Thursday, August 4, 2011

2000: the year from hell.

Last night I talked to my mom on the phone. The things we talked about are pretty personal but the advice she gave me was priceless. It got me thinking of how grateful I am for her and this experience of her came to mind and I knew I needed to write it down somewhere. I love you mom!

The year 2000 was a true challenge for my family. I am the youngest of 5. I love my big family and after that year we were all so much closer to each other and so much stronger as individuals! The year started off normal, work, school and the day to day life. I can't remember if it was March or April but one day my mom came home sick from work one day. I remember her walking through the door way before she normally did and I remember it vividly. She thought she had the flu, little did we know she would be in an emergency surgery just hours from then. Since I was only 13 I never truly understood what exactly happened with my mom, I now know but I get things mixed up so I'll just tell all the major issues. The night of her surgery something went terribly wrong and my Mother ended up in the ICU for a month. she was hooked up to 8 different IV's, a ventilator and a few other tubes and hoses. She was in an induced coma, her hair was falling out, and she was losing a lot of weight. She was helpless. Her lungs failed and her liver was failing. All we could do was sit there and watch! All except for me. I was in the 7th grade and I didn't understand what was going on other than my mom was in the hospital. I couldn't bring myself to go visit her when I was constantly overhearing my dad talk on the phone to my grandparents about her. She had Toxic Shock Syndrome and a handful of other illnesses. Things kept going from bad to worse! She was slowly slipping away from us and no one knew how to treat her. I remember the day the doctors told my dad she had about a 30% chance of living through the night and to prepare life without her. I've never seen my dad so crushed and heartbroken. The ward I was in and had been in since birth took care of my brother and me (since my 3 oldest siblings were away at college) they made and brought us meals on a daily basis and were very loving and supportive of my family. When my mom had been in the ICU for about 3 weeks my dad took my brother and I to church, but this Sunday was different. The Stake had prepared a Stake wide fast for my mom the following Wednesday. I remember the ward choir singing A Child's Prayer in sacrament and it brought my dad, brother and myself to tears! After sacrament the three of us went to see my mom. The first time I got enough courage to visit her at the hospital. When we got there my brother and I waited in the waiting room while my dad went in and talked with her for a minute alone. Its still weird to me that every nurse knew exactly who I was when I walked in the hospital doors. When my dad finally came out to get us he told me that my mom didn't want me to see her like that, and she didn't want me to go in. I was crushed! Every one of my family members had seen her but me and I literally thought I would never see her again! So we left and went home instead. That's when I realized just how serious her illness really was. That Wednesday we held the stake fast and everyone at school knew what was going on. I was sitting in my English class when the counselor called me into her office just so I could cry. I did, a lot! She was in my stake so she knew what was going on. The very next day my dad got a call saying that my mom had made incredible progress over night! The ventilator came out and she was awake. (this whole time she communicating by writing notes to my dad, even though she couldn't wake up. Weird right? And my dad still has every note she wrote and it brings me to tears every time I read them) She was still in horrible shape but things were looking up. She went from most likely passing away over night to being able to go home within a few days, over night! I finally got to see my mom (with her approval) and I remember every detail about turning the corner into her room and running to her bedside and just hugging her. We were both balling our eyes out and sat there forever! I never wanted to let her go again. That moment was perfect! About a week later my mom was released from the hospital but she still had months of work ahead of her. We had to rent a hospital bed for her to sleep in, oxygen and many other medical supplies. She couldn't walk very well and couldn't breathe on her own without a breathing tube in her nose. I hated seeing her like this but at least I could see her. My mom works at an awesome bank that kept her position available to her. She was finally able to go back to work and she still works there today. I love my mom more than anything, she is my best friend, my role model and I am so lucky to have her today. I don't think I could have made it to where I am today if it wasn't for my mom.

 My Mom is a walking miracle :)

*To my Mother* Mom you have been through so much and you are the strongest woman I've ever met. I look up to you in every way. You have always been there to talk to, to keep me on the straight and narrow, and to make sure what I was doing was smart. You were there to help with my homework whenever I needed the help, even though you were in school and had homework of your own. You are so spiritual and I hope to be even just a fraction of the kind of mother to Kyson as you are to me. I love you mom! You're my best friend!

June 6, 2000. My sister and I were invited to a wedding up in Salt Lake and we were driving there, just the two of us. We were in my sisters little Mazda and hadn't even made it to Cedar City when her radiator blew and we got stuck at a rest stop. My oldest brother worked for an auto parts store at the time and was able to come pick us up and tow us home. We called my mom up and she told us we could take her car. So we went to the bank she worked at and got the keys from her. She looked at my sister and said, "take care of my baby" (referring to me) and then we left. I still remember the outfit I wore and what my sister wore that day. I remember the bag of Doritos and the drinks in the cup holders. I even remember the song we were listening to. I remember passing a green Subara on the way up, the kind of pass where you're just inching along and I made an awkward eye contact with the driver of that car. We were going about 80 mph on the freeway, we were almost to Fillmore when my sister looked down for a split second to move her drink. She looked up just as the road curved, just in time to swerve a guard rail, except she swerved too hard and over corrected and we slammed into the guard rail on the other side of the road, flipped up onto the guard rail then rolled down the freeway. I remember every detail about the wreck we were just in whereas my sister doesn't remember a thing.  As we were rolling I saw sparks everywhere and when we finally came to a stop (upside down) I had it in my mind that the car was on fire so I climbed out of my smashed window as fast as I could. We stopped in the middle of the road and I didn't have any shoes on. I ran barefoot to the drivers side to try and open my sisters door to get her out. But it was too smashed and it wouldn't open so I ran back around and climbed back in through my window to try and pull her out my way but the car had caved in between us and there was no room for her to get out. As I climbed back out of the car a semi truck was coming around the curve and nearly ran into us but luck was on our side and it missed us. I was screaming for help this entire time. Remember that green Subaru? Well it was the first car to stop to help us. Can you believe it was a car with a nurse, an EMT and an EMT in training in it? I can't believe it either! They grabbed me and put me in the backseat of their car where I realized that I was bleeding everywhere! But my sister was still in the upside down car. The guy ripped up an old shirt and dumped out the ice from his drink and put it on my left knee. My knee was torn up! Finally my sister was able to crawl into the back seat and get out the back window. But something was wrong, she was bleeding way more than I was and it was coming from her head. She was scalped!! When the police got there they took one look at the car and thought we were dead. But we weren't! We rode in an ambulance to the Fillmore hospital where I received 16 stitches and I was able to call my mom and tell them what happened. Ok I didn't make the call, the nurse did but I was able to talk to my mom. They drove to Fillmore but my sister was taken to the St George Hospital via ambulance with my mom. She was rushed into plastic surgery on her head! I rode back with my brothers and my dad. I couldn't sleep that night. I kept reliving that car accident over and over in my head. The next day my sister got to come home. We stayed in the same bed side by side for about a week. We got phone calls and gifts from our nurses from the Fillmore hospital, they are so kind there! I still have that little stuffed duck they gave me.

the car

The rest of the year every one in my family went through a traumatic experience. My dad, brother, and my other sister were all in separate car accidents and my other brother had a lot of medical issues that year (he's been diabetic since he was 7). My family went through a lot of cars that year!! The Lord truly tested my families Faith that year and I'd like to think that we passed his test. There's nothing stronger than the power of prayer and fasting. Each of our testimonies grew and we had a news flash as to what is truly important in our lives. Family is the greatest gift of all! Never take them for granted and always tell the people you love just how much you love them because it could all be taken away from you in a second! I can't even imagine what my Dad went through that year watching his family fall apart one by one, especially now that I have my own family. I am very grateful for the people in my life and for the prayers and support from people I don't even know. It impacted my family in a way that no one will ever know!!

 My family!


  1. Oh my gosh. I teared up reading this post. It's so incredibly sad, and yet so incredibly amazing at the same time. Miracles DO happen and I am so happy you all came out okay. Thank the Lord that He is so gracious and wonderful. What a truly beautiful and inspiring post!

  2. Wow Denise! That was a crazy, scary year! You have such a loving, amazing, and strong family! You truly are blessed!

    P.s- I emailed you! :-)

    Have a great weekend!

  3. I'm so glad you commented on my blog, Denise. I now have the chance to read up on who you are and I'm so honored to read this post about this year in your life.

    So much has happened to you and your family; life threw so much at all of you...but God's love pulled you all through these incredible times. He really did test your faith and you are SUCH a strong person now. I can just tell. God bless. <3

    P.S. - I'm so happy to meet you. :)

  4. Your story is truly inspiring. This post brought tears to my eyes and big lump in my throat, I'm so glad your mam got better, and you and the rest of your family of course. It's great to see you are all happy and healthy now, you seem to have such an incrible family!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog too, and the little story in your sidebar about you and Dave is so lovely too :)

    Alice x

  5. wow... your story is both heartbreaking and heart-warming, i read this in tears but your story truly went straight to my heart and made me realize a lot and how fragile life is and can be taking away in any second, thanks for sharing! and ur family is truly blessed and that makes my heart smile knowing that yall have grown from it and realized what family and life means! :)

  6. Woah. This is crazy. I love miracles! Praise God!


Thanks for making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!! :)