The ice has melted. I was right. It was warmer yesterday. Not enough to melt all of the snow, but enough to melt the ice. Now, the streets and sidewalks around our home feel safe again. The ice is gone, leaving patches of frosted white powder nearly everywhere we look.
My husband took me to a movie this afternoon, trying to get my mind off the sadness of not having my mother with me this Christmas. We went to see The Fighter, a terrific true-story about two boxing brothers from Boston. The actor, Christian Bale's performance was mesmerizing. Surely, he'll be nominated for all of the upcoming awards this season. We sat together all snuggled blissfully in the very back row, eating warm buttered popcorn and sharing a Coke. We felt like two teenagers newly in love. My mind was not on anything but the very present. How nice!
On the way home, our car braked at a stop sign where a deer ran across the road. I started crying. "What's wrong?" my husband asked. "The deer is safe. We weren't going to hit it." he added.
"No, it's not the deer." I answered, blowing my nose. "I want to call my mom, to tell her about the movie. But, I know that I can't." Something as little as telling my mother about a movie had taken on a whole new meaning.
At that very second my husband's cell phone rang. "Hello," he said, picking it up. "Hello, hello?" No one answered him. I'm being totally honest. No one was on the other end of the phone line. How could that be? At the very instant I thought of calling my mother, our own phone rang. I know I'm not the first person to have something like this happen.........something perhaps from 'above' or 'beyond.' It's a coincidence, I know. Still............
After dinner tonight we settled in to watch television. I don't even remember what was on. At 7:45 our daughter-in-law, Nichole called. "Have you heard from Jayson, " she asked, her voice shaking. My stomach dropped. My son, Jayson, has insulin dependant diabetes. The fact that Nichole was calling to see if we had heard from him was an instant alarm bell. No, we had not not heard from him.
Nichole went on to tell us that Jayson had called her while driving home from work to let her know that he was only about five minutes away from their apartment. That was thirty minutes before. Jayson was still not home and he was not picking up his cell phone. I told her to call the police to explain the situation and to stay right where she was. We were on our way.
On the ride to Jay & Nichole's apartment, we couldn't stop praying. There was no doubt that our son, Jayson had been in a car accident. His many years of living with diabetes left him prone to low blood sugar episodes, although never while driving a car. We had even purchased and trained a diabetic alert dog for him earlier in the year (a future blog) which has been a life saver. We knew his dog was with him so we prayed for him, too. The dog was his life-line. "Please God, let them be okay," we said in unison, over an over. We prayed for our son, we prayed for any others that might have been in the accident with him, and we prayed for our son's diabetic alert dog.
Nichole called back to tell us that the police had called her. She had heard sirens nearby. The police told her that Jayson was in an accident at a VERY busy intersection a block away from their apartment. The police told her the accident was 'diabetic-related,' but that Jayson was 'okay.' Nichole was crying. She didn't know anything more, but she was on her way to the accident site. We told her we were on our way too, and would meet her there shortly.
Minutes later we approached the accident's intersection. Red and yellow lights revolved above police cars and an ambulance. Traffic was stopped while a tall man in a police uniform directed traffic with his flashlight. Our hearts raced. We couldn't drive up to the intersection so we turned our car to go around the block. There we parked our car and raced on foot through the stopped traffic nearly the accident site. My body was running on pure adrenalin. I peered inside my son's mangled car. The front end looked like an accordion. Two more damaged cars (not nearly as bad) were stopped in front of his. The intersection's light was red.
Not finding our son, we raced to the ambulance and peered inside the back windows. Nichole was with him. He was lying on a stretcher; an I.V. protruding from his left arm. He was alive. Alert and talking. Looking good, even. We went inside to see him and speak to the attending paramedics. My whole body was shaking. "Your son had his own Christmas miracle tonight," one attendant said. "He had his seat belt on and his airbag went off to protect him. His blood sugar was, 33." Thirty-three was so very low. "He wasn't conscious when we pulled him from the car. He came around when we started the glucose into his vein. His blood sugar is 220: a little high but he's okay now," the paramedic told me.
My dog?" Jayson wondered aloud. "Where's my dog?" The EMT told us these were the first words out of his mouth as soon as he became conscious. He was worried (rightly so) about his beloved dog. The paramedics said they didn't even know a dog was in the car. He's black (a British Lab) so they couldn't see him all scrunched up in the back seat near the window. He had wet himself and was scared to death. The policeman had gently coached him from the car and walked him safely to his own squad car; putting him inside where he'd be warm and safe. Thank God. Another Christmas miracle.We learned that there were indeed, two other cars in the accident. Jayson had passed out due to unexplained low blood sugar and rear-ended a car, who rear-ended another car. They were both stopped at the intersection's red light. We had no way of knowing how fast Jayson's car had been going. But we could see that was a major impact. His car was irreparable; the other two amazingly not so bad. But most importantly, no one in the other cars were hurt. No one even went to a hospital. Thank God. Thank God the two cars in front of Jayson were stopped at the red light. I hate to think of what might have happened had my son's car crossed through the intersection. More Christmas miracles.
Other than being sore, Jayson felt pretty good. He wanted to get his dog and go home. While his car was being towed I signed some paperwork so Gary could get Jayson's dog. He checked him over and led him to Nichole's car. Soon, Jayson was released to Nichole. We piled into her car and drove towards their apartment. Jayson started crying; he felt so guilty. So guilty of something he had no control over. He was always so very careful, especially before driving. He didn't deserve to go through this. "I just wish I could be normal," he said. In nearly 19 years I had rarely heard him cry or say such a thing. Nichole comforted him while I led his dog into their apartment. I called his doctor (his insulin pump's numbers would have to be adjusted) while Nichole began giving him food to keep his blood sugar up.
Our drive home was loud with silence. Each of our minds wrapped in their own myriad of 'what ifs'. I though of how bad the accident was and of how much worse it could have been. I thought of how my son's life (and all of the others) had been spared. I didn't cry until I crawled into bed. The tears began to flow uncontrollably. Yet, I was reminded of what the paramedic said to me earlier in the night. "Your son had his own Christmas miracle tonight." Yes he did. Thank you God. We all did.
Before long my mind wandered to the evening of my mother's passing. Soon afterward, I prayed to her: asking Mother to be my son's guardian angel from heaven. I prayed for her to watch over him and protect him. Jayson had always been her favorite grandchild, partly because of the many challenges he faced in life. That night, I prayed for her to hear me. Tonight, I knew she had.
Yes, there were many Christmas miracles tonight. I couldn't help but think that my mother had been a part of them in some small way. Perhaps in a very big way. My mother and God, of course.
Thank you Mom.