Sandra, my niece, will celebrate her 30th birthday on Sunday November 13th. Recently, she’s been doing her own blog about running. She started running and has completed some 5k races. On Saturday, November 5th, she and her husband, Glen, along with their two children – Alana, 6 and Cameron, 2 – were traveling to Calloway Gardens for Sandra to run her very first 10k race. The plan was to run the race, celebrate with an awesome dinner, see the Christmas lights display and spend the night in the inn.
Although we don’t know the details, something caused them to stop at the Flat Shoals exit. Again, not having all the fine points, we think that the other driver in the black van may have been attempting to pass a MARTA bus, crossing into the lane in which Glen was traveling. The result was (we think) a head-on crash with the black van and the white one in which the Walker family was traveling.
The white van flipped, landing on its roof. Alana and Cameron hung upside in their car seats. Undoubtedly, the tall Sandra, and even taller Glen hit the roof, resulting in serious head injuries for both. The children – perfect. Cameron had a cut on the chin, Alana one on her hand.
And that’s what we know about that day, so far. What happened next for me was a crazy, surreal blur. I was planning to go see a movie – actually, I was trying to avoid grading papers, when the phone rang. I answered with a cheery “Hello, Michelle!” thinking it was Michelle Walker, but it was actually, Michael, Glen’s brother. He said he didn’t want to alarm me, but Grady had called to Sandra was there and had been in an accident.
I rushed to Grady, knowing Sandra was not alone in her vehicle. Unfortunately, no one knew where Glen and the kids were. Long story, short (ha ha), a nurse seeing my distress, took me back to ask if the woman on the stretcher in the trauma room was Sandra. It was. At least I knew where she was, and I knew she was alive. But I was terrified by the blood coming from her ear (I’ve seen that on T.V. and know what it means…). The good news – that’s why they call it “drama.” T.V. isn’t always realistic.
I still knew nothing of Glen and the kids. Those of you who know me understand my terror over the kids and their fate. Someone at Grady made a list of hospital numbers for me. By then, Michael and Michelle were there. We took the list and started calling. In the midst of the calls, my cell phone rang. A wonderful social worker from Children’s Healthcare told me the news I needed to hear. The children were at Eggleston, and they were okay.
I rushed to Eggleston, and I can not begin to describe what I felt when I opened the door and saw Alana and Cameron sitting on a stretcher watching a movie, balloons attached to each of their wrists, surrounded by boxes of apple juice and packages of graham crackers. Cameron’s face lit up when he saw me, and Alana looked incredibly relieved.
The social worker who called also knew that Glen was at Atlanta Medical Center, so Michael and Michelle headed over there while Mehgan stayed with Sandy. For these 3 individuals, there are not enough words to express my gratitude.
I was able to get the kids discharged and took them to my house. We played games, watched a movie, ate spaghettios and, periodically discussed and drew pictures of the crash. Both kids are doing a fantastic job of processing what happened. Alana desperately wants to see Sandra. She isn’t old enough, but we’re plotting to find a way. Carrie and Ashley made a recording of Alana’s message to Sandra and played it for Sandra on Sunday. I’m sure Sandra heard it and processed it.
My neighbor and dear friend, Amy made an emergency milk and bread run (since I wasn’t planning on little company). Later, once the kids fell asleep, she came over so I could back to Grady. Since Mehgan wasn’t next of kin, someone had to get her admitted, sign paperwork, claim her belongings, etc. When I came home at about 1:30 in the morning, Amy was in bed with Alana, giving her the safety and comfort she needed. I am indebted to her, and the list of amazing people is just beginning.
I am ending the day by crawling into bed and cuddling Alana, after checking on Cameron fast asleep in his pack-n-play. I am still in shock, confused and unsure of what our lives will be like, but, finally, I sleep.