PEACE AFTER THE STORM
It was a big decision for a ninth-grade drop-out mother of seven to make. The death of our three year old little Laura had birthed an unexplainable desire in me to go to medical school. The summer I turned thirty-two, my family and I, embarked upon that journey.
Finally the last semester's term papers were upon me. There were articles I couldn't get from our local area so it demanded I make the trip to Oklahoma City. Two of my classmates and I decided to go and get the trip over. I felt uneasy the morning I left but chalked it up to fatigue. Much to our delight we got what we needed and headed home. All of a sudden I had this sick sensation in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong at home. To satisfy me they stopped and I called home. I knew something was wrong but all they would say was, "Come on home."
Three hours later we pulled into the driveway. It seemed like the whole property was frozen, frozen like ice. There was the silence of death on everyone's face as I entered the front room.
Grandma? Grandpa? I quickly scanned the room for the children. Randy? Where was Randy?
No, it couldn't be Randy...he was over at Jay's house. They were going to band practice. I turned
to Doug, and asked through uncontrollable tears, "Is it Randy?" Doug quiveringly replied, "Yes." My heart felt a squeeze so tight I thought it would crush me, tears rolled down on to my arms.
Doug had had the car apart working on it. Leeanna needed lunch bags for the kids lunch the next day. Randy volunteered to ride his bike to the store before he left for Jay's. The boys were
seconds away from turning into the store parking lot when a drunk driver topped the hill at 75mph in a 25mph zone, hitting Randy and throwing him several feet into the air. Jay was only cut with glass but Randy was dead.
Randy was fifteen and the light of our lives. He always kept that extra sparkle of laughter and excitement hot. The funeral was amazing. People came from everywhere, many people we didn't know but they knew Randy. I felt an unbelievable pride in my son when a crippled little lady came to the door bringing her dish of food. She shared how much it meant to her to have Randy cut her yard every week and take out her trash. She told us when she tried to pay him he'd smile and say, "Oh, I don't take money for this kind of thing." Randy left us thousands of beautiful memories to laugh at and cherish.
There's no way to adequately explain the grief, the guilt, the questions, the what if's that torment your mind and heart in those early days. I finally got far enough along God helped me understand the other family was suffering as much as we were, plus they carried the burden of
having caused the death. The situation was even more complicated by the fact that the drunk driver was the father of one of Randy's best friend's.
We made the decision to locate the driver that had hit Randy. We went to visit their family.
The mental tragedy they were suffering was as intense as what was being suffered by our household. Changes were taking place in their family for the betterment of all. Perhaps with
the passing of time, the changing of habits, and the help of friends the Lord would be able to put their lives back together. The beginning miracle was the spirit of forgiveness that God placed in my heart. A spirit of unexplained peace engulfed me. Randy was safe in the arms of the Lord I knew his battle was over. It would take many miracles to keep this family from being totally destroyed. From that moment and with the passing of time, I realized that it is the experiences of life which brings you to maturity, not age.
Several years passed before our paths were to cross again. Miracles had indeed happened. A once drunken driver was now free from alcohol and busy involved in the church and serving the
Lord. The marriage once threatened to become a divorce statistic was firmly grounded on the Lord. The children had grown up with the love of both parents. For me, this brought an unbelievable sense of personal peace to my soul. A thankfulness for God's mercy welled up within my heart. All had not been lost.
Oh I had no idea... You are such a strong.. wonderful woman... Not only to have such forgiveness in your heart, but to also be able to overcome such loss. I'm glad for your faith in our everlasting wonderful amazing God... without Him we would be nothing... without love we would be nothing also... and you seem to have plenty of that Sister Patricia. And You are a good doctor... I know this from personal experience, and you care so much for people... you are loved and appreciated.
Patricia, this is heart-warming to the degree of my having to say I hope this renews someone's faith in God and hones his or her ability to forgive. What a testimony. You are a special family, indeed. Thanks for sharing. Thomas