I wrote this a couple of days ago, right after my family and I were at the scene of a fatal accident.
A couple of weeks ago, I could have said “I’ve never seen or helped at a fatal car accident.” I can’t say that anymore.
Now I can say that I’ve watched a car surrounded by flames, knowing that there was a man still trapped inside.
Mom, Dad and I just helped the girl who was in the other car… I’m feeling really thankful for life right now. pic.twitter.com/Gm5LwtsmQT
— Brett Jonas (@BookSquirt) October 20, 2013
Now I can say that I’ve prayed more than ever before, praying that they could get the driver out in time.
The car that burned – source
Now I can say that I’ve sobbed with a girl when she asked and was told the driver of the other car didn’t make it.
Natalie’s car – source
I wish I couldn’t say any of those things.
I wish that they’d been able to get Dennis Godsave out of that car. I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was. I’m glad my Dad and the other men at the scene were able to get Drew and his Grandma out. The police (and therefore the news) didn’t know this, because they weren’t there yet, but they had to cut Drew out of his seatbelt. If someone hadn’t had a pocket knife, they wouldn’t have been able to get him out.
I wish I hadn’t seen and heard how devastated Natalie was. As someone who’s learning to drive, this scared me. A lot. I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was. I’m glad that I could hold her up when the shock started to take over and she couldn’t hold herself up. I’m glad my Mom could talk to her, and tell her that it wasn’t her fault. Natalie kept saying “It’s my fault, it’s my fault” and Mom told her that it wasn’t. That when a car swerves in front of you, your natural instinct is to swerve away and that’s what Natalie did.
I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was.
I’ll never know why God made this happen. Maybe I needed to see it, maybe God just needed Mom and Dad to be there to help. I don’t know, and I won’t. But what I do know is that I was there for a reason.
I’m still coming to terms with what happened. I didn’t really sleep that night, or the next. I cried almost non-stop that night, and for most of the next day. And I wasn’t the only one – some of my siblings were almost as bad as I was. They hadn’t even gotten out of the car, and they were haunted by what they’d seen from a distance.
Watching a car burn, knowing that someone was still inside, that was one of the worst moments of my life. When the men who were trying to get him out had to give up, that was a close second. Holding Natalie (and crying with her) when she learned that he didn’t make it, and hearing her sob that it was her fault, that was a close third. And meeting his family? Well, I’m not exactly sure where that ranks in the list. It was hard though.
Drew’s parents came by our house two days after the accident, and it was really good. Seeing them, being able to cry with them for a bit, it was so healing. Hearing that Drew hadn’t even spent a night in the hospital was wonderful, and they might bring him out to come see us. We’ve since met several more members of the family, and they’re all wonderful people.
It’s going to be hard, but I’m starting to be at peace. Writing about it always helps, and I’ve been talking to people about it and that’s helped a lot.
Everyone has been so supportive and I’m truly grateful for all of the texts, emails, and phone calls we’ve gotten. This reminds me a lot of the tornado. Both the accident and the tornado were traumatic experiences that rocked my world. And just like the tornado, this accident is going to take some time to get over. But like the tornado, once I’m back to normal, though it will be a completely different normal, I know I’m going to look back and see how much I grew through this.
This has been a really difficult experience, but with God’s grace, we’ll get through it stronger than before. And not just my family, but everyone affected by the accident – the Godsave family, the Bomar family, and all of the other Good Samaritans who helped.