Our Fantastic Family Of Four Forever Believes

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with family" Anthony Brandt

Friday, July 11, 2008

MY MOTHER'S TRIUMPH: SURIVIOR OF OUR HOMETOWN EXPLOSION

"AND THE PEACE OF GOD,WHICH SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING,WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS" PHIL. 4:7


MY FAMILY WILL NEVER FORGET THAT DARK DAY.IT WAS MAY, 1, 1991, AND THAT DAY HAS FOREVER CHANGED MY FAMILIES LIVES. MY MOM WORKED IN A CHEMICAL PLANT,IMC, AND THIS PLANT WAS ACTUALLY THE "PLACE" THAT KEPT MY HOMETOWN IN BUSINESS. THE TOWN OF STERLINGTION DEPENDED ON THIS PLANT TO KEEP THINGS RUNNING AND GOING SMOOTH IN THIS SMALL TOWN.YOU CAN ALWAYS REST ASSURE THAT YOU KNEW YOU WERE IN STERLINGTON CITY LIMITS BECAUSE OF THE POTENT SMELL FROM THE PLANT. IT ALWAYS HAS A STRONG ODOR,AND WHEN I SMELL IT PASSING THROUGH, I GET A SICK FEELING IN MY STOMACH BECAUSE IT BRINGS TO MIND THAT AWFUL DAY WHEN TRAGEDY STRUCK A SMALL TOWN AND MANY MANY LIVES WERE TAKEN. MY MOM DID NOT HAVE TO BE AT WORK THAT DAY TILL 2PM, BUT SHE WENT IN EARLY THAT DAY TO TURN IN A DRAWING MY SISTER HAD DONE FOR A CONTEST THEY WERE HAVING AT THE PLANT. MY MOM ARRIVED AT THE PLANT AT 1:30 PM AND STARTED HER SHIFT LIKE ANY OTHER DAY. I WAS A JUNIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL AT THAT TIME AND I WAS IN MY USUAL BORING AMERICAN HISTORY CLASS. JERRY AND I HAD ONLY BEEN DATING A COUPLE OF MONTHS AND INSTEAD OF LISTENING TO MY TEACHER, I WAS THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT TIME I WAS GOING TO SEE HIM ! IT WAS USUALLY RATHER HOT THAT DAY AND SINCE IT WAS RIGHT AFTER LUNCH, WE DECIDED TO OPEN THE WINDOWS SO WE COULD WAKE-UP A LITTLE AND MAYBE PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS. CLASS RESUMED AS USUAL BUT I HAD A "WEIRD" FEELING THAT I COULDN'T SHAKE. IT WAS LIKE SOME DARK FORCE WAS COMING OUT AND I WAS RATHER SCARED THAN CONCERNED. ABOUT HALF WAY THROUGH CLASS, ONE OF MY CLASSMATES GLANCED OUT THE WINDOW AND SAID, " I WONDER WHERE ALL THAT SMOKE IS COMING FROM." WE ALL TURNED AND LOOKED AND THEN WHEN IT HAPPENED.LIFE AS WE KNEW IT WAS ABOUT TO CHANGE FOREVER AND WE WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME. IT WAS EXACTLY 1:45 PM AND THE SKY GOT REALLY DARK AND THEN IT HIT.THE SOUND WAS INDESCRIBABLE. AT FIRST, IT SOUNDED THAT THUNDER, THEN THE BIG ONE HIT, IT WAS LIKE A BOMB HAD BEEN DROPPED FROM THE SKY. IT WAS AN EXPLOSION. ONE OF MY FRIENDS WAS SITTING IN THE BACK OF THE CLASSROOM WAS EJECTED FROM HIS SEAT AND HE FLEW IN THE AIR AND HIT THE CHALKBOARD. EVERYTHING FROM THERE WAS IN SLOW MOTION.I COULD NOT GET A GRASP ON REALITY. WAS THIS REALLY HAPPENING? WHAT DID HAPPENED? THOUGHTS, RAMPANT THOUGHTS WERE RUNNING THROUGH MY MIND.THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS I HAD NO CONTROL OVER, AND I WAS PETRIFIED. MY LEGS WOULD NOT MOVE, I COULDN'T SPEAK. EVERYONE WAS RUNNING AROUND SCREAMING, WE WERE RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER, NOT KNOWING WHERE TO GO OR WHAT TO DO NEXT.THEN IT HIT ME ALL AT ONCE, SOMETHING HAPPENED AT THE PLANT. AND MY MOM, WHERE IS MY MOM? PEOPLE WERE SCREAMING "THE PLANT BLEW UP." ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS MY MOTHER, MY FRIEND, MY SUPPORTER, AND PROVIDER.THERE WAS A LADY THERE THAT I HAVE KNOWN FOR YEARS AND SHE SAID" DON'T WORRY, YOUR MOM DID NOT HAVE TO BE AT WORK TILL 2." I TOLD HER THAT SHE HAD WENT IN EARLY, AND I KNEW SHE WAS THERE. I WAS SICK, MY HEAD WAS SPINNING, AND MY HEART WAS IN MY THROAT. THEN I THOUGHT ABOUT MY BROTHER AND SISTER. HOW WOULD WE MANAGE WITHOUT OUR MOTHER? MY FATHER HAD DIED WHEN I WAS FOUR, MY MOTHER WAS A WIDOWER AT 21, WITH 3 KIDS. ALL WE HAD WAS OUR MOTHER, GOD PLEASE DON'T TAKE MY MOTHER. THEN THE MOST AMAZING THING HAPPENED. I WAS PRAYING TO GOD, PLEASE DON'T TAKE MY MOTHER, PLEASE LET HER BE OK, AND THEN I GOT THE MOST AMAZING UNEXPLAINABLE FEELING. GOD SPOKE TO ME WITH A PEACE THAT SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING. HE TOLD ME THAT SHE WAS OK, HURT, BUT SHE WOULD LIVE. THAT FEELING WAS LIKE NO OTHER FEELING I HAVE EVER EVER HAD. WHEN I LOOK BACK, THE FEELING I HAD WHEN MY CHILDREN WERE BORN WAS UNREAL. I WAS SO ELATED AND HAPPY, BUT TO THIS DAY, I HAVE NEVER HAD A FEELING LIKE WHEN GOD SPOKE TO ME. I STILL GET CHILLS AND SHIVERS DOWN MY SPINE WHEN I THINK ABOUT IT, I BELIEVE THERE WILL NEVER BE A FEELING LIKE THAT EVER, THERE IS NO WAY TO EXPLAIN IT, IT WAS SUPERNATURAL, IT WAS OF GOD. I JUST CAN IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT GOD, HOW COULD SOMEONE NOT BELIEVE IN HIM, HE IS REAL, HE SPEAKS TO ME DAILY. HE SPOKE TO ME THAT TRAGIC DAY, HIS PRESENCE WAS FELT AND WANTED. TIME WAS STANDING STILL AND I WAS NOT COMING TO TERMS WITH WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED. EVERYONE WAS ORDERED TO EVACUATE TOWN AND TO GET AWAY FROM TOWN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.THERE WERE MAJOR THREATS, INHALATION OF DEADLY CHEMICALS, DEBRIS WAS FLYING AROUND EVERYWHERE, AND THERE WAS JUST MERE DANGER. I HAD FINALLY FOUND MY BROTHER AND SISTER. WE HAD TO STICK TOGETHER, WE NEEDED EACH OTHER NOW MORE THAN EVER. WE WERE TAKEN TO ONE OF MY BEST FRIEND'S HOUSE. THEIR DAD WAS ALWAYS LIKE MY DAD, BUT NOW HE WAS REALLY A DAD TO ME. WE FINALLY GOT WORD THAT MY MOM WAS RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL IN A PICK-UP TRUCK WITH ALL FOUR TIRES RIPPED TO SHREDS AND HOW THEY MADE IT THERE WAS ONLY AN ACT OF GOD. GOD SHOWED AND PREFORMED A MIRACLE THAT DAY. I BELIEVED IN MIRACLES BACK THEN AND I BELIEVE IN THEM STILL. MY MOM SHARED WITH ME SOME MONTHS LATER WHAT SHE EXPERIENCED. I NEVER BROUGHT IT UP. I KNEW WHEN THE TIME WAS RIGHT, SHE WOULD OPEN UP AND TELL US ABOUT IT. SOME DETAILS ARE TOO GRAPHIC, AND DUE TO HER PRIVACY, I WILL NOT SHARE EVERYTHING. SHE REALLY THOUGHT SHE WAS DYING.SHE WAS IN AND OUT OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND IN AWE AND DISBELIEF OF WHAT HAS HAPPENING. SHE SHARED WITH ME THAT SHE REMEMBERS WHEN IT FIRST HIT HER THAT THERE WAS A PROBLEM. SHE WAS STANDING AROUND OUTSIDE TALKING TO SOME CO-WORKERS WHEN THEY HEARD THE FIRST LITTLE EXPLOSION. SHE SAID THAT IT SOUNDED LIKE A FIRECRACKER. ONE OF HER BOSSES TURNED TO HER, THE LOOK ON HIS FACE WAS OF A LOOK OF DISASTER. THEN THE "MAIN" EXPLOSION HAPPENED. SHE REMEMBERS BEING DRAGGED INTO MID AIR AND HITTING A TRUCK :THEN DEBRIS, METAL, AND GLASS WERE FLYING AT HER EVERYWHERE. SHE SAID THAT PEOPLE WERE SCREAMING AND RUNNING AND TRYING TO ESCAPE. EVERYTHING WAS IN SLOW MOTION. SHE WAS SCREAMING FOR HELP AND NO ONE COULD HEAR HER. SHE TRIED TO MOVE HER ARM, BUT COULDN'T, FOR IT WAS BROKE.SHE TRIED TO MOVE HER LEG, BUT NO SUCCESS, IT WAS BROKE TOO. HER BACK FELT MUSHY. SHE WAS THINKING THAT SHE WAS NEVER GOING TO GET OUT OF THERE ALIVE. FINALLY, SOMEONE HEARD HER, GOD BLESS YOU, AND HE STARTED TO PULL DEBRIS, METAL, GLASS, AND STUFF THAT YOU CAN'T IMAGINE OFF OF HER. SHE FINALLY ARRIVED AT THE HOSPITAL. REPORTERS WERE THERE WAITING AND THEY NEVER RESPECT PRIVACY. THEY TOOK HER PICTURE AND IT WAS IN THE NEWSPAPER THE NEXT DAY. I REMEMBER WHEN I FINALLY GOT TO SEE HER FOR THE 1ST TIME SINCE THAT MORNING. I STILL CAN REMEMBER THE CLOTHES THAT SHE WAS WEARING, FOR THE IMAGES THAT I WAS ABOUT TO SEE WHERE DIFFERENT , FOR THE NEXT YEAR WOULD BE ONE OF UNKNOWN TERRITORY , MY MOM WOULD NOT BE THE SAME. WHEN I SAW HER I WAS SHOCKED AND SCARED FOR HER. I HAD TO PREPARE MYSELF FOR WHAT I WAS ABOUT TO SEE. I WAS WARNED BUT YOU ARE NEVER PREPARED. I WENT IN AND SAW HER. THIS WAS NOT MY MOM, I KEPT THINKING. MY LIFE WITH MY MOM FLASHED BEFORE MY EYES. THESE IMAGES WERE OF MY CHILDHOOD. MY MOM COOKING FOR ME, MOM PICKING ME UP FROM A FALL OF MY BIKE, HER LAUGHING AT OUR JOKES. MY MOM WHO SO LOVINGLY CONSOLED ME WHEN MY 1ST LOVE HAS BROKEN MY HEART. MY MOM WAS MY LIFE, MY PROVIDER, MY COMFORTER, MY FRIEND, MY MOM. THE ROLES WERE SOON REVERSED, I WAS THE MOTHER NOW. I WOULD SOON BE ON A JOURNEY OF SELF-MATURITY, AND OF LEARNING THAT LIFE WAS A JOURNEY OF UNPREDICTABILITY'S AND UNCERTAINTIES. I WAS GOING TO HAVE TO CONQUER IT WITH THE SUPPORT OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY, BUT MOST OF ALL WITH THE LORD GUIDING MY THOUGHTS AND GIVING ME THE GRACE TO HANDLE THE SITUATION THAT WAS PRESENTED TO US THAT DAY. MY MOM WAS IN THE HOSPITAL FOR A WHILE. SHE SUFFERED MANY INJURIES, A BROKE ARM, A BROKE LEG, SHATTERED TAILBONE, AND A SMASHED BACK. SHE HAD SEVERAL PIECES OF METAL EMBEDDED IN HER. MY MOM HAS MANY SCARS, SOME ARE PHYSICAL, BUT THE MAIN SCARS ARE OF THOSE FRIENDS SHE LOST, AND OF THE SCARS OF HAVING HER LIFE CHANGED FOREVER AND OF WHAT HER FAMILY HAD TO ENDURE. SHE LOOKS AT THIS TRAGEDY AS A LESSON IN APPRECIATING LIFE. FOR SHE KNOWS NOW THAT LIFE IS A PRECIOUS THING THAT CAN BE TAKEN WAY IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. YOU CAN BE HERE TODAY, AND GONE TOMORROW. MY MOM'S EMOTIONS WERE OF THE HIGHEST AND SHE WANTED TO PRESENT HERSELF AS THE STRONG WOMAN SHE HAD ALWAYS BEEN FOR US. I LET HER KNOW THAT I WAS THERE TO BE HER ROCK, THAT SHE COULD LAY ALL HER CONCERNS AND FEARS ON ME, GOD WAS GIVING ME THE GRACE AND HE WAS ALLOWING ME TO BE HER STRENGTH, LIKE SHE HAS ALWAYS BEEN FOR ME. IT WAS MY TURN TO TAKE CARE OF HER, TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND TO BE ALL SHE NEEDED AT THIS POINT IN HER LIFE. SHE WOULD SOON RETURN HOME, AFTER EXTENSIVE THERAPY. IT WAS THEN THAT I STARTED MY JOURNEY OF BEING THE "MAIN" CAREGIVER. MY MOTHER HAS TAUGHT US WELL. SHE BELIEVED IN SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND BEING INDEPENDENT, THAT WE SHOULD REILLY ON NO ONE TO DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. FOR IF YOU WANT IT TO HAPPEN, MAKE IT HAPPEN YOURSELF; SHE USED TO SAY TO US. I WAS AGGRAVATED AT THAT, BUT NOW THAT I AM AN ADULT, WITH MY OWN FAMILY, I HAVE COME TO APPRECIATE HER ROUGHNESS BECAUSE IT HAS ONLY HELPED ME WITH MY OWN ENDEAVORS I HAVE PURSUED. SHE TAUGHT US THAT WITH HARD WORK AND DEDICATION WE COULD BE ALL THAT WE WANTED TO BE. I FEEL THAT I HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL WITH MY LIFE SO FAR BECAUSE OF MY MOM'S CHILD REARING EFFORTS. MY MOM HAD TO HAVE A SPECIAL BED TO LIE IN, BECAUSE OF HER BACK, IT WAS A NIKE AIR BED, AND WAS FAIRLY NEW, THEY JUST CAME OUT WITH IT, SO WE DECIDED TO HAVE IT DELIVERED TO MY GRANDMA'S HOUSE. THERE WAS SO MUCH TO CONSIDER, SO WE DECIDED IT WAS BEST TO GO TO HER MOTHER'S HOUSE. LIKE EVERY MOTHER, WE WANT TO TAKE CARE OF OUR CHILDREN. GOD BLESS MY MAMMAW. HER CHILD WAS IN NEED, AND SHE WANTED TO BE THERE FOR HER. WE TRIED TO RESUME OUR NORMAL LIFE, WE ACCEPTED THE OBSTACLES BEFORE US, AND WE WERE DETERMINED TO MAKE A RAINBOW OUT OF THIS DARKNESS THAT WAS UPON US. WE HAD SCHOOL TO CONSIDER,COOKING HAD TO BE DONE( I WAS IN CHARGE OF THIS ASPECT) CLOTHES WASHED AND MOST OF ALL, TAKING CARE OF MY MOTHER. SHE HAD LOST MOST CONTROL OVER HER LIFE, SHE HAD ALWAYS BEEN THE ONE IN CONTROL, BUT HER CHILDREN WERE THE ONE IN CONTROL NOW, BUT WE DID TRY TO HELP HER GAIN SOME OF IT BACK,WE GAVE HER THE UTMOST RESPECT, AND TRIED TO GIVE HER SOME SELF-DIGNITY. WE RESPECTED HER AS A PERSON, EVEN MORE AS OUR MOTHER. IT WOULD BE MONTHS, A YEAR TO BE EXACT BEFORE SHE COULD WALK AGAIN. SHE ATTENDED MY HOMECOMING CEREMONY IN A WHEELCHAIR, BUT SHE WANTED TO BE THERE TO SEE HER DAUGHTER CROWNED "HOMECOMING QUEEN". SHE WANTED TO BE MY SUPPORT, BUT IN RETURN, I WAS HER SUPPORT TOO. IT IS AMAZING WHEN YOU PUT YOURSELF IN OTHER'S SHOES. YOU COME TO RESPECT OTHER'S JOURNEYS, THE PATHS OF LIFE THAT WAS CHOSEN FOR THEM. I SOON APPRECIATED THE ROLES OF A MOTHER, MY MOTHER, AND I WAS TILL GLAD THAT I WAS STILL VERY MUCH A KID. SHE STRUGGLED WITH NOT BEING ABLE TO DO FOR HERSELF, BUT HER HEART OPENED HER TO NEW INSIGHTS ON LIFE, AND SHE REALIZED THAT IS WAS OK TO ACCEPT HELP WHEN IT WAS NEEDED. I HAVE THAT TRAIT TOO. I DO NOT LIKE RELYING ON OTHERS TO DO ANYTHING. I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD ALWAYS TAKE RESPONSIBILITIES FOR MY OWN ACTIONS. THIS WAS LIKE MY MOM, I WAS MY MOM. MY MOM HAS RETURNED TO US,SHE HAS SOMEWHAT CHANGED,BECAUSE CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, WE ALL CHANGE LIKE EVERY NEW SEASON THAT IS PRESENTED TO US. SHE IS STILL A VERY OPTIMISTIC WOMAN,WHO LOOKS AT TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS AS CHALLENGES TO MAKE US BETTER AND MORE CHRIST LIKE INDIVIDUALS. I REMEMBER SEVERAL YEARS LATER A QUESTION THAT I HAD ASKED HER. WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE ACCIDENT, AND I ASKED HER WITH THE MOST UTMOST RESPECT. "MOM, ARE YOU BITTER WITH THE SITUATIONS THAT YOU WERE DEALT WITH ?" I WILL NEVER FORGET WHAT SHE SAID TO ME.SHE SAID " NO DANIELLE, I'M NOT,GOD HAS REALLY BLESSED ME, WHY FOCUS ON THE BAD WHEN THE GOOD OUT WEIGHS IT. I WILL NEVER BLAME GOD FOR ANYTHING, NOT FOR ME GETTING HURT, NOT FOR YOUR DADDY DYING, NOT FOR ANYTHING." WOW, MY MOM IS AMAZING! MY MOM KNOWS THAT GOD'S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS. SHE REALIZES THAT GOD'S WORKS ARE FAR BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION. SHE KNOWS THAT YOU CANNOT CHEAT DEATH, AND THAT EVERY MOMENT YOU HAVE ON THIS EARTH SHOULD BE CHERISHED AND APPRECIATED. SHE KNOWS, BECAUSE HER LIFE WAS ALMOST TAKEN. SHE LIVED AND SAW LIVES TAKEN AND HERS SPARED, SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHY, BUT SHE IS GRATEFUL FOR HER LIFE BEING SPARED. SHE KNOWS THAT GOD STILL HAS MANY THINGS IN STORE FOR HER LIFE. WE FEEL AS A FAMILY THAT GOD WILL USE THIS TRAGEDY AS A BLESSING TO OTHERS. THAT THROUGH TRAGEDY, WHEN CAN STILL COME THOUGH IT ALL A BETTER PERSON. MY MOM HAS ENDURED HARDSHIPS THAT ONLY PEOPLE COULD DREAM OF. SHE HAS LIVED WITH THE ACCEPTANCE OF THINGS LIVED AND LEARNED, THAT LIFE IS A JOURNEY OF ACCEPTANCE OF GOOD AND BAD, AND WE CAN ONLY BE THE PERSON GOD WANT US TO BE THROUGH TRAGEDY. THEN HE CAN SEE US THROUGH IT SO WHEN CAN BLOSSOM INTO TRIUMPH, GOD'S TRIUMPH. HE LIVES THROUGH US, POURING OUT BLESSINGS ONLY HE CAN GIVE. WE JUST HAVE TO BE WILLING VESSELS AND RECEIVE IT. WE OFTEN THINK OF A "WONDER WOMAN" AS I MIGHTY FIGHTER,ONE WHO HAS IT ALL TOGETHER. THE ONE WHO IS ALWAYS MULTI-TASKING, ON TOP OF COOKING AND CLEANING... PERFECT. I THINK A WONDER WOMAN IS A WOMAN WHO CAN REALLY APPRECIATE AND ACCEPT LIFE'S UNCERTAINTIES AND ACCEPT THEIR DOWNFALLS AND THEIR GIFTS WITH UTMOST DIGNITY. IT IS ALL ABOUT KNOWING YOU ARE ONLY AS STRONG AS YOUR WEAKNESS ALLOWS. IT IS UP TO YOU TO ACCEPT LIFE'S CHALLENGES AND DO SOMETHING REALLY MEANINGFUL WITH WHAT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED. THEN SOMEHOW SHARE IT WITH OTHERS. A REAL SUPER WOMAN IS ONE THAT LIVES THROUGH TRAGEDY AND COMES OUT A MORE COMPASSIONATE INDIVIDUAL WHO ACCEPTS ANYTHING LIFE THROWS AT THEM, BECAUSE WHEN IT COMES RIGHT DOWN TO IT, FAMILY IS ALWAYS THERE TO TAKE CARE OF YOU AND THAT IS THE BEST TRIUMPH OF ALL! GOD BLESS YOU MOTHER, YOU ARE MY ROCK, MY HERO, MY SUPER WOMAN!

2008-MY SISTER, ERIN, MY MOM, DANIELLE, AND BAILEE GRACE
MY MOM IS A FRIEND,A COMFORTER, A ENCOURAGER, A HERO, A SURVIVOR!



ANGUS CHEMICAL PLANT 2008



















MANY BUSINESSES WOULD NEVER BE REBUILT, WE GO ON AS BEST AS WE KNOW HOW. OUR HOMETOWN WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. WE ARE ONLY HERE BY THE GRACE OF GOD.















2 comments:

Scribbit said...

I've got the post link--to find the permalink for the post you just click on the post title and then copy the address that the URL field gives at the top of the page.

Audrey said...

Wow, this is quite a story. I'm so glad your mom is ok. I was scared reading about what might have happened.