The day that changed so many things in my life forever. I fumbled and cursed the super power. It was a Saturday. My husband left to work (those one off times) and I was at home watching TV. My mom rang me. Her voice trembled; My mom is a very strong person. It takes a lot to shake her up. Even during the worst of times, she always stays courageous.
I heard her cry. I said "ma , what happened, are you ok ?" . After a while what she told me put me in an absolute state of shock.
My sister, BIL and the kids (my niece and nephew) had met with a road accident overseas and they were being taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Not even knowing how to react, I said to her " Are they ok ma, are they ok" and I would have probably asked her that few more times"
She said" I don't know, daddy is trying for flight tickets so we can go"
The next few hours were the time in my life that I would never want again or even wish it for my enemy. It was traumatic and horrible. Being so far away from them and hearing everything just over the phone made it so so so difficult.
My sister and her family were travelling in a SUV to attend a friend's wedding .A chauffeur was driving the car and my brother in law was in the front seat. My 10 year old niece and my sister were sitting in the middle row seat .And my nephew was sitting in the rear seat of the car.
It was a hot afternoon and the kids had dozed off. My sister had just got off the phone after speaking to my mom. Few seconds later disaster struck.
The car had collided with a bus and was dragged to the middle of the road .Within seconds everything changed forever.
Hearing from my sister later, she told me that she didn't remember anything but screaming when the car had encountered the bus and had passed out. When she gained consciousness, she was in the ambulance with her husband and daughter beside her in pain. She was frantically searching for my nephew and he was in the front seat, near the ambulance driver. He didn't cry, he told her in a very bold voice " ma don't worry about me ,I am fine. We are going fast to the hospital for you. Please don't cry ma"
While all this was happening, hundreds of kms away, my parents had travelled immediately to see them. My aunt, a doctor who was close to the accident spot rushed to see them.
My dad spoke to me next. He told me they were going to be fine. All I could think of was to be right there next to them when they were going through the most difficult time of their life.
My brother in law suffered a pelvic fracture. My sister had major injuries to her face ,my niece suffered a broken jaw and by God's grace, since my nephew was sitting at the rear of the car, he escaped without any injury.
After few days, when I went in person to see them, I was scared to enter the hospital to see my sister .She has always been there with me during my worst and this was the first time ever I had to handle a bad situation alone. It was hard. I walked into the hospital room with beeping monitors everywhere. My sister was in the bed and to see her beautiful face like that ,I just don't even want to remember it now. My hands trembled ,my eyes swelled up and I hugged her.
They all have recovered now but the trauma and the pain of that accident is deeply etched in all our hearts. They stayed together as a family and went through it. My sister still faces issues with her facial nerves and my niece still makes regular visits to the dentist. But the lesson we learnt is, everything can change in a minute and no matter what life throws you into, stay strong, stay together as a family and never give up.
Today, while any of us in the family drive a car, my nephew ensures we wear our seat belts. The strength and courage that small boy showed in that situation makes me so proud of him. My niece has become a stronger woman. She often tells me, if we can survive this, we can survive anything.
After a year or so, when we were all travelling in the car, I suddenly saw my nephew close his eye and pray. When I asked him why all of a sudden ,he said to me " I just saw an ambulance go by. I want whoever is in there to be safe and back with their family just like us". Ever since, whenever anyone in my family see or hear an ambulance, we say a little prayer because we know they need it.
It's going to be 3 years soon, but even now, as I write this article, tears roll down. It's not tears of sadness or sorrow but tears of gratitude. Thank you God for giving me back my sister and her family. Without her I cannot imagine my life .She is my strength, my guide, my role model and my best friend.
The reason I share this is, we might not realise the value of few seconds on the road. It is expensive. Lets wear seat belts, avoid cell phones, texting and follow speed limits. Being careful on the road can save every family from going through this pain. After all nobody deserves losing a loved one.
By divine grace, I have not had to witness or rather blessed with a memory weak enough to forget horrendous events which have unfolded in front of my very eyes. Yet every time a speeding ambulance/fire engine screams by, my wife and I silently utter a prayer for the affected ones.