Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Can't Believe We Are All Okay!

Anyone who has been reading this blog knows that I recently hung my first gallery exhibition and the Artist's Reception was two days ago on Sunday, Nov.8. You could be wondering why I haven't posted anything about the event as I promised I would. Well, here is the story...

The reception was an absolute success... a wonderful turn-out, my sister flew in from Guelph for the weekend so she could attend, my high school art teacher (the one who talked me into continuing with art in grade ten instead of taking typing) came with his family to see me and so many friends, family, and artists came. It made me feel so special. The best was that Tommy had been fever free for two full days, so my husband brought both kids for awhile and then my parents took them back to their house while John and I finished visiting at the gallery. More paintings sold... I think at this point 14 of the paintings are spoken for... so really I was over the moon by the time it was over. John and I met at home so I could get out of my heels and take out my contacts.... two things I rarely wear! Then we headed to mom and dad's to pick up the boys and say goodbye to my sister who would soon be catching her flight home. Everyone was in such a great mood and the kids were goofy- you could tell they were feeling better- it was so good to see them so full of life after being so sick. As we drove away there was a small discussion about going for dinner, but I decided that the best would be to go home and start unwinding since that had been the most active Tommy had been in over a week. We could order in food and eat with our jammies on and have a quiet family night.

We were almost home going north on Victoria Avenue and approaching Taylor Street which is an intersection that we pass through many times coming from my parents. For some reason we invariably always have to stop at the light. It is a long red light that always seems to be red no matter when you are there. Well, this time it was as green as green could be and my husband was commenting to me how he couldn't believe that for once we made the green light. With his next breath he said "She's not stopping!!!" and next thing I knew there was an explosion right beside me and we were moving sideways and spinning and then we were rolling!!! It happened so fast and yet it was all in slow motion. The kids were screaming and I remember yelling "Keep your arms in! We're okay!!!" We came to rest on Sammy 's and my side of the car apparently on the boulevard. I will never forget Tommy screaming with blood all over his forehead "Are we going to die???!!!" I could look back and see him- his car seat secured right where it should be with the seat belt holding him in place behind John's. I reached out to him and we held hands, and I told him we were all okay and help was coming, but I couldn't reach Sammy and the impact was right on our doors of the car, so I was terrified of his condition. He started talking- yelling that he was scared. I asked where his arms were, for some reason I was petrified his right arm was out the window and pinned under the car.... but in the end his was the one window that was intact. John's was broken, Tommy's was broken and mine was broken. When I looked down at my  window I just saw grass.... and a Fruit To Go laying there. We could hear people rushing around yelling outside then a face appeared by our windshield, which was smashed and peeling away from the van on John's side. It was an off duty Fire Fighter who was going by. I screamed to please get my kids out! And they did, ASAP. They went in through the back of the van and got Sammy out first, then carried Tommy out in his car seat.... Tommy didn't want to let go of my hand... I'll never forget the look of panic on his face as they pulled him away from me.

Then a lady came back in- I think that Fire Fighter's wife- and she held my head/neck/spine in alignment. He had done an assessment of the vehicle and reported to us that there was no fuel leaking and that help would be here soon to get John and I out. And she was the kindest woman, Eileen? Irene?, and I would love to hug her. She talked me through it all. She kept answering my repeated questions about whether my kids were okay and she kept me posted on where they were and what they were doing. She kept my messages going back to them that mommy and daddy were fine. Then the sirens...finally... a rush of relief when I heard orders going on all around and then the windshield getting pulled off and a Fire Fighter coming in to support my head so Irene(?) could get out. All the while I thought John was dripping blood down on me so I kept asking him if he was okay and we held hands... now I realize it was actually bits of glass falling on me. They didn't know what our injuries were... I honestly felt like I could unbuckle and walk out, so did John, but they wouldn't let us. They ended up using the "jaws of life" to cut open the roof to get access to us. They got me out first with a neck brace and on the board. These people are so skilled and they were all so kind and took me to an ambulance... the kids were inside and they were standing and talking and okay!!! They did everything right... all of these people... these rescuers... they were complete perfection. And I am so upset that don't think I would recognize one of them if I passed them on the street... it doesn't seem right. Once John was out and in the other ambulance they sent Sammy over to ride with him and Tommy stayed with me. As the EMT buckled Tommy up my sweet little guy asked him if they ever crashed in ambulances. My heart ached for him. At the hospital we all arrived one after the other- even the lady who hit us, but we didn't see her. They got a hold of my parents who came so quickly. Dad went to the kids in the pediatric unit and mom found me and John in the other wings of the ER. As soon as they were there I relaxed- the kids had gram and gramps and wouldn't be so scared. They sent John and me for a bunch of x-rays and we did a lot of waiting. Mom called my other sister who came with her husband. Finally they were discharging the boys, they were fine, except for the cut on Tommy's forehead/eyebrow which they had taped closed (no stitches). I wanted to see them so badly but the doctor warned me that there were some very sick people at our end of the ER, so I just told my parents to take them home- I didn't want them exposed to anything. Time passed and eventually the doctor let me know that the x-rays looked good and I was cleared with warnings of what to be paying attention to over the next few days. I waited for John with my sister and her husband and finally he was released. We were all okay! It is an absolute miracle! I can not believe we all came out of it virtually uninjured. We each have our scrapes, aches and bruises, but it is impossible to complain when I know the result could have been so much more horrific. We are all okay!

So my dear bloggy friends, that is the story of my big day... and I am sorry I have rambled on about the experience, but it has felt good to release it all. The next post I make will be cheerier and more about my reception with more pictures of paintings. I can't promise you that I won't talk about this accident again because there is more on my mind, but this has been a marathon post so I should stop now and please know we are truly okay. I know one thing for sure: I will never drive any other vehicle than a Honda Odyssey as long as I am driving my children around.

I can't believe these articles, here and here are about us. 

Thank you to Saskatoon Emergency Services. Thank you.


Barbara Muir said...

Oh Thank God you are all okay. I read gripping my seat. You poor, poor things. Here you are on top of the world, and this happens.

I am sending you great healing light. I hope that everyone is completely fine, and free of pain.

Congratulations on the success of your show. I am not at all surprised, and thanks for your wonderful comments about the HGTV show.

Take care,



Tammy Hext said...

Oh Nicki - I have the chills. I am so happy that you are all safe and sound. What a scary event. Thank goodness for car seats too. My husband has been to a lot of car accidents and car seats do protect kids. I will be thinking of you and congrats on the successful show.
Your sister lives in Guelph - what a small world - I lived in Guelph for many years.

Diana Marshall said...

Wow what a story, somebody was sure watching over you and your family! So glad to hear you are all fine I am sure it will take quite a while to get over.
On the brighter side congrats on the show and all your sales well done.

Nicki said...

Hi Barbara,
Thank you so much for sending positive energy our way. I have been quite emotional and grateful today for the outpouring of messages and love (and food!) that we have received. I still can't believe that we are okay. The boys are so resilient and each day for the last three days seem more and more like themselves. I think I am the sorest of all of us, but that is okay, I would rather it be me than the kids or John anyway. Thank you for your words,
XO Nicki

Hi Tammy,
This was my first ever car accident and hopefully my last. As a mother of a little fella, I am sure you can imagine how hard this was, but we are okay and that is what matters.
Thank you,

Hi Diana,
I feel the same way, that someone was watching over my family. I am still in disbelief that we were virtually uninjured. We are so lucky.
And yes, the brighter side is that the earlier part of the day really was so wonderful.

-Don said...

I actually had tears be pouring out of my eyes as I read your excellent recounting of the events of this accident. I thank God that you and your family came thru unscathed. I thank God for the wonderful people who were there to help you in this time of crisis, from the couple at the beginning thru to the doctors at the hospital. You are truly blessed.

Congratulations on all the wonderful success your show has brought you. It is well deserved.


Jendra Berri said...

I'm so happy that you and your family are okay.
What an ordeal you've been through. I'm sorry such a nightmare had to happen, especially on your special night.

Nicki said...

Hi Don,
Thank you so much for your kind words- we truly are so lucky that we were not more seriously hurt. The emergency rescuers that were there to help us got us through the worst incident of our lives with skill and compassion.
Luckily I have great memories of my show from earlier that day, so the day was not a complete disaster!

All the best to you,

Hi Jendra,
Thank you for leaving me such a kind comment. It has been quite the week and I am so fatigued from the emotions, never mind the aches! But we are okay and that is what matters most.

Take care,

Chuck Dilmore said...

Ooo, NIcki!
i am so relieved that you and your family are all right!

so sorry that you all had to endure that...
but so happy that you are all together!

peace&love to you all~

Janie B said...

I'm so sorry about your accident. It's amazing that you are all okay. Thank Goodness! Take lots of time to heal emotionally. Your paintings look wonderful hanging in that hallway.

Nicki said...

Hi Chuck,

Thank you so much... yes, it is a huge relief that all four of us are all right. It has been quite a week, but each day things seem a bit more normal.

All together is a great place to be.


Hi Janie,

Thanks for your kind words. I'm sure time will heal these raw emotions... little Tommy is quite teary about it, especially at bedtime.

Glad you thought the show looked good,


suzanneberry said...

Nicki, thank God you were all ok. I just read your post about the accident. i've been so involved in my silly moods, i haven't been visiting my favorite blogs of which yours is one! i'm overwhelmed! how awful, coming right after such an incredible show, sales and joy. i'm so grateful that you were all ok. congratulations on your show and surviving such an incredible crash must have been so overwhelming, it all happening at once! Good Lord, I'm still sitting here with my mouth open! I'm so glad you are all ok. take good care.

Unknown said...

Wow Nicki, I was bawling reading this and am so thankful that you are all okay. It's quite a shock to see your van all smashed up. It's a jolting reminder that you never know what life might bring you on a given day.

I'll be thinking of you and your boys as you continue the emotional recovery of the accident.

BIG hugs, Brenda.

Nicki said...

Hi Suzanne,

Thank you so much for stopping by, but I am sorry that you were met with this shock of a post. I am still pretty shaken up and cannot believe what my family went through... especially my kids. It all could have gone so differently, but thank goodness it didn't. Thank you for your words.


Hi my dear #24! Brenda, I am sorry this gave you such a shock, but please know that we are all okay. It was the single worst thing I have ever been through and it will take some time to get over, but ultimately we all walked away from it which is a miracle. I am so aware that every minute of the day actually counts because in a split second things can change.

I miss you dear friend,
XO Nicki