Friday, January 31, 2014

Renee + Brad

To make up for missing last Friday's love story, I picked out an extra suspenseful story for this Friday. When Renee sent me her story, I found myself holding my breath while reading it with chill bumps. The weekend of their destination wedding would be one that would forever change their lives. You will never believe what Renee and Brad went through; not just went through, but survived. This love story is one that will be sure to leave you in tears.

So, I have a love story that starts out very stereotypical of “boy meets girl and falls in love and then they decide to get married.” End of the stereotypical part! 

My (then fiancé) and I decided that we were going to get married on the beach (ok, slightly still stereotypical of some) and had gone about the process of selecting the perfect spot with the perfect sunset, finding decorations, and picking out food options.  Then, like a big black cloud, comes the BP oil spill!  Well, we all know what kind of damper that put on a lot of parades (and should have been a red flag). But, we decided to press on anyway! The owner of the private house where we were supposed to get married ensured us that there was no hide or hair of oil reminisce anywhere around them (they were located in a bay, so I took her word for it).

It was wedding day eve and both I and my fiancé started the drive from Nashville down to Gulf Shores, Alabama, and I was sitting in the passenger seat laughing while texting to my mom who was 10 miles behind us with my dad.

It was 12:01 PM on August 5,, 2010 at mile marker 192 when it happened; We were getting back on the interstate in Montgomery from a bathroom break when everything changed for the rest of our lives. 

Vickie was a 52 year old woman driving on Interstate 65 North when she decidedly needs to reach for a water bottle in her passenger floor board causing a chain reaction of events. First, she hit the guard rail on her passenger side, then over corrected and hit the gas instead of break. Vickie came across the median and hit us head on. Our impact speed was 150 mph. In fact, we were hit so hard, the speedometer was stopped and stuck at 75 mph. 

All the table decorations were shattered, my dress laid crumpled in a pile of metal.

My fiancé’s foot went through his right heel; a piece of the engine had taken a chunk of meat from his left leg, making him  unable to walk. He pulled himself up, out, and on the roof of the car. He called my name and there was no answer. He screamed my name and still no answer. I had suffered a brain bleed, abdomen bleed, broken ribs, and a broken wrist. We were even wearing seat belts. Vickie opened her door, said nothing, and waited for the paramedics up against the guard rail.

Traffic immediately came to a standstill. My mom was still texting, but quickly noticed her texts were going unanswered. My dad tried calling once, then a second time, and on the third ring, my phone picked up due to the vibrations from the Jaws of Life. He hears my screams and calls my name, the call drops. 

My fiancé had to have emergency surgery to stabilize him until we could get back to Nashville where surgeons would end up putting an entire metal “heel” back in the bottom of his foot. I suffered temporary short term memory loss in addition to all of my other injuries. To this day, I still have no memory of our stay at the trauma center.

On Saturday, August 7, 2010, someone had reminded me that it was my wedding day. Despite the pain and lack of memory, I wanted to get married and would not take “No” for an answer.  Through our mother’s tears and “are you sure’s,” my wedding dress was picked up, a cake from the nearest grocery store found, and even a bunch of silk flowers for a bouquet were rummaged up. Luckily for us, the hospital even had a decent sized little chapel.

My fiancé was wheeled in the chapel, and my dad walked me down the corridor from my hospital room to the chapel and gave me away.  I only have pictures of this day to look back at, not one memory.  

Most people would think that we were robbed, but I like to think about it like this:

We are all given a test at some point in our lives of our character and love for each other. It is how we handle ourselves during those times of diversity that defines who we are and the relationships that we are in.

Not many people start their married lives with such stress, sadness, frustration, and challenge. My husband ended up being wheelchair bound for four months and I, well, I was 8 weeks pregnant with our daughter throughout it all. This isn’t a story of pity, but rather a story of how through the most difficult of times, love will still and always win. The accident took my memory of every girl’s most important day, but it gave me a love for my husband and now beautiful daughter that nothing will ever take away.

P.S. On August 7, 2016, we will be renewing our vows with our daughter. I like to think that God just wanted us to have a flower girl  but I am sure it will be a day that the three of us will never forget.

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