FRAGILE LIFE

by Aubry Rose

My parents. Aren't they beauties?

My parents. Aren’t they beauties?

Today I have a guest author, one of my favorite people in the world: My father. I wanted to share his beautiful reflections on something that happened to our family this week. Enjoy.


I didn’t see him coming. We were coasting down Glenwood St hill, just below Hawk Ridge. As we approached the bottom of the hill, a Bronco-sized SUV was speeding up 43rd Ave. The driver did not slow down as he approached the end of the street and missed the stop sign.

He didn’t miss us.

I heard Rosey cry out an instant before I felt a huge impact on the passenger side. Her car, a compact Ford C-max, was flung across the street and meridian, coming to rest on the adjacent side street. The next few seconds are mostly a blur of air bags, acrid smoke, and the realization that we had just been in a major auto accident.

As the car staggered to a stop, I ask Rosey if she is ok, and she whispers that she is having trouble breathing. My left ear is loudly ringing, and I feel something wet on the left side of my face. Wiping my cheek, I notice that it is clear fluid. “Spinal fluid leak?,” I think, then realize that it is probably just water, and that I have been reading too many medical journals. I release my seat belt, open the door and collapse to the ground.

By this time there are a surprising number of people milling about. “Don’t move”, someone yells at me. I ignore his advice because I need to get to Rosey’s side of the car. An off-duty policeman jumps into the car and immobilizes Rosey’s neck. Quickly, the firemen are there, tearing off Rosey’s door, with the help of concerned passers-by. Gold Cross Ambulance arrives, and we are transported to St Mary’s hospital, me sitting in the front seat. “Put on your seatbelt”, the driver admonishes.  I silently thank the seat belts, air bags and car design that saved both of us.

Rosey gets the worst of the accident. Her pelvis is broken in a couple of places. We are both twisted and bruised. But, considering the event, we are blessed to be alive with such relatively minor injuries. We won’t need surgery, extensive rehab from brain trauma, or a wheelchair for the rest of our lives. Or the need to plan a funeral.

The accident occurred as we were driving home from a class at church. We have been studying the role of Mary in salvation history. The class is taught by Sister Anna Rose, and is comprised of almost entirely of women, except for me. As you might expect, I am my usual disruptive self in the classroom, grateful that Sister doesn’t have a ruler to spank me.

As I sit with my Rosemary in the emergency room, I reflect, again, on what a beautiful example she is to our family, and to all she touches. Like Mary, she is gentle yet strong, filled with faith and beauty. She thanks the nursing staff and doctors by name. Despite her pain, she asks all of us to pray for the young man who hit us, then fled away into the nearby woods. She wants to meet him someday to tell him that we forgive him. I am mostly angry at him, and disturbed by his leaving the scene.

The next day I attend weekday Mass at St Mary’s chapel. During the prayers of the faithful, Fr Tom asks, “and who and what else should we pray for”. I ask for perfect healing for gentle Rosey, my emotions surfacing as I barely choke out the words. After a moment to recover my voice, and in honor of my beloved, I also request prayers for the young man that struck our car, for his redemption and healing. I am surprised to feel my anger lessen, then fade away.

We generally soar through life, riding the gentle currents up and down, around the simple obstacles of our daily routine. Suddenly, an explosive downdraft pushes us into a deeper awareness of our mortality and the fragility of this existence. How life and death or disability are as close as the next heartbeat or breath or hospital visit or phone call or inattentive driver.

Today is May 22, Rosey’s birthday. We will gather at noon at St Mary’s Hospital Chapel to celebrate Mass and to pray for Rosey and for the gift of her life. I will likely shed tears of joy. Please join us if you are able. If you cannot be there in person, then send up a prayer for Rosey on her special day.

As friends and family shower us with supportive prayers and hugs, I am reminded of the important things in this life. I am thankful beyond words to all of you who so readily bless my grateful life with joy and wonder and love.

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