Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of our sweet daughter Martha.
We had been trying hard to have a baby and had already suffered a miscarriage the year before so we were being careful of many things.
We were traveling to Denver for our last morning doing some church volunteer work. My wife was 35 weeks pregnant and it was time to end that calling and finally take up the callings of Mother and Father.
Then everything changed forever.
A drunk driver jumped the median, flipped over and hit us head-on.
I woke up with a cool breeze on my face and the sun shining full on my face. We were facing East on Northbound i-25. The crinkled remains of our car pinning us to our seats. I was looking down, my hands were broken, My first thought was, "This is bad." Then I gave the shortest and sincerest prayer I have ever given. "Dear Father, Please send help."
Then I heard an off duty State Trooper calling in the accident on his radio. He had been behind the semi that was protecting us from other traffic.. Detailing two dead on the scene. I was alive but that left only two others that I knew about: me, my wife and the other driver. Then my wife woke up screaming in pain. We were all still alive. I shouted to the Trooper that my wife was 35 weeks pregnant. That got us extra help from the nearest two towns and a Life-flight Helicopter.
Even as I could hear him calling that in concerned citizens rallied around us but weren't sure what to do, my old Boy Scout First Aid training kicked in: breathing: OK, Bleeding: Some but not too bad, Shock: Probable, so I had them bring us blankets to keep us warm, all the windows had been shattered and it was still below freezing.
Not long later a bunch of fire trucks showed up from two different towns. They first had to stabilize the car then they cut the A and B columns and peeled back the roof. They used hydraulic rams to push the front of the car away from our broken legs. It had taken them 35 minutes to extract us from the time of the call.
They took my wife away via the helicopter. I was in better shape and they took me by ambulance. I noticed while they were cutting that he was looking rather green. I asked him if he was okay. It turned out he was a new firefighter and this was his first major incident.
In the Emergency Room, while they tended my injuries, I asked for updates on my wife and baby. They delivered Martha via Emergency C-Section, she was over 6 pounds, and then the Orthopedists got to work on my wife. As the ER team worked on me I noticed some odd things. One doctor complained that is portable heart scanner was broken, and to get him another one. That happened a number of times, they took a second set of X-rays after calling in a bunch of doctors to look at the first set. The same thing happened with the CT scanner.
Within hours my parents, my wife's mother, my sister, the Stake President, the Temple President, our Bishop, and my parents Bishop where by our side. Our names were on the prayer rolls of a dozen temples and thousands of people were praying for us. For which we were so grateful. We were eyebrow deep in miracles.
The next day they moved Martha to the regular nursery as she seemed to be fine. But it would not last before the week was out she started having seizures, she was bleeding into her brain.
I was authorized to give her a Name and a Blessing, a task I did not feel equal to as I was still in the ICU, with 11 fractures and pumped full of pain killers, but the Lord made up my lack and a marvelous blessing was given.
Just being near her was a wonderful experience, she had a great spirit, it reminded me of those times when a General Authority would come into a room. LIke a warm light had been turned on just as they came in. And all the nurses loved her.
But still Martha worsened. And after 9 days she died. Her body had failed but her spirit had not.
She is a part of our family, she has a stocking for Christmas and pictures of her are around the house like any other child. We still confuse our two-year-olds name with hers. I am sure she is very busy in the Spirit World but we are doing what we can to be with her and God again some day.
Martha is dead but she is not lost, the worst part of the experience was the grief literature they kept sending us after we left the hospital, it is filled with the coping of people who believe that they have no hope of ever seeing their loved ones again. One of our most powerful messages is that families are forever.
A couple of months ago a less-active sister in the ward learned that her unborn child had cancer. I am some other Elders gave her a blessing and I was able to help her work through the pain of the moment and to get ready for the coming times. She child was born and while the doctors were ready to operate immediately, they decided to wait and soon it became apparent that the tumor was going away and now he is fine.
Do I know why this happened to us? No, but it doesn't matter. These are life-changing events and all I can do is trust in the Lord and know he is God. So much good has come of this I am not complaining.