We spend a fun-filled weekend in St. Paul, MN spending time with old friends and siblings, painting backsplashes and swimming at our hotel. And after the 4 hour drive home, we were approaching our house when we saw someone’s hazzard lights blinking in the ditch. It was dark, and but we could tell the vehicle was upside down. My first instinct was that, since the hazards were on, it was probably an old accident, the car was probably empty, and they just hadn’t gotten around to towing it yet. We got out and went up to the car, calling out “is anyone there? can you here me?” No answer. Up close, we could see that the vehicle was so destroyed, we couldn’t tell if it was a small car or an SUV. And without a flashlight, we couldn’t see inside the vehicle.
Emergency vehicles arrived… about 15 of them. It was a sight. I fought the urge to step back and take a collective picture of all the madness and red/blue lights. It just felt inappropriate.
We stood and watched in shock as they tore apart the car piece by piece, the road completely blocked by firetrucks, ambulances and police cars. A woman had pulled up, frantic. She kept saying, “I just saw my daughter 20 minutes ago. It’s got to be her. We said we’d be right behind her.” She continued to ask various firefighters… “just tell me, is she alive?” And no one would answer her.
After some time, they pulled a 20-something woman from the vehicle, and loaded her up into the ambulance. Her friend, who was in the car with her mother leaned over to me and said, “she has a 3-year-old little girl.”
Personnel had set up a lighted landing strip for a helicopter to land in the cornfield nearby, to airlift her to the closest hospital. But that wouldn’t be necessary. A few minutes after being loaded in the ambulance, with the sound of the helicopter approaching in the distance, someone came out and approached the mother… “she’s dead.”
Life can end just like that. There’s no reason, no purpose. It just happens. We may never know what caused the accident. There were no other cars involved, no skid marks on the road. No explanation. And all a quarter mile from our house. We will drive by that location everyday, knowing someone’s life ended there. And many other lives were shattered, including her little 3-year-old.
The whole time we were standing there, I could feel the girls in my tummy kicking. Life is so precious. And can end so abruptly.