Thanks to my friend Sarah for inspiring today's post with this post of hers.Twenty three years ago this month (I'm freaking out just writing that. Since when did I ever talk about twenty three years ago!) I was ten years old. I had been at the Dentist with my mom and sister and two little brothers (we were known as the four little kids). The two oldest boys, Jon and Adam and my oldest sister, Susan (known as the big kids) had stayed home doing some work around the house.
We drove into the carport and I hopped out of our huge, olive green station wagon. As everyone else piled out behind me, Su and Adam came rushing from around the side of the trailer. They both starting jabbering frantically in high pitched tones. Something had happened. Dad had taken Jon to the hospital. I didn't grasp what they were saying, I don't think, but as we followed them around the corner of the house we could see the blood dripped all over the path to the stairs leading up to the kitchen door. The kitchen floor was also covered in blood. There was no question where Jon had been.
Eventually some of these details became apparent to me (not sure if I'm getting these right, but here's what I remember). Dad and Jon had been working with the lawn mower. I think there had been something wrong and they were going to turn it over, or lift it. The blade hadn't stopped spinning and Jon had put his hand under the edge of one side to lift it. And, bye-bye finger tips.
Dad had rushed Jon into the house to care for him and asked Su to scour the yard for the rest of Jon's fingers and pick them up and bring them to him in a little towel. (Lucky Su.) He had to get that boy to the emergency room ASAP. Not perfectly clear on the details here, but I've certainly pictured poor Su tip-toeing around the back yard in search of the finger fragments. *shudder*
Once I had an idea of what had happened I remember running down the hallway to the avocado fixtured bathroom. I shut and locked the door and I started bawling. I kept thinking about how much I loved Jon. I cried and cried until I could cry no more and then I just stared in the mirror.
This was the same mirror that I had stood before many times to do Bloody Mary. You know, where you say Bloody Mary over and over and something is supposed to happen but never does? Even at that time I recognized both the morbid similarity and the incongruousness of what I'd used this mirror for before and what I was feeling now. After staring at my red puffy eyes for a minute I folded my arms and bowed my head and I spoke to Heavenly Father in the most sincere prayer of my life up until that point.
I'm not sure what I thought would happen or what exactly I prayed for, but praying helped and I knew everything would be okay.
It turns out only the very tips of the last three digits on his left hand had been cut and once they healed, the middle finger was the only one that you could even tell was missing a part (as they were unable to sew on what Su's search had produced).
Like most mothers, I have often contemplated how I would react if something drastically dangerous happened to one of my kids. Could I stay calm under pressure? Could I comfort the child and take care of the injury in an intelligent way, all while dealing with my own freaking out?
Like most mothers, we've had a few good spills. Nothing major, but some baaaad knee skinnings and that sort of thing. I used to be quite good. I could handle it very well. Lately, though? I'm not quite so good.
My stomach totally does a flop when I even think about a serious injury. David once knocked his front teeth pretty badly and they were all a little wiggly and bleeding. While I was cleaning him up and checking things out I just felt ILL. I was still good about the not freaking out and about the comforting etc. but my stomach did not handle it well, and it wasn't even an open wound!
I just have a weak stomach. I don't even handle the sight of blood well anymore which I NEVER thought I'd say. Aren't you supposed to get more used to stuff like this instead of less?
And it just makes me wonder how in the world my dad was feeling that day 23 years ago.