This is the first of 2 parts, therefore, I post a day early.
October 20, 2003 - My beloved husband almost dies.
This is a beautiful, though hectic, time of year on the farm. So much to do and constantly looking at the clouds for the next rain storm or the first snow. The soybean and corn harvest are in full swing. Such was the case four years ago.
It was a Tuesday. In the morning, I had taken our (then) four children across the street to the pumpkin patch for an educational demonstration. I was also expecting our fifth child in a matter of 5 weeks.
The outing was fun, but made us all ready for a nap. Other than Michael, the rest of us went upstairs for a rest. I remember being on my bed doing some reading before drifting off when I heard my name being called from downstairs. It was our book-keeper, Harold (who is also my father-in-law's cousin). Figuring he needed my signature for something or to see if all the farm bills had made it to the barn, I moseyed down the stairs.
Then, he said the words that no farm wife wants to hear - "There's been an accident and they've called the ambulance."
If you know anything about my husband and his family, they don't call ambulances. They'll drive themselves to a hospital if they have to. So, I immediately knew it was bad. Harold didn't know what it was - he just got the call to get me. I figured I'd see blood, I just "knew" Eric had lost an arm or leg. Why else would there be an ambulance?
Just a few months before, my cousin had suddenly lost her husband, also a farmer. I thought of her. I remember looking at the fall clouds in the otherwise blue sky. "So, this is the kind of day on which I lose my husband."
We got to the field. There were people, ambulances, and rescue equipment everywhere. I can't remember who all was there, at first, I just remember wondering what had happened and where my husband was.
Harold asked me if I wanted to go to Eric. I told him, "You go and come let me know." I just had to be somewhat prepared for what I was going to see. I also didn't want to find my husband dead.
Harold soon came back saying that Eric was asking for me. I quickly followed Harold and found my dear Eric on a stretcher with an oxygen mask. There was no blood. They were carrying him to the ambulance. He opened his eyes and tried to say something. They kept moving him. I do remember him raising his hand and telling them to wait. But, they didn't. All I could think was that this would be the last time I would be able to talk with Eric and they weren't letting me! They put him in the back of the ambulance and closed the door.
I remember Eric's dad looking in the back window of the ambulance and the police leading him away. The police officer came over to me saying that they would let me in when they stabilized him. Some one led me back to Harold's truck and sat me in the passenger seat. Eric's dad was crying and told me to pray. From time to time someone would come to see how I was - Eric's aunt, a friend...
Eventually, I was told we were waiting for Mercy Flight. They cleared the field across the street for the helicopter.
As I waited, I knew I could lose my husband, my best friend, my children's daddy. The little boy I was about to deliver in a month would never know this wonderful man. I prayed. I asked the Lord to spare the love of my life. I NEEDED him. Not only for his help and support - but I needed his love and his friendship. We'd been together for thirteen years. I barely knew life without Eric.
However, the Lord gave me the grace to say, "If you must take him, Lord, I know You will be with me and give me the grace to go on."
The helicopter landed. I remember seeing the paramedics laughing at something as they crossed the street. "How dare they laugh when my husband is most likely dying?"
We didn't wait for them to load Eric on the helicopter. Harold would drive me to the hospital, but, first, I had to make sure someone would be at the house for my children. I knew I had to pull myself together for Michael. He asked what happened to daddy. "Oh, he may have broken a rib. He's going to get to take a ride in a helicopter. Mommy's going to go to the hospital to be with him. You be a good boy, ok?" He was 6 years old.
I'll tell you exactly what had caused the accident and what resulted afterwards tomorrow. As you've guessed, the Lord spared my husband.
I must tell you that one of my biggest fears used to be losing my darling Eric. I would fret and beg God not to take him from me. Several months after Eric's accident, I recalled an incident that happened exactly a year before. I attended a funeral of a man who died too young. As I watched his wife with her four children, I had, what I thought was, a premonition. I, too, had four children at that time, though younger. I felt God was telling me that I would be walking in that woman's shoes one day. Instead of panicking and begging God for it not to be, I just said, "Ok, Lord. I know You'll give me the grace you've given to this dear woman. If you want Eric, so be it. He is Yours." That was October 22 or 23, 2002. I often wonder what would have happened if I had kicked against the Lord at that time. Would He have spared Eric? Or, did He give me back my husband because I had given my husband back to Him?
I don't know. But, I'm so grateful to the Lord for allowing me to have my best friend with me today.
*Read Part 2*