff had told Chris to tell me that Jesse and Krista were still out at the accident site. That they were dead at the scene. First responders were unable to resuscitate them.
I began rocking back and forth, sobbing, saying 'Oh God' over and over again. I could feel myself 'falling' into blackness. It was like the rug was pulled out from under me. I was in shock, but God gave me the strength to know that I needed to be with Adam now since his mom and dad couldn't.
When I got into the ER, Adam was on the table and a nurse was 'bagging' him. They were sticking all kinds of tubes into him. They were pumping his stomach too as he had been under water and I could see the dirty ditch water that he had swallowed coming through the clear tube. They guided me to him and gave me his tiny hand to hold. It was so limp and cold. His body temperature kept dropping and I hung onto his hand, willing my warmth to flow into him.
I was told he was going to be life flighted to University Hospital. Somehow I knew that he was already gone, but I also knew that I had to depend on the medical experts to be sure that everything possible was done to try to save his life.
When he arrived there, a cat scan was done that showed no brain activity. The Dr. estimated that Adam had been under water for at least 15 minutes before he was rescued, based on the time frame given to him by law enforcement.
We waited for what seemed an eternity until the nurse came and got us. He had been put on life support, but his vitals were still dropping continually. They brought us in to be with him. At that point there was nothing more that could be done for him. His heart was still beating but his breathing was being done totally by machine.
The Dr. told us he would not survive on his own because of the damage that had been done to his lungs. We had to make the decision to remove him from life support. We stayed there with him, holding him until his strong little heart stopped beating. We offered his organs for transplant, but the Dr. said there was too much damage and none of his organs could be used.
I'll never forget that ride home. It was sunrise and I will always remember that the sky was a beautiful pink and blue as if God was telling me that it was ok, They were all together with Him now. I sat there, numb...struggling to come to terms with what had happened. I have always been afraid of water and to know that they all died of drowning...what a HORRIBLE way to die.
Every time I closed my eyes I would feel the panic and desperation they all must have felt as they tried to breathe. Tried so hard to get out of that damned car...to get Adam out. The police told me that Jesse and Krista died as heroes.
When the car was pulled out of the water, it was evident that they were trying to save themselves and Adam. Jesse had a death grip on an ice scraper that he had been trying to break a window with to get them out after trying unsuccessfully to kick the windshield out. Krista was trying to get the latch on Adam's car seat open. The car was upside down in the ditch and the doors wouldn't open as it was a narrow ditch. When the fire and ambulance crews got there they worked to get the car door open against the sides of the muddy ditch and when they finally succeeded the diaper bag floated out, telling them there was a child inside. The firefighters got Adam out and to the ambulance first where they found a slight heartbeat.
The state patrol investigated but were not able to determine why the accident happened...it appeared that Jesse had swerved to miss something on the road which was very possible because there was flooding going on and a lot of animals were being driven out of the woods and fields in the area that night. We will never know exactly what happened.
Jesse was my first and only son. He would have had a brother, but I lost him in the 21st week of my pregnancy due to an incompetent cervix. We had named him Adam. When I got pregnant with Jesse, I had a cervical cerclage taken in my cervix to keep it from opening early and ended up having Jesse by c-section after 9 hrs of intense labor which I feel contributed to his learning disabilities.
All through school I advocated for him. School was a struggle for him. After school, he found Krista. Adam was born on May 4, 2008. I was on the phone with Jesse while Adam was born and heard his first cry. Adam was born with clubfoot and was in casts until he was a year old. He finally had the casts off and was just learning to walk. Jesse had asked me if it was ok to name his son Adam, after his brother. I now have a son and a grandson, both named Adam, buried in two different cemetaries.
Jesse was so proud of his little family and loved to show them off. He and Krista were married on March 20, 2009. He was working and Krista was in the process of looking for work. They were on the way to getting on their feet. Krista would have turned 21 on June 12, 2009.
It's been almost 2 years and I still struggle with the loss. The passing of time helps but there are still bad days. I may be having a good day and suddenly I'll see or hear something that reminds me of one of them and instantly the tears start. I think I've felt every emotion possible. Was at a district meeting for work a week ago and a video about the death of a son blindsided me unexpectedly. I feel guilty that I didn't do more for them while they were with me.