Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pictures on the Wall

3 years ago today...

School was already out, spring soccer had just ended and our bags were packed. We loaded up the car and made our way to the airport. We stopped at KFC just before getting on the freeway and ran into a little bit of traffic, but nothing too bad. I parked the car. I checked and double checked that we hadn't left anything, and then finally, we got onto the shuttle that would take us to the terminal for our flight to Oahu. We stepped off of the shuttle onto the side walk. I walked in front just a Mama with her four little ducks in tow. 

I remember one of the girls calling out to me, "Mom, wait." I remember turning around. One of them was rummaging through her bag, and then she looked up, a smile across her face. Whatever she thought she left, I assumed she found. So I turned and began to walk. 

That was the last thing I remember, her smile, before I heard "the explosion" and ducked and got mad like a kid who had just gotten scared. Before the dust settled and I saw a car in the wall behind me. Before I saw her lying on the ground in front of me. Before I thought, "I think she's dead"

Sooo many things happened all at once, it's hard for me to put into words. We were going to miss our flight (yes, that actually crossed my mind), I couldn't find my phone, an off duty EMT rushed over to help me, did anyone call 911? A pastor sat and prayed with the other kids. I found my phone. I called their Dad. I don't even know what I said. Then we were on the ambulance. God sent us so many angels that day and God carried us through what could have been such a tragedy and blessed us with a miracle. She's alive, doing well and I thank God every day for that... 

My hands are trembling and tears fall as I write this and I hesitate to say any more. 

Because it's not just my story to tell, it belongs to my kids as well. My number one priority has always been to protect them and a part of me feels like I failed to do that, that day. I know that's the PTSD talking. I know there was nothing I could have done to change what happened. 

So I'll protect them now by not going into the specifics of the accident or her injuries and giving them the opportunity to share when and if they ever want to.

Yet, recently, I've felt so compelled to talk about my journey, and my struggle with anxiety and PTSD. It's been a long, windy road filled with tears, fears and lots of sleepless nights.  It changed me as a mother, as a woman and as a flight attendant. It changed me in the smallest ways and in some pretty big ways too.  I want to be brave and share how the accident and PTSD affected my relationships, friendships even how I do my job.

Next week we are finally taking our Hawaiian vacation. It'll be the kids first time back at this specific airport. I remember my first time back and it wasn't pretty. I know it's on their minds too, and I have anxiety for what memories it may bring up. 

One of my girls came up to me last week, though, and said "Hey mom is it okay if we get to the airport early? I think I just want to stand there and take a couple of minutes".

I just thought, "How brave is she?!?!"  And I started thinking about how brave they all had to be that day and how that day changed them too. But the change I see in my kids has been inspiring. I know everything happens for a reason and while we may never know the reason, I know that God has great things in store for each one of my children.

"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny" 
~ C.S Lewis

There will always be a before and after the accident picture, of how are lives would have been or how things could be different. But I chose NOT to focus on the before, not even the after. At the end of the day those are just pictures on the wall. I choose to focus on today!

I want to share my story and my struggles in hopes it may help others but more importantly to show my kids I can be brave too, one blog at a time... 

And who knows maybe my kids will finally make their mom's blog and social media debut on Airport codes: HNL (vacation edition)

But for now...


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