Divorced nearly 30 years ago, Susan shares how a horrific accident reminded a divorced couple of the one thing they could always agree on.
He opened his eyes and saw the stars. The roof of his Prius was gone. His hand dangled from the end of his arm.
Benjamin had safely driven west over a thousand miles en route from Los Angeles when the teen driver heading the opposite direction crossed over the median of I-80 and hit his car head on.
The miracles were many and immediate. Being a half mile from the exit to Kearney, Nebraska where the sign read “Hospital.” Being life-flighted to the trauma center at the hospital in his hometown where he was born. Being alive.
A shattered leg on one side. A crushed arm on the other. Multiple surgeries with pins and plates holding the promise to put the pieces back together again. Pain filled nights and pain filled days. Benjamin sought and found the stoicism of his grandparents, the spirituality he’d been developing since he was 17, and an embrace of support coming everywhere from first grade friends to business buddies in Brooklyn.
In the weeks that followed, Ben’s father and I coordinated schedules for everything from acupuncture to prescription pickups. We exchanged updates on everything from Ben’s sleep to his sweetheart coming to visit.
We waited in our masks, a row of empty chairs separating us, each anxious for the surgeon to appear and say the three words. “It went well.”
One offered to get the other coffee. One made the other a cup of tea.
One drove to the tow lot to comb through the shattered bits of metal and plastic that once was a car containing Ben’s belongings hoping to find any small object of value and meaning. The other walked in the snowy ditches near mile marker 271, hoping for the same.
One took pictures of the x-rays while the other took notes.
One gave meds in the middle of the night and changed dressings on the cut that ran through the tiger tattoo on Ben’s forearm.
One helped carry him up a flight of 24 stairs in his wheelchair.
Each gave repeated thanks. “You did a great job,” we told each other.
Most of us believe we would “Do anything” for our children. We hope it won’t be helping them learn how to move their fingers or how to put their body and life back together again.
Life can change in an instant. That call from the emergency room can come at any hour. When you have the good fortune of forgiveness from the heartbreak and hurt of divorce, you have the gift of focusing on what matters most when it does.
Some miracles are immediate. Others arrive in time. I’m grateful for them all.