We went to Anna’s funeral in Springfield, OH and afterward the burial and dinner. When it was over we left to travel home.
We hadn’t traveled far when one of the children said, "Mom, we forgot to pray for safety on the road." We always try to remember to do this, but somehow we forgot. You know like when you sit down to eat and somehow you forgot to ask the blessing? I asked my son to pull over so we could have prayer. I felt an urgency as I did. Here we had just come from a funeral where an 18 yr old died from an accident. She was perfectly healthy and no idea it was her last day to be outdoors. I told the children that day that we have no promise of tomorrow. After we prayed, we got back onto the highway.
We had left around 5:30 PM in hopes of getting home before it got any colder. We had no heat in the car, but took blankets to cover up with. It turned very cold while we were away. After a while my feet started going numb. We were about 35 miles outside Cincinnati when I decided we HAD to stop and get something hot to drink. About 20 min later we were wearing it. Thankfully it had cooled and no one got burned from it. Andrea did say it was hot enough to sting when it spilled on her but she wasn’t scalded.
We were in three lanes of traffic in the left lane and it was raining and sort of foggy. A semi was behind us and in the far lane was another semi across from us. The middle lane was empty and my son wanted to get over to let the semi through. He turned his signal on and was starting to go into the middle lane; however, the semi in the right lane had the same idea. I told James, "Get back over the semi is coming over." We had only gotten about half way into the lane when we were rear-ended by the semi behind us. We were trying to regain comtrol of the vehicle when he hit us again this time in the side. This sent us spiraling out of control and we hit the semi that was on our right side. We were slung back across like a hockey puck to the semi that had first hit us. It seemed as though we were headed underneath the semi. Our lives flashed before our eyes. We hit the back wheel of the semi instead and were sent reeling back across the three lanes of traffic. This time there was nothing stopping us and we came to an abrupt stop in an embankment. As soon as we stopped, smoke came pouring up from the floorboard. It was then that my son shut off the car and handed me the keys.
As soon as we stopped spinning, I made sure everyone was ok. Valerie was crying hysterically and I had to try to calm her down. I finally figured out she was just scared and I knew she would be ok. Andrea said she was ok, but that her head was hurting some. James said, "I am fine. Mom I am so sorry." I told him this wasn’t his fault and that it was just a car and that as long as we were ok, that was all that mattered. James tried his door and I tried mine. Neither would open. Andrea tried hers later and it opened.
Almost immediately two strangers came running up to our cars and asked if we were ok. We said we were. Valerie was still crying and they said is there a baby in the car. They said this two or three times. I finally said no that it was my seven year old and that everyone was ok. I told them I was a CNA and if they would help me out of the car, I would try to make sure the kids were ok. As soon as I got out of the car I fell apart though. All the calm I was trying to show left after the kids got in the car of the person who had helped us. I completely broke down and sobbed when I saw the car. I said, "How in the world did we survive this?" The man that had stopped and helped (and whose car we were staying warm and dry in said, "You must have had God on your side." The lady that stopped and helped said, "God was really looking out for you." I sobbed on this lady’s shoulder while she comforted me. She kept saying, "you are out, you are fine." I said, "I know but we could have all died back there."
From there, the man that had stopped and helped us took us to University Hospital and got us all check out. They told us to expect to be sore for a while. I thank God no one was hurt any worse than what we were. One ER trauma nurse told us that we were very fortunate to be alive. He said, "I have seen many accidents over the last (I think he said 14) years and you are very lucky to be alive." I had showed them the photos of the accident.
Every time I think of the accident, I thank God to be alive. He didn’t have to spare our lives, but for some reason he did and I thank Him for that. For some reason… I hope I can know that reason and fulfill what God intends for me to fulfill. I have been hugging the kids a lot the last two days. You never know when you will give that last hug.