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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Day sadness.....

It's been a pretty sad week here at the McKinley household (at least for me. I think my kids have been oblivious to all of the drama).

On Saturday, which was Valentine's Day, it was snowing so hard and I remember looking out the window and thinking, "I'm so glad I'm not going out in this". A few hours later I got a call from Heather, one of my sisters, telling me that my other sister had been in an accident on her way home from Logan visiting a friend. Heather had called to ask her about something and when she answered the phone she was sobbing and rambling on. From what Heather could understand she was okay but it was a bad accident and she hit a patch of ice and her car slid into 2 men who were on the side of the road outside of their cars. Heather said that she was beside herself and not making sense but that her husband was on his way up there to be with her and see what he could do. I was grateful that my sister was okay, but sick for the 2 men that had been hit as well as for their families. All day long we waited for any word of what had happened to them. Finally that night I got ahold of Heather and she told me that one of the men was going to be okay, but the other man had swelling on his brain and that they didn't think he was going to make it. I hung up the phone and burst into tears. I couldn't help but think of that poor man's family and what they must be going through. I know firsthand what it's like to lose a family member and the pain and anguish that you feel. All of the why's and the range of emotions from anger to grief and everything else in between. When my mom died it was so hard to realize that people could still be happy and oblivious to the pain that I was feeling when I would see people going about their lives driving, being happy, having fun and living their life. I felt like the whole world needed to stop and mourn with me that this amazing human being had just been taken from me. The only thing that got me through it was the gospel of Jesus Christ, and knowing that I would see my wonderful mother again someday. And I know that if it was that hard to lose a mother, imagine how hard it would be to lose a son who is so young, and who has so much life to live. Words just can't express how devastating that would be.

On Sunday when my sister called the hospital to find out how he was doing she was told that he had died. We were all devastated. It's so interesting because I never knew him, but I feel so connected to him somehow. I've cried a lot this week over him and prayed so hard that his family would be able to find peace and be able to forgive my sister for the part that she played in his death. Wherever I went I would see people and think, "I wonder if they knew him. I wonder if they're mourning right now." We checked the papers and articles online to see if we could find out his name. A few days later she forwarded me his obituary. I googled his name and saw his facebook page. He was really an amazing young man. He was a returned missionary and was going to BYU Idaho and wanted to be a doctor. He has such a cute family too.

I kept wondering as well why this had to happen to my sweet sister? Why did she have to be at that exact spot at that moment? Why did those 2 men have to stand outside of their cars when the roads were slippery? There were so many accidents on that stretch of road that day, that a car even slid into the ambulance as they were driving the man to the hospital. Why, why, why? Why her? She's probably the safest driver I know. She was going slowly and praying the whole way home that she'd make it home safely in the bad weather conditions. She said that she was in the far left lane (the other cars were parked on the far right shoulder) and as she came over the overpass her car hit a patch of ice and she had absolutely no control of her car. Unfortunately, some of the comments on some online articles about the crash made her out to be a speed demon who has no compassion for anyone. I wanted to post a reply, but felt like it wasn't my place. People will think what they want regardless of whatever I would post. She's probably the sweetest, kindest, most loving person I know and she has been grieving so much. She's the person who all of the children adore, who loves to help the elderly, and when she's having problems, she says, "what can I do to help you?" She's also incredibly spiritual and very close to the spirit. She can't stand people to have bad feelings for each other. She found out that I was sick on that Valentine's day, and on her way home from the hospital that night she called me to see how I was doing because she was worried about me. Who else does that after just being through a traumatic event?

My sister really wanted to go the funeral but didn't want to cause anyone pain by showing up, so she went late and sat in the mother's room. She taped it and we both listened to it last night as we both cried and talked about what an awesome person he is. We talked about life and death and the things that we've learned and how we've grown stronger and gained stronger testimonies of the Savior after our mom died. We talked about what his family must be feeling and how we grieve for them and hope that they can find peace and comfort someday.

The one thing that brings me comfort is a quote by Joseph F. Smith that says, "No righteous man will ever be taken before his time". As my mom was dealing with her breast cancer she was given a blessing by our Stake President and in it he said something to the effect that the Lord knows her days and they will not be numbered less.

Life is ironic sometimes. When my sister was 3 years old and I was 8, she was hit by a truck as she was crossing a small dirt road in front of our church. We were looking at the new horse that had just been born. She was running back to church to tell our mom about it when I turned to look at her and saw her bouncing under a truck that was screeching to a stop. I ran over to her and started crying as I saw her little lifeless body lying there still with blood coming out of her eye. I was in total shock as I stood there. Someone from our ward grabbed me and took me into the church so I didn't have to watch what was going on. We waited in agony as my parents drove her to the hospital which was 20 minutes away. When we got word the next day that she was going to pull through and be okay it was such a relief. The doctors said that it was a miracle that she survived. She had a concussion and broken bones and a scar on her eye that I can see to this day. We never heard from the man that hit her but I've often wondered what he's doing and if he blames himself for what happened that day. After this week my sister has thought about that man as well. She wants to write him a letter and let him know that she forgives him and that she hopes he's happy.

So, why would the Lord allow an amazing young man who still had so much life ahead of him to be taken, and my sweet sister to have to live with that the rest of her life? I can't wait to get to the other side and find out the answers to all of life's questions someday, but until then I know I just have to have faith in Heavenly Father and know that he has a plan for all things, as much as we don't understand all of why's sometimes.

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