we had a bit of excitement late Sunday afternoon while camping. and try as I might, I can't help but think of the post I wrote last week pertaining to my ho-hum life, where I openly expressed my desire for a little action around here. what I didn't foresee though, was how traumatic this "action" would turn out to be, and it has left me a bit shaken, to say the least.
before you start worrying, let me first preface this by saying that everyone is fine and safe and sound. perhaps a bit emotionally drained and exhausted, but otherwise life couldn't be better.
and while I don't want to bore you with every last nitty-gritty detail, because truth is, I would just as soon forget about it all. but in a way, writing down my thoughts helps me cope. so instead, I'll just give a brief synapses of what happened.
we were hiking with a couple other families along a creek. a few of the older kids had ran ahead, while the adults were bringing up the rear, helping the younger ones. I didn't see it happen, but apparently Hannah lost her footing while on a rock ledge (later she told me that she had felt queasy and light-headed and may have possibly fainted), and came crashing down onto two huge logs, before splashing into a 10-foot deep pool in the creek. the impact of hitting the logs knocked her unconscious, leaving her floating face down in the water. all I recall is hearing this 'thud' and someone screaming, "Hannah!" and before I could even react, Jake had jumped in and somehow managed to flip her over. her eyes were rolled back and she was convulsing. a second later the guys were there to help pull her to safety.
I'm guessing she was out for a couple minutes, although it felt like an eternity, before she came to. she was crying, her breaths coming in ragged gasps. her mouth was bleeding, and she said her butt and head hurt really bad. not knowing the extent of her head injury-- could there be bleeding? or a fracture?-- we called 911, and she was then air lifted to the medical center here in Flagstaff. watching my daughter fly away in that helicopter, not knowing what lie in store, was the most traumatic experience I've ever been through as a parent. for a minute, I just stood there sobbing, my shoulders heaving as I gasped in deep breaths. even though I knew she was in good hands, I still felt so helpless.
while Gary headed back to break down camp and pack up the rest of the kids, I was able to get a ride back to Flagstaff from a friend who has a cabin near Christopher Creek (we were camping just south of Christopher Creek, off the Mogollan Rim.) while the idle chit-chat was a welcomed distraction, nevertheless, it felt like the longest ride of my life. the image of Hannah's limp, lifeless body had been seared into my mind, and each time I thought about it, a new wave of tears flooded my cheeks. there was nothing I could do, except pray.
by the time I arrived at the hospital (two and a half hours later), Hannah had already received a battery of tests: CT scan, chest x-ray (in case she had aspirated any creek water), urine (to check for blood), all of which were normal, thank goodness. Hannah was awake, alert, and appeared to be in good spirits. "I'm a little sore," she told me, a slight smile on her face. a wave of relief so intense, words can't even describe, immediately washed over me. after being diagnosed with a minor concussion, she was discharged later that night.
as the incident replays over and over in my head, I can't help but think of all the what ifs. given the circumstances, it could have been a lot worse. as a parent, we strive to keep our kids safe and out of harm's way, but accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. it was apparent God was watching over us then, as he always does. and amidst all the emotional turmoil, knowing that brings me comfort. it obviously wasn't her time to go.
while the rawness of yesterday's reality will eventually fade, masking the uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability that has gripped me, and allowing myself to sink back into the mundane rhythms of daily life. but in the meantime, I will kiss more, hug tighter, and hold longer.
because well, you just never know.
counting my blessings today, all nine of them.