Every year this date comes around I wish I could forget and just go on like it’s any other day, but it’s not and I get reminders from a lot of sources, mostly my heart. My husband has loved motorcycles since he was a small kid. He has always had one and was a very safe and careful rider. But, on May 7, 2006 it didn’t matter that he had on his chest protector or his helmet or that he wasn’t going but maybe 10 miles an hour. This is one of those days that bad things happen to good people.
When I started this blog, I started with my journal of the first day that the accident happened so I thought I would repost the first three days of my life for the people who haven’t read the first of my blog. ( I didn't have many followers back then). Looking back at what happened to Dennis and what happened to me during this time, I can honestly say that we could not have made it through this without God being a big part of our lives. It was God that sustained us and on the days when I truly did not think I could go on, He got me through. I have many friends who are not Christians and that’s OK, it’s not my right or my job to judge, but I thank God every day for His mercy and grace that got Dennis and I through the Valley of the Shadow of Death and is still walking beside us every day that we go through this journey still. Here are the first days of my journey.
May 6, 2006. This is the day that changed our lives forever. It’s so weird when you say that because I used to read that phrase in books and never really thought about it. When it happens to you it takes on a whole new meaning. I was just going to blog about that day but as I’m typing I decide to just write the events like I wrote them in my journal by hand after that evening. That day I was looking online in the Stillwater newspaper to see what the job market looked like. My daughter claimed there were absolutely no jobs to be had and I was determined to help her out. As it turns out there were no jobs she liked, but there were jobs. I was concentrating on the help wanted ads when I heard my friend Debbie yelling at me. She was yelling in a way that I knew she was serious. She said that Dennis had been in a wreck and it was bad. Dennis had been working long hours the week before and he came home to go ride his pretty new motorcycle at the track here by Fairview. Well, I ran to my closet because I needed shoes and I was standing in my closet thinking I had on a pair of black sweats and a pink t shirt that had Clorox stains on it. I was looking around trying to color coordinate what shoes would go with pink. (I know it doesn’t make sense but I think I was in shock). Debbie grabbed my arm and told me to pick some and come on. I prayed all the way to the hospital and I tried very hard to not let in the fear that I could feel was about to suffocate me. When we pulled up to the parking lot there were so many people there standing around and that is when it sunk in how bad it really was. Blake (Debbie's son) grabbed me and I can remember telling him that I couldn’t live without Dennis. Dennis and I had been married 26 years at this point and we had the most blessed and happy marriage. When I got in there I had to wait and it is kind of a blur. There are moments I can remember vividly and then there are blanks. I called his mom and dad. I called my mom and my aunt Wanda. I can remember thinking ok Cheri, this is where you walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I kept thinking God I know you're here please help me be strong. Little did I know what I was about to go through.
The moment that sticks in my memory as the worst was when Dennis’s best friend Max Carlisle broke down in the waiting room. I had never seen Max cry before and he was so drained from just saving Dennis's life and then getting him to safety. It was almost more than I could bear because I knew that if he broke down, it had to be bad. Little did I know that if it weren’t for Max, Dennis would not be alive today. They let Max and I see Dennis before the helicopter took him to OKC. As we watched the helicopter fly off, I remember holding on to Don, Dennis’s brother, once again telling him that I could not go on without Dennis.
I packed a bag and Max, Debbie and I headed for the City. I had to call my daughter who she was in the middle of softball practice, so I couldn‘t reach her. My brother Scott went to the field and got her and she called me sobbing. I told her to have Jessica and Caleb drive her to OU medical center and I would meet her there. My sister in law Gretchen was in the City and she was there when the helicopter landed. We got there and Max and I had a meeting with the Doctor. The prognosis was not good. When I went back out to the ER waiting room there were more and more people trickling in. I looked at Debbie and said “I cannot be Dana Reeves” she replied, no you can’t. Little did I know that I would be just like her and more. We had 39 people in the ER waiting and room and everyone held hands including two men who we didn’t know, but the wanted to join our circle. We went around the room and anyone who wanted to pray could do so. The little man that I didn’t know had a lovely prayer and you could feel God’s presence in the waiting room.
We had the E.R doctor come and talk to Max and I and then Max asked to pray with him. I finally got to go back to where they had put Dennis but I don’t think he knew I was there. He had no feeling in his legs and I remember thinking its ok, God will fix this. My friend Jana, Max and Mike Ewing stayed the night in the trauma waiting room and the next day I had reality staring me in the face and I went in to complete denial. I’m talking about the "sticking your head in the sand" kind of denial. My fairy tale life was awesome and surely God would not allow such calamity to come in to our lives. This man was a true servant of God and loved Him with all his heart. This could not happen to us. I liked living in denial….