It was the phone call that every parent fears and it happened to me last Friday night. The boys were at friends' homes having sleepovers and I ended up in front of the computer in my office when suddenly my cell phone rang.
"Elijah has been in a four-wheeler accident. He ran into a moving vehicle."
Thankfully, I was just a couple of miles away. When I arrived at the scene, Elijah was laying on his back in a field across from his friends' home. He had just gotten on the four-wheeler and made the mistake of going out into the road to turn around. It was just below a blind hill and he did not see the car coming. After striking the car, the four-wheeler slammed into a bank on the other side of the road. Elijah was ejected and flew 10 to 15 feet into the air before landing in that field.
For me, it was a double nightmare. As I knelt beside Elijah, my mind instantly wandered back to May 7, 1981. It was on that morning, 28 years ago, that my dad and my older brother and I found my brother, Ronnie, dead from a car wreck. It was around 5:00 a.m. Dad had gone to work and found Ronnie's car on its top just five-tenths of a mile from our home. It was foggy. He felt inside the car but Ronnie wasn't there. He had no flashlight, so he scrambled back to our home and awoke us. I have never forgotten the sound of him pounding on the front door and hearing him shout out the horrific news that morning. We hurriedly drove back to the scene and by that time, the fog had lifted and daylight had arrived. We found Ronnie laying some 40 yards from where his car had landed.
The healing part of that tragedy was long and slow for my family. It did not help that I had to drive past that field a few times a day, always looking there - at the spot where we found him. We moved from that house about nine years later and that helped. I guess over the years I was finally able to find a place to put that memory, although I can't help but recall it from time to time.
For me, last Friday night was one of those times because you see the field where Elijah lay was the same field where we found my brother dead 28 years ago. Elijah lay less than 50 feet from the spot where my brother lay dead. I can't even begin to describe the flood of emotions that came upon me. It was the nightmare of all nightmares and I am still shaking from it. I just praise the Lord that Elijah is alive. Where we live, there is no road and no neighbors. I think Eliah did what he did because he is not use to having to deal with vehicles passing in front of our home.
At the hospital, for over three hours, Elijah lay on that straight board with the neck and head braces on and I was given another reminder as to just how precious life is. It was the same reminder I received 28 years ago...not to take life for granted and to live every moment, every hour, every day to the fullest, and to love, and to hopefully be loved in return.