Some of you may know that this past May, a very close friend of mine was in a really bad car accident. So bad in fact, that I wasn’t sure she was going to live. To say this turned my world upside down puts it mildly, the last time I was this grief stricken was the day my father died, if that puts it in perspective. Kelly is one of those really special people who lights up a room whenever she enters. She is kind, caring, funny and will do anything for anybody.
Not long after the accident, I flew to Seattle to help in whatever way I could and to join the literally hundreds of other people who knew and loved Kelly in a massive prayer chain to bring her through this catastrophe and give her back to us. It was a very rough week for me and I was in no way prepared to see what had happened to her and to realize how very little I could do for her. Much of the time I spent just trying not to cry and to keep her gorgeous girls occupied. Really, it was in God’s hands and all we could do was pray and send her our love and hope for the best. There wasn’t much sleeping or laughing going on but there was a lot of love and a sort of instant kindredness among all us. Lots of hugs and tears and smiles and hand squeezes. We all wanted the same thing – for our Kelly to get well and weather the storm.
The day I returned to L.A. from Seattle I discovered Kelly said her first words. And fittingly they were to her mother, Charlene. She said, ‘thank you’ when she saw Charlene straightening up her hospital room. Somewhat startled Charlene went to Kelly’s bedside and and looked closely at her daughter and said, “Do you know who I am?”
Kelly said, “yes.”
Charlene asked. “Who am I?”
Kelly said, “Mom.”
And that was the beginning of the miracle. Not only had she lived through a 60 mph impact into her standing still car, she spoke and she remembered her mother. Over the ensuing weeks, I read her brother’s email updates on her progress and it was amazing, lesser men would have died. But Kelly with the spirit of a team of Clydesdales pushed through to each next level with flying colors. Still, I have to admit, I was worried and wondered how much of her memory she had lost. If she had sustained any serious or long term brain damage. If she would be Kelly again. I knew while I was there she didn’t know me. In fact, I’m not sure she has any memory of that week at all. I worried (selfishly) that maybe she would never remember me and we would have to find our way to friendship in a new chapter.
I worried too about her young daughters, her brothers, her parents, her husband – if they too would get their Kelly back.
Today, my prayers were answered. I called her mother to get an update and to see where I could send cards and such to Kelly (since she’s been constantly been transferring to new facilities) and Charlene told me that Kelly now has a cell phone that she is talking to friends on. Charlene gave me the number and of course I called it immediately. Unfortunately, I got the voice mail and left a message.
For hours afterwards, every time the phone rang, I jumped and grabbed it, hoping to hear her voice. When I finally gave up the hope that I’d hear from her, she called. When she said my name I started to cry from pure joy. It was my Kelly. It was really her. The relief and gratitude I felt I simply can’t describe. We talked on the phone for nearly an hour and it was just as though nothing had happened. I have my friend back. I didn’t lose her after all. And I’m so glad because I just couldn’t have imagined life without her.
So thank you, a million times to all of you who prayed for her, hoped for her and her family. Who sent out your love to a stranger, only because I asked you to. Your prayers have worked and have helped to create this wonderful miracle.