1:14 or 15 AM, one year later

The ringing phone woke me, but my B, my wife, answered it. It was Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

It was the phone call every parent fears and it was 1:15 AM.

I climbed out of bed and started getting dressed listening carefully as my wife listened and responded. She was serious locked in and her look and tone gave it away. The phone call was short, but it seemed like an eternity.

She hung up and shared details of the call. It was William our son, he’d been in an accident and it was serious.

We dressed and left for the hospital.

A lot of things went William’s and our way that night and in the days since. That was a year ago tonight. William’s accident happened around 11:09 to before 11:17. The accident report has the emergency crew arriving on scene at 11:17 PM.

We called William’s girlfriend on our way to the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital the fire chief for the fire department William had begun working for was waiting to greet us and share details of William’s accident. He asked us if there was anything, he, or the fire department, could do for us before the doctor came in to talk with us. It was a single vehicle crash William and the motorcycle had left the roadway and struck two mailboxes before coming to a stop.

When the doctor came into talk to us, the fire chief gave us his card and left.

It was serious, but William was stable. He had sustained a serious head injury even with wearing a helmet. He had a serious scrape on his left knee but no broken bones. Beth asked a few questions and the doctor shared it was early and William was being transferred to a Level 1 trauma hospital in Chicago.

We were able to see William briefly before he was transported. He was sedated and it was severely injured, but he was stable. Some things in life can never be unseen. At some point William’s girlfriend arrived and she was able to see him with us.

A lot of things went William’s way that night and, in the days, weeks, and months since.

William and I on a walk- September 2019

His accident was a year ago this evening and he is doing well and continuing his healing.

William spent a month in the hospital and a rehabilitation hospital. He relearned how to walk and talk and lot of other things we take for granted. After his release from the hospital, he then spent another three months in extensive out-patient rehabilitation.

William worked hard. We prayed and cried. He grumbled, he wanted to be exited early, but he stayed the course. In late December he was exited from out-patient rehabilitation services and cleared to return to normal activities.

A lot of things went William’s way that night and, in the days, weeks, and months since.

A motorist saw the accident and called 911 immediately. William’s accident was less than a mile from the responding fire department and three miles from the hospital. William was able to get the critical care he needed quickly. We live in an area with amazing medical services and we live less than fifteen minutes from the first hospital he was transported to that morning.

A lot of things went William’s way that night and, in the days, weeks, and months since.

This past Tuesday night as I lay in bed reading before falling asleep, I realized the significance of the day – 52 weeks ago that night. I typed the text to the right.

Many things went our way, too. Friends and colleagues reached out and supported us in ways I can never repay. I still have colleagues who ask how William is doing. A student reached out the night after the accident and lifted me up before she and her family brought me to tears on my first day back to school.

A lot of things went our way and we were carried by the prayers and well wishes of many. Too many to count and we will be eternally grateful.

I blogged less and when I did write, I was cryptic.

learning to walk again at the Ability Lab

My first post after the accident was W-squared – sunrise (September 4, 2020) and I took the photo on the way to the hospital that early Wednesday morning. If it hadn’t been for William’s accident, I would have missed it.

W-squared – story (September 18, 2020) was posted a week after I cut my hair and got a US Marine Corps hair cut for William. The Sunday before I got my haircut, I asked where he got his hair cut and went to his barber to get my haircut. The barber collected and bagged the clippings for me, and William was incredibly happy when I showed up with a new haircut and a bag of hair clippings.

Yellow it’s a new year (January 1, 2020) was written to share the story, but two more stories intervened before I was able to finish my story – my stepmother and COVID19.

Yellow is the color of courage and energy. It was also my mother’s favorite color. Yellow was the color of the basket that student made for me and gave me on my first day back at school. Yellow was the color of the dog collar for Fern. Yellow was the color of the floor I usually parked on when I visited William at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in downtown Chicago. Yellow was the color of the daffodils that were given to my stepmother by her friend Carol. W-squared – Yellow, again. Yellow was the color of the administration gift to teachers at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

This afternoon, I got another haircut.

the latest cut…..

It’s been a year since that night at 1:15 AM and lot of things have gone our way. And I couldn’t have written a better script for an amazing story of recovery and healing. It’s William’s story. He lived it, I was a bystander and his biggest supporter. Well his mom (and my wife) is his biggest supporter but I am a close second.

A lot of things went our way and continue to do so. I am filled with gratitude to those who prayed for William, me, and my family in our time of need. It’s been a challenging year or two and I am afraid we have another year of challenge ahead of us, but I’ll continue to be hopeful and believe in abundance.

Tomorrow is my third day of the new school year for me. A year ago, I was out of school for obvious reasons, but I must ‘show up’ and be present tomorrow, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days COUNT, one day at a time, because that’s the way it’s done.

What story have you been waiting or yearning to tell?

10 thoughts on “1:14 or 15 AM, one year later

  1. For the new school season all the best, and for your son best wishes for a continuing bettering of his situation.
    And sorry for clicking send too quickly, as well as for sharing your difficult times with us. Highly appreciated.

  2. Clay, I feel like having read this post several times and I surely also thought having replied to it, BUT – I tend to think lots and long on certain posts and I might have imagined having written to you. And then, I was now for a micro holiday in an Alpine Châlet with such meagre internet that I managed just about to read it all again but never had the ‘ompf’ of the www to reply….
    Still now I’m very, very touched and also amazed by these happenings. It shows me that having a strong faith, a great prayer connection to God, determination, oodles of love and hard work can and occasionally do lead to surprising results. I’m truly glad for your son and your family that things have gone in such a good direction.
    And it’s always helpful to know that we are – after all our sorrows, pains and tribulations – still blessed and fortunate, and if only in comparison to all those who have an even heavier load to carry. I’m just off the phone (WhatsApp, thankfully) with a friend I made in France but who is back in Africa now, destitute, ill, who has lost all and everything, has lost 35kg and who doesn’t know where her next food will come from. She needs to go back to France, start anew and finds work once more but she hasn’t a button to call her own. WE can’t visit F either as our government has (rightly so) put people returning to CH on a 14day confinement. Hero Husband’s employer has forbidden their employees to travel there. We however haven’t lost a single member of our family and friends to C19, we have a roof over our head, an income and live in a great (little) country. This all doesn’t make us better people but we can appreciate good news as well as terrible ones and may be able to help here or there.

  3. I remember feeling your heartache when you blogged about his accident. I am not a parent but I have a spouse who’s been taken to the ER a coupe of times and both times that phone call stops your heart and lungs for a few seconds.

    Having a positive attitude is one of the strongest medicines in the world. It helped me a lot when I was treating with the chemotherapy. It helped when my husband was hospitalized. Faith is the best medicine. God is indeed good.

    I’m so glad to hear this wonderful report on your son. I hope he continues to heal and thrive with the love and support of his family. Thanks for sharing this very special moment.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. Patricia, many things went in our favor that night and the days after. He is still healing and growing – there is something to say for the resilience of the human body and that 21-22 year old male brains are still developing. We were blessed to have so many folks carrying us in our time of need. It seems as though it were a million years ago and the just the other day all at the same time. Thank you for stopping in I am wishing you and Corey positive vibes. Peace.

    1. Thank you for stopping in school’s back in session and there is more to do with teaching virtually than I realized…. time easily gets away. We were at the lake last weekend to put away summer and prepare for fall and winter. It was good to have him with us – he was a huge help and our neighbors were happy to see him. have a wonderful weekend and peace to you and your family.

    1. I apologize for the delay in responding, school has started and it’s a bit hectic. Last weekend were at the lake putting things away for the summer, last summer our neighbors did it for us, this year William was bale to join us and do a lot of the work. It was great having him back up at the lake with us. Our hearts were full. As you know there are years or spells in our lives that grind on us and we have to count on others to lift us up and carry us. I felt that last year. Thank you for stopping in. Peace.

Thanks for visiting MtDC. How are YOU Making YOUR Days Count?