Today, as I walked out the door from work for the day, Will called. We hardly ever actually call each other, so I broke my own “don’t answer the phone when you’re with someone” rule and answered. Plus, I never (purposefully) ignore that boy.
“Hey. I’m okay, but I’ve just been in a car accident. Can you pick up Katherine?”
“Absolutely. Will they let me have her? I’m not on her list.”
“Yeah. You can show them where I called or something.”
“Well, let me go while Lindsay’s still there. You’re sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, it’s no big deal. I just got rear-ended. And I’m bleeding from somewhere, not sure where, but I’m good.”
“Okay, well let me go find Lindsay.”
“Okay. Thank you!”
I hung up and went running into Lindsay’s office. I told her what had happened and why I was there. She called Will to hear him say that I could have Katherine. He assured her that he was fine and that I was getting Katherine. I wasn’t even sure which classroom was Katherine’s. Thank the Lord for Lindsay Lee! She walked with me to get Katherine and explained that I was picking her up. Katherine’s face lit up, she took me by the hand, and we went up the hill, got her stuff and got in my car. I called Moma to give her the heads up, but had to get off the phone with her to answer Will again.
“Hey, have I already talked to you today?”
“If you mean, do I have Katherine? Then yes.”
“You have Katherine?”
“Yes, and we’re headed to my house. Where are you?”
“Sitting in the back of an ambulance right now.”
“What? Where? Do we need to come to you?”
“No, no. Go on to your house. I’ll see y’all in a little bit.”
I rounded the curve to get on 95 and could feel my heart drop. What if he’s not okay? I loved that I had the cutest kid ever talking up a storm in my back seat, I hated the feeling I had about her dad right now.
Twenty minutes later, after getting home and trying to explain it all to Moma—my phone rang again. Will was calling again and I asked God to please let him be okay while I answered the phone.
“Hey, have I already talked to you?”
And we proceeded to have the exact same conversation as the last call, and I could feel my heart drop even more. I didn’t like this at all. Especially since, this time, he was in the Emergency Room. I was starting to feel really torn between wanting to go and be with him and staying right where I was with Katherine.
About an hour or so later, Natalie texted me from class to check out WRAL. I logged on and found a wreck on 64 involving two SUVs and tractor trailers was the Top Story. I wanted to throw up. There’s no way it wasn’t the same one. I debated whether to call him or not until I just couldn’t take it anymore. I left little Katherine, my mini-me, in the kitchen with the family and called him.
“Hey. How are you feeling?” I swallowed hard.
“I’m okay. Do you have Katherine?”
I swallowed hard again. “Yes, I have Katherine. But do I need to come to you?”
“I don’t know. I can’t remember anything at all and it’s really starting to piss me off.”
“I’m sure.” I took a deep breath.
“But you have Katherine, good.”
I went to ask him what I could do and if he would be able to drive himself home when I realized our call had been dropped. So I went back to debating: do I go to the hospital? Would he want me there or would my being there just add to his being pissed off? He called me first in a “crisis”—what’s that supposed to mean? I wanted to see for myself first that Will was okay.
It wasn’t too long after arriving to the Emergency Room before I looked up and saw Will’s friend Danny walking towards us. We met each other at the sliding glass doors and he said that Will was okay. He asked if I wanted to go see him.
“Can I? Is that okay?”
“Yeah. Just know that he’s having a hard time remembering anything, so you may have to repeat yourself a lot.”
He put his pass on me and told me to go on back. I made my way down the hall, but found the preacher was with him, so I waited in the hall. Besides, I hate hospitals! The preacher spotted me and invited me to come on into the room. We introduced ourselves to each other, and I took the seat by Will’s bed. I noticed a lot of blood on his pillow and then the white board caught my eye.
Katherine is fine! She’s with Stephanie Brown. 🙂
Will was sitting up, holding his cell phone and drinking a cup of water. He looked up at me and said, “I called you today?” “You did. A couple of times.” “I see that now.” He looked up at the preacher and me and looked so perplexed when he said gently, “So, what happened??” The preacher told (what we think was) the story again.
I could tell Will was trying so hard to piece it all together. For the first time ever, I was seeing him not have it together. He started to look around the room, “I wish I had something to make notes on”. The preacher had business cards and Will started jotting stuff on the back of one. Guess the only two things he wanted to remember was:
1) Katherine’s at Stephanie Brown’s.
2) It’s okay to take Tylenol.
We learned that the hospital was discharging Will with the understanding he wouldn’t stay alone. The preacher took him by the restroom while I went back towards the lobby. I came up on Danny just before having to face everyone else and he gave me the game plan. I was to take Will to his house, where he would later meet us and stay with Will for the night. I would get Katherine’s stuff and she would stay with me. I wondered who would make that announcement to those in the lobby.
We walked out to find the crowd of those waiting to hear something had grown. Amongst the many faces of Will’s family, I spotted Lindsay. She walked up to me, gave me the biggest hug ever, and reminded me that I had this totally under control. “Katherine is exactly where she needs to be right now and you will be just what she needs tonight. You’ve got this!” Thank You, Lord for a friend’s face amongst the others.
I walked into our house to find the cutest kid ever, in the rocking chair with my mom, reading books. How much of today’s story do I actually tell her? Before I even went there with her—I went to the bathroom, emailed the boss, and texted Kara. As usual, I got nothing but encouragement from Kara; just what I needed.
I was absolutely emotionally exhausted, but still needed to put the cute kid to bed. It was too late to start with a bath, so we opted for pajamas. She continued to sit with her “Ms. Meyum” and I began to explain that Daddy wasn’t feeling very well and how she would have a sleep-over with us girls. She liked it, I went with it. While she continued reading with Moma, my emotions caught up with me and I sat across the room, in my little sister’s lap and just cried. Eventually, we put her to bed and I was right behind her. I woke up around 11:15 to the sound of Will calling me.
We talked for a few minutes and I was incredibly thankful that it was a relatively “normal” conversation; I thought it was a good sign as far as how he was doing. We hung up and I tried to go to sleep; I mainly tossed and turned all night. I found myself lying in bed, just praying.
I thanked God that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I begged Him for a quick recovery. Thanked Him for allowing me to be the one that Will called, the one Katherine’s staying with tonight. I asked Him to please use this to grow mine and Will’s friendship. I even remember asking God to make whatever sleep I did get—feel like I’d slept for hours.
Katherine and I would eventually end up in the rocking chair in the living room, falling asleep together as we held onto each other and cried ourselves back to sleep. I would go on two hours of sleep the next day but still felt well-rested. (God totally honored that plea!) I would sit at my desk the next day, trying work, but most of my mental energy would be spent trying to define all of the feelings that I had felt over the past 24 hours. My heart would wrestle and struggle and somehow survive all that it went through.