I have no memory from a few minutes before the crash until I woke up on a gurney at Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, a hospital specializing in trauma that was several miles away, and heard the voice of our friend Andra as she stood over me. Melissa had been taken to Mercy, too, but was then transported to Kaiser because our health plan was there and she was eight months pregnant with Emma. The boys were both taken by separate ambulance to Scripps Chula Vista, the nearest hospital, and Landen was cared for there, but Isaac, because he was only eighteen months old, was then transported to Children’s Hospital even further away than Mercy. At one time the four of us were at four different hospitals, and because it was still Thanksgiving weekend and family had been gathered together, there were enough people to disperse. The whole time elapsed must have been an hour or more I guess.
Today it is exactly ten years later and I still don’t remember any details, thankfully, except passing our friend Jose Chavez and his family as were driving up Telegraph Canyon back home after a rainy day out as a family. What I don't remember at all is that we were at a stop sign across from the golf course only blocks from our house and a man driving a red Suburban was coming toward us and, as Melissa tells it, he didn’t look like he was going to stop, and didn’t. The Suburban struck our white Honda accord on the driver’s side with Isaac directly behind me in his car seat. Except for some bruises, Isaac ended up walked away unscathed. Landen has a scar on his chin that was more visible for years than it is today, and we think the hit he took was from a loose middle seat belt or object inside the car. Melissa went into pre-term labor but walked away okay, too. For years she had nightmarish memories of the drunk driver of the Suburban walking toward the car and standing at her window.
The whole event happened a block or so from the home of our friends, the Stephens. Blair was a San Diego police officer and was off-duty but heard a report of the accident on his radio and recognized the street names and came to us right away, along with his wife, Denise. Calls were made and other friends and of course our family responded right away.
In the same six weeks, Isaac’s adoption was final, we moved into our new home in Eastlake, survived the crash, Emma was born, and Melissa turned 30, all while I was probably trying to do good work in a job I’d been in for only a year. Thank God for times like these where we can experience his mercy, his grace, his provision, and the gift of family in rich and comforting ways.