The past five months have been the longest and most draining five months of my life so far. I am sure most people already know what I am referring too simply by looking at my last name considering number of people who have reached out to me the past few months. In case you are out of the loop though, I will explain just what the past five months have looked like for me and my family.
On Tuesday, December 15 my mom and sister were on their way to Wichita when they were involved in a head-on collision. My sister was driving and somehow escaped with only a broken collarbone that healed in six weeks. My mom on the other hand was not so lucky. She was transported to the hospital with what news articles described as “life-threatening injuries” and would stay there for the next two weeks.
There are several moments from that day I will never forget. It was around 3:10 pm when my dad got a phone call from who I would later find out is my sister. I was home early from school this day because I had to go to choir in the morning, we were in a hybrid schedule, so I was able to be home before three o’clock that day. I remember coming out of my room and being able to hear my sister’s shaky voice through my dad’s phone. Right away I could tell something was wrong.
The next moment that has been engrained into my mind from that day was when I was left the task of telling my little sister, Ruth. My dad rushed to the hospital shortly after he got off the phone with my sister and so I was the adult left in the house. I remember shaking the entire five block drive over to the school and my mind was running trying to figure out what in the world I was going to tell my eleven-year-old sister. The worst part of the whole interaction was not being able to hold my screaming sister as I drove home.
Later that evening, I drove with my uncle to pick up my sister from the hospital so my dad could stay with my mom. After we got back into Hillsboro, I picked up my little sister and brother and the four of us headed back to our empty house. The rest of the night was a blur, but I do know that no one in our house slept more than three hours total.
There has been so much more that has happened in the past five months including additional hospital visits for my mom and a lot of sacrificing. I ended up spending over two months doing school virtually so I could be at home for my mom when my dad had to go back to work. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have done it any differently, but I ended up missing out on a lot of stuff most seniors get.
I also had a really hard time transitioning back into school. I missed out on a lot of social aspects of those few months and felt very isolated when I came back. People made new connections and new experiences while I was home taking care of my family and it was hard to come back to school and try to jump right back into friendships.
The only reason I have survived any part of the last five months though is because of the massive amounts of support and love my family and I have received from this community. From people buying us Christmas gifts to bringing food to providing a listening ear. It made a difference and made our healing process easier.
Each week things get a little lighter and easier. I have been able to be back in school full-time, my mom is working when she can, and things are slowing going back to “normal.” I am hopeful for the future.