I begin this post feeling conflicted. Part of me is ready and wants to share. At the same time, I feel afraid and want to keep my current experiences tucked safely away until I have a chance to sort and learn from them. Typically when I share here, it’s after a lot of deliberate thought and not usually in real-time. It’s hard to share the parts of life I feel uncertain about.
That creates a big brick wall type problem. If I don’t share the vulnerable parts of life as they happen, then I can’t authentically connect in this space. I want to be here to connect, inspire, strengthen, and heal.
Today I need connection, inspiration, strength, and healing. I need to tell our story even though words don’t seem to capture the feelings of our hearts. I need to trust.
Three weeks ago while vacationing in Mexico, my daughter was severely injured in an accident. We were staying at a beautiful beach condo with friends. The exterior wall of each room was glass so that nothing obstructed the gorgeous view.
Mexico was new for us. We have a lot of friends who go each year and my kids would plead to join the fun, but I’ve felt too unsure so we typically head to Southern California. This year, we were persuaded by great friends and very excited kids to join the fun. I felt fine about going and after surviving my nerves on the drive to Puerto Penasco, we enjoyed a great first day. We went to lunch at a fabulous chicken place, played in the water, watched kids go down the water slide, and tried tacos and fruit smoothies from beach vendors. I was surprised at how safe I felt and how much I was able to relax.
It was low tide and everyone wanted to head out to the sand. I was sitting by the pool reading while the kids ran to grab goggles from the room. With great anticipation, they raced back outside to see who would claim the one set of snorkeling gear we brought.
About this time, I heard a loud POP followed by a crash. As I turned around, I saw my son Dal looking at me with a shocked expression and then I heard my Ru start to scream. She had run straight through the glass wall of the condo. As I scooped her out of the glass, I saw her arm. It was gashed…deep. As I turned to get a towel, I saw more gashes. Each time I shifted my gaze, there was a new injury to try and comprehend. Two of my boys were right there by my side as we began to apply pressure to her extremities. It was chaotic, and I kept thinking, “I can’t call 911. Who do I call?” In those early moments, certainty was gone and life as we knew it became very unclear.
People were yelling and running to help. “My friend is a firefighter. I’m a nurse. We have a doctor in our group. Do you need him?” One by one trained medical professionals came on the scene to relieve my boys and begin saving my daughter.
As I turned to really look at her face, I was met with beauty. Her face was untouched by the falling glass.
Fear was coursing through my body and all I could think was, “I am sitting on a patio in Mexico. My little girl is bleeding. She might not come home with us. How are we going to make it out of this?”
In an instant, the weight of this reality settled on my heart and I knew there was only one choice. This might be my last chance to express my love to Ru in this earthly life. I placed my face close to hers and poured every bit of love into her that I could.
We sang together a song from the toddler years, “I love you. I love you. I think you’re rather cute….I love you. I love you. I LOVE YOU! I love you in the morning, and in the afternoon. I love you in the evening, and underneath the mooooon. I love you!” Over and over again we sang these words until she began to fade a little. She was close to losing consciousness.
It was then that I saw Jared for the first time. He had arrived on the scene and had jumped in to help gather towels and support those who where caring for Ruthie. When we saw each other, we knew we needed a miracle. He came over to us and offered a prayer. He blessed Ru that her blood would clot. That’s the only thing I remember him saying.
Ruthie and I focused in on one another again. We sang more songs and repeated affirmations. I tried to calm her heart and fill it with strength. “I am strong. My body is strong. It’s doing exactly what it needs to do. I am beautiful. I am loved.” She began to stabilize as we continued repeating these words.
Two doctors were on the scene caring for her. A nurse brought bandages. Another nurse and firefighter were also helping. Her brothers and a friend gathered to pray off to the side of the crowd. The Red Cross arrived with more supplies. We had a miracle in the works and we had the chance to consider the next steps.
They were able to bandage her for transport and we had some decisions to make. Quite obviously, the Mexican authorities wanted her to get treatment at the Red Cross clinic in town and were not willing to release her to us.
We knew that her injuries were far greater than a clinic could handle, and we didn’t know what would happen once pressure was removed from her wounds. We made the decision to try and get her across the border for further care. We gathered together, shared hugs, loaded Ru into our car, left our two boys with friends, and followed our police escort out of town.
The drive to the border was a tender time for the three of us. Ru was calm and I watched her grow up before my eyes as she processed what was happening. “Mom, Michael doesn’t know. He’s in Lake Powell. He loves me. He needs to know because I need him to pray for me.” Michael, her oldest brother, was with a friend’s family and out of cell coverage. The best we could do was leave a message.
Her faith was simple. She needed prayers of those who loved her. In between calls/texts to coordinate medical care, we contacted a few family members and asked them to spread the word. Ruthie was asking for their prayers. She would identify someone who loved her and we would send a note to let him or her know.
We began to put the pieces of her accident together and shared the different miracles we each witnessed or experienced. This was a process that continued in the quiet moments all throughout the night and the days to come.
One of the greatest miracles was how little blood she lost in relation to the depths and extent of her wounds. We all knew it. We knew we were being watched over.
The police escort took us to the edge of town and then we were on our own. We made it to the border safely and crossed without incident. Ruthie’s pain was under control. Another miracle. The most she said was, “It is really hurting. Do we have an iPad or could we turn on a movie? I think that will help distract me.”
Once across the border we were able to meet up with an ambulance. Her pain was increasing and we were finally able to get some much needed relief. We were so relieved to be within reach of care. The ambulance ride was long but calm. We finally arrived at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and began what would be a very long night.