Facebook provides “On this Day” option. It shows you things that have happened in the past years. I enjoy looking back and seeing things that might not have been easily remembered.
Today, this picture showed up on my Facebook “On this Day.”
This picture was actually taken in August of 2009. It was the first out of state vacation Steve and I had taken without children. We flew to Colorado and enjoyed a fun filled week just the two of us.
We finished out the week and flew from Denver into Dallas on our way home to the Tampa Airport. From there we would travel home to Bradenton.
As we gathered our belongings from the airplane in Dallas to change planes, my phone rang. I had my hands full and we had a very short layover, I did not recognize the phone number so I didn’t answer it.
As we continued to try and get off the plane, the phone call I didn’t answer left a voicemail. Something in my gut told me to listen to it.
I pressed the voicemail button.
“Hello Mrs. Kern, my name is ??? and I am the chaplain at Bayfront Medical Center.”
I hung up……
I held my breath
This is the phone call a parent never wants to receive.
Steve is standing, waiting for me to meet him across from where we exited the plane. We were going to grab something to eat and quickly make it to our next flight.
Our eyes meet as I called my voicemail again.
“Hello Mrs. Kern, my name is ??? and I am the chaplain at Bayfront Medical Center. We have your daughter here in the ER Trauma Unit and we need for you to call us back as soon as you possibly can.”
I can’t even speak.
The airport is so loud.
Steve looks at me and tries to get me to tell him what in the world is wrong.
One because the airport is so loud and Two because I am freaking out.
I tell him i just received a call from and why would a Chaplain call if she was still alive?
I just knew she was dead.
We are in Dallas Texas and a complete stranger is going to tell me that my child is dead.
I dialed back the number.
I asked to be connected to Chaplain whatever his name was.
Courtney has been in a serious car accident and she is in serious condition. The trauma Dr’s are working on her and we need to come to the hospital right now.
No Mr. Chaplain whatever your name is, we are in Dallas International Airport and getting ready to get on a plane for the next two plus hours. You have got to tell us more than that.
“Get here as soon as you can.”
8 years later and my heart is thumping as I remember the details.
I hang up,
Share the information with Steve and immediately go into crazy mode.
I have 30 minutes to get people moving.
Who do I call?
I call Kyle. Kyle is her closest family member and he needs to be with her. Now.
Kyle was soon to be 20 years old. He would need to drive across the Skyway Bridge alone and be with his critically ill sister.
Kyle was supposed to pick us up at Tampa Airport but I would figure that out later.
I call our friend who used to be our Music Pastor. He was no longer a Minister but he would still have his credentials and would be able to get back to be with her.
I call my oldest friend Michele. She was the closest thing to a mother, Courtney had. Michele answers and she is in Atlanta. She will be there as soon as possible.
I don’t know how she did it, only angels could have flew that fast, but Michele picked us up at the Tampa Airport.
The flight was the longest and shortest of any flight I have ever experienced. It was nighttime. I prayed and cried. Cried and prayed. Steve had to explain to people that we were ok but not ok.
We arrived at the hospital to family and friends.
Courtney had many fractures in her left side as a car t-boned her. These fractures included a fractured ankle, a broken clavicle that required surgery, broken ribs, collapsed lung and mini brain bleeds. Her vision was serverely compromised and she still deals with double vision at times. She had three different chest tubes because her lung would not stay inflated. She (we) spent two weeks at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg and 10 days in a Rehab facility.
She was 23 years old in this picture and it was taken soon after she came home from rehab.
She was such a strong and resilient woman then and now look at her.
I am so thankful to God today, this week, last month and 7 years ago when my family trajectory could have been completely changed.
As we have traveled through Hurricaine Irma this week I felt as if a happy ending story might brighten up some spirits.
Have a blessed and a wonderful Sunday friends.