keep her in the light

This Saturday my mom went to spend the weekend with her sister at the family farm.  They headed out down the low traffic gravel road on their way to a nearby trail.  As they made their way down the hill, three four wheelers crested the hill.  My Aunt told her they were coming up behind them and all seemed fine.  The bikes slowed, but the first bike was particularly loud and startled both horses.

My mom fell over the front of her horse and his knee took her in the right cheek bone and knocked her unconscious.  Her horse lost his footing in the mud and as he tried to right himself my Aunt watched in horror as he tried to stay off of my mom, but managed to step on her back with his hind leg.  The family who had been on the four wheelers stopped immediately to help.  The woman instantly put pressure on her back where the horse had stepped and said she could feel the instant swelling under her hand.  When mom came to, she fought to get up and was a bit panicked, but they managed to keep her down and still.  The young girl riding the first bike held her head and neck and talked to her until the ambulance arrived.  From the local hospital she was then air lifted to Kingston General.

She has a broken cheekbone, broken wrist, bruised lungs and she broke two vertebrae front to back.  She had surgery to place rods and pins on Sunday morning, and in the words of the surgeon, he stopped counting broken ribs at 6 on each side.  Her head and neck are fine and though the doctors are amazed, her spinal cord was not severed and she is not paralyzed.

It is a frightening moment when you get the news over the phone that your mom has been in an accident and air lifted to Kingston.  Everything you thought mattered, just doesn’t anymore and everything that does can be counted on one hand.  I felt unsettled and maybe even a little orphaned in the time between hearing the news and actually seeing her.  I played it out in my imagination over and over.  I thought about how close we came to losing her and her ability to walk.

I am not sharing this here to be dramatic, but to let you know that I may be a bit absent or inconsistent over the next few weeks.  I also hope that you will hug your mothers, your fathers, your children and your friends as you are reminded of how quickly it can all change.

I want to thank those of you who have already sent prayers, kept her in the light or held her in your thoughts; it means so very much to us all.  She is broken, but I am hoping it has broken us all open so that we may learn to rebuild ourselves and each other.  I found this quote just days before the accident and she liked it.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ― Louise ErdrichThe Painted Drum.

go gently + be weonderful


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  1. Posted April 2, 2012 at 4:44 pm by coleen | Permalink

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

  2. Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm by KC | Permalink

    Oh my! No need to appalogize or explain anything! I’ll be sending good vibes into the universe for sure!

  3. Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm by eidolons | Permalink

    Oh goodness. Biggest of big hugs to you and many healthy recovery thoughts for your dear mother.

  4. Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm by Karen | Permalink

    Happy and healing thoughts going out to you and your family.
    And your words are taken to heart this evening…thank you.

  5. Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    I’m weeping here, from my first look at the photos of your radiant mother (and you looking so much like her), to hearing of the horse’s attempts to avoid stepping on her, to the last quote which I will copy and share. Life never fails to surprise, sometimes in horrible ways. I wish your mom a peaceful recovery…it isn’t likely to be speedy, but I know she will be comforted by the ones she loves all around her. Blessings and love to your family.

  6. Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:15 pm by Heather | Permalink

    I have never been on that side of the call. I have, however, been the subject of the call due to a car accident when I was 15. Now I do seem to live in fear that I will end up receiving that same call that my mom received so many years ago. My thoughts for you and your family.

  7. Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm by Diane | Permalink

    Well put, and a good dose of perspective (as much as it sucks to get it this way).

    I am so glad that she is okay. Sheila means a great deal to many people, and I count myself as one of them. Please let us know if we can do anything at all.

    We`ll be thinking of you and your family.

  8. Posted April 2, 2012 at 7:37 pm by Mandy | Permalink

    It’s sad how it is moments like these that literally take your breath away and put things into perspective! It only takes one blink of an eye, one heartbeat, one breath…

    Sending so much love from my family to yours.
    Your Mom is very close in my heart and thoughts <3

  9. Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:43 pm by Mycelium | Permalink

    You’re in our thoughts, Sheila, Erin & Family! Sending your mom healing vibes.
    (beautifully written, as always : ))

  10. Posted April 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm by rebecca | Permalink

    oh my goodness – that sounds terrifying! Sending healing thoughts.

  11. Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm by Theresa | Permalink

    I read your site daily but have never commented….but I wanted you to know I am holding your mom and you in my thoughts and sending her positive thoughts of light and healing. Wishing you peace…

  12. Posted April 2, 2012 at 10:32 pm by Kim | Permalink

    Sending light, prayers and healing wishes to your mom. And keeping you all in my thoughts.

  13. Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:24 pm by Tasha | Permalink

    My prayers and healing wishes are with your family, Erin. I hope each day sees your mom getting healthier and stronger. Thank you for the reminder to hug the ones we love–I think we all need to be reminded of the fragile and beautiful web that holds us together–and to wonder at it and appreciate it…

  14. Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:57 am by sarah | Permalink

    Sending light and strength and love to your mother & your family. I hope her recovery is timely and true.

  15. Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:46 am by Katharine McDonnell | Permalink

    Hi Erin,
    My heart goes out to you and your Mum, and the rest of your family at this uncertain and scary time.
    Much love, peace, best wishes and healing thoughts to you all

    Katharine x

  16. Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:41 am by Cary | Permalink

    Your mom will be in our prayers!!!

  17. Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:12 am by Laura | Permalink

    Oh lovely,
    deep breaths and gather your lived ones close. Let your tears flow freely and remember laughter will return soon. I am happy your mom will heal and happy you have a support system to help you when you need a little kindness. It’s going to be ok. Xo

  18. Posted April 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm by heather+you make do™ | Permalink

    …thinking of you and your mother, Erin.

  19. Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm by Sharon | Permalink

    ~sending healing light and love~
    God bless

  20. Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm by teresa | Permalink

    sending much love and strength and lightness to you all. you are surrounded by love and healing.

  21. Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:40 am by Emily | Permalink

    Best wishes and take care of yourselves – in the path of light and love.

  22. Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm by Emily | Permalink

    Oh my goodness. All my best thoughts to you, your mother, and your family.

  23. Posted April 6, 2012 at 1:42 pm by Karen Wirth | Permalink

    Dear Erin
    We are shocked to hear of this unfortunate situation. Thoughts and prayers going to your Mom.

  24. Posted April 8, 2012 at 7:41 am by Sara Savel | Permalink

    I am so sorry to hear about your mom, but glad to know is not paralyzed! I will keep her in my prayers, that she will not experience unbearable pain, and that she will be healed quickly.

    What you said about feeling a bit like an orphan between getting the phone call and seeing her at the hospital touched me. I had that same feeling after the ambulance took my husband away during his heart attack, though it was more of a widow feeling in my case. Not knowing if you’ll see a person again is a sad, scary thing. I am so glad you were able to see her, battered and broken, but still here among the living.

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