Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thankful for my shoes

I received the phone call on a Thursday evening.

One year and one week ago.

"Anne (my sister-in-law) was in an accident. She fell down the ravine."

I lost my breath upon hearing those very first words. I barraged the caller with questions.

"Is she okay? What happens next? What did the doctors say?"

At that moment, we had no answers. We knew that she was removed from the river and airlifted to the nearest trauma center, Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. We were told to wait. Wait for the next phone call.

My husband was several states away on a business trip. We tried desperately to reach him, to inform him of his sister's catastrophe. I was home alone with a two-year-old. She was tugging on my arm, begging for snack, asking for a movie. She wanted to play. All I could do was sit in shock, willing the phone to ring with good news. I had to talk to someone. I called my parents, desperately trying to hold back tears, and passed along the shocking news.

The next call finally came, and it was not what I wanted to hear. My sister-in-law suffered a severe spinal cord injury and would face the rest of her life paralyzed from the chest down.

My husband was finally on an airplane, headed home. We made plans for an immediate drive to Asheville early the next morning. We made arrangements for my parents to meet us and help with Amelia. On the way, we would stop by the mountain house to gather clothes and toiletries. The hospital stay was going to be a long one.

One glimpse inside the house and the tears stung my eyes. I willed the tears not to fall. Hairbrushes and toothbrushes were placed haphazardly on the bathroom counter. Breakfast dishes sat in the sink with crumbs and traces of syrup. Suitcases were open, a pile of worn clothes sat on the floor. The house told the story of a family who woke up on a regular summer day and rushed out the door for some mountain fun. It shared a tale of happiness, of ignorance, of complete oblivion as to what would come next.

It takes a lot to make me cry. I am, in fact, a master at holding back my emotions. But the shoes...

The shoes broke me. There, in the sunroom, were Anne's cute white flip-flops. Sassy shoes with sparkles on the straps. Summertime shoes. Shoes that showed off happy painted toenails.

Anne will never walk on those shoes again.

 - - - -
I would give anything for this post to be fiction. But it is entirely, heartbreakingly true. 2010 was a painfully difficult year for our entire family. My sweet sister-in-law still struggles daily to learn how to care for herself. My selfless mother-in-law works herself to exhaustion each day, taking care of her eldest daughter's needs. We thought paralysis meant simply not walking, but it is so much more than that. A year has passed and we feel lost in a government system that spends and spends and spends, yet cannot help us. We fight back the urge to ask God why He has forsaken us. We continue to pray and cling to hope that answers will come.

The one thing my sister-in-law will NEVER lose is her family. For the rest of our days, we will be fighting by her side.


This week's prompt: Shoes


Carrie said...Best Blogger Tips

This breaks my heart. I feel so sad for your sister-in-law and for your family. The struggles you all must deal with.

The image of the shoes is so emotional. Such a simple item, but so much meaning and power behind them.

I wish your SIL all the best on her continuing recovery

Cheryl said...Best Blogger Tips

Wow. What a heartbreaking thing. And those shoes..gave me goosebumps.

I am so sorry for what has happened to your SIL, but am grateful she has such a loving family to support her.

Galit Breen said...Best Blogger Tips

This is so very heart breaking. I'm so sorry that it happened.

How lucky that your family came together with so much love and help.

Vikki @ She Has Cute Shoes! said...Best Blogger Tips

I am sad for your family, and I am sad for Anne that her life has changed so dramatically.

I read this quote from Christi Armstrong the other day in which she says ‘God loves me enough to not always “come to my rescue” in my trials, but to walk me through them, so that He can build in me the strength that I need to fulfil the plan He has for me.’

And while the practical reality of battling the Government systems ( which I suspect is pretty much as appalling in your country as it is in mine ) I hope that somehow all of you will be able to see that God hasn't forsaken you and there is hope and purpose for all of you.

Thank you for writing and sharing this. Anne, your family and yourself have courage beyond measure. said...Best Blogger Tips

You did such a good job of setting the scene so we could share in your emotion. This broke my heart. I'm so glad Anne has a wonderful family to support her.

Jen said...Best Blogger Tips

Oh my sad. Your SIL is so lucky to have a wonderful family that she can depend on.

Valerie said...Best Blogger Tips

I am so sorry for you and your family, and I wish this was only fiction too. You, as a family are so very blessed to have one another, it is what will help you get through this.

This piece of writing really broke my heart-but it is good writing. Emotional, honest-and it made me care. Blessings:)

Mrs. Jen B said...Best Blogger Tips

I'm so sorry that your family has been facing this. Your sister-in-law is indeed lucky to have so much support and love around her.

My husband and I live with and care for my father-in-law after his brain aneurysm and while things could be much worse, because he's not in dire straights we can get no assistance, i.e. having someone come to sit with him during the day/make sure he gets his medication, so we can both work - even though he paid into a long-term care plan for years. He's injured, but not badly enough to qualify for help. So my husband quit his job to be there full-time. There's always a loophole - so I can only imagine what your family is dealing with.

Elaine A. said...Best Blogger Tips

Oh goodness, the shoes would have done it to me too. I'm so sorry for what happened to your SIL. She's blessed to have you all taking care of her. said...Best Blogger Tips

I'm so, so sorry for your family. What a horrible tragedy. I can't even imagine.

I'm sending positive thoughts and hugs your family's way.

Renee said...Best Blogger Tips

I can only send prayers and hugs to you SIL and your family.

Liz said...Best Blogger Tips

This gave me chills! I'm so very, very sorry for her accident!

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