Looking Back, Part 1

Hard to believe, but 5 years have passed since my sister Sarah, 18 at the time, was in a traumatic car accident. It was on a Monday afternoon, January 3, 2005, when our family received a phone call introducing a new chapter in our lives. Sarah had gone through a stop sign and was hit broadside by a semi truck going 65 mph. The impact caused her brain to rock inside her skull; she had an injury called brain shear.

Pictures in this post were not taken by Emily Schuurmans

I vividly remember the day my parents brought me into a small room near the Intensive Care Unit and explained to me that Sarah may not make it. The doctors had suggested we consider removing life support. “Things like this don’t happen to normal people,” I remember thinking. Family deaths, traumatic situations, severe trials, life-changing situations--these things were always stories, prayer requests from people far away. Things like this, like seeing your room-mate, your dear sister, lying in a hospital bed motionless, with cords, wires and machines surrounding her, breathing for her… that didn’t happen so close to home.

Reality hung in the air heavy and stiff. My dad asked me if I wanted to be alone to let what they just told me sink in, but that was the last thing I dared do. I couldn’t bear being left to digest the thought that I may have to say a one-sided goodbye to my sister. I was in denial, and I left the room to converse lightly with a cousin who had come to the hospital to visit. I didn’t last long, however, as grief began to sweep over me like I’d never known. I excused myself and quickly found a dark, secluded hallway with several vacant rooms. Closing the door behind me, I wept nearly uncontrollably. Surely this was a dream.

Click here for part 2.

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