On the day of the crash, my father received a phone call informing him of the severity of our injuries, and the urgency of his arrival to Calgary. He, my sister and brother, dropped everything that very moment and drove throughout the night to Foothills Hospital. While mine and my mother’s lives were changed the second our vehicle was hit, so were the lives of my family members. Today I would like to share my perspective on their experience, because an impaired driving crash does not only affect those who were in the vehicle. Their journey is important.
My father, Larry, left Nelson behind for close to four months in 2013. He lived out of a suit case, slept in a hotel, and spent every moment of the day at the hospital. On rare occasions he would take a day off, or venture back to Nelson. The longest period of time he was away was to attend a fundraiser, created by the incredible community of Nelson, BC. While I will spend time writing posts about the support we received from our community, I will quickly state now that without this fundraiser, I honestly do not know how my father could have continued to be by our side. At the end of August, I was sent to a Rehabilitation facility on the other side of Calgary, making my father’s life just a little bit more complicated. However, he continued to make the journey out to see me and brought me to see my mom whenever I had a “day pass”. One day in early September, my father came to see me to state that mom had to be moved to Kelowna to see a new specialist, the Calgary medical team could no longer help. I was lost for words, and just cried. Not only was my mom going to be away from me, my personal caretaker, friend, and father had to leave as well. While it did break my heart, I knew my mom needed him. Both my mother and father eventually returned to Nelson, with my mom going to the Nelson Hospital, and my dad just a short drive away. However, their journey did not end there. Mom was continuously sent to Kelowna and Vancouver to see new doctors, spending days to weeks there. Larry was by her side the entire time.
I cannot understand the pain and suffering my father went through, or is still currently going through. Additionally, I cannot understand how my sister, Zoe, and brother, Liam, dealt with everything during that summer. Liam was only 16 when the crash happened, Zoe 22. I have been told, that when they arrived to Foothills hospital, my family was told my mother was there, but was in a coma and had hours to live. The graphic photo you see is taken by Liam, quickly before the doctors came back into the room. I arrived in Calgary shortly after by airplane, in an induced coma and critical condition. I have never seen someone I love in this state. I have seen my mother weeks after the crash in critical condition, and I have seen her struggle for years after. However, my brother and sister saw their mother this way. They both eventually had to return to Nelson, and continued to hear updates from my father. With Liam only being 16, Zoe left her own apartment and moved in with Liam into our family home. Even though they both were deeply affected by this crash, Zoe and Liam continued to stay strong and positive for us, and still do.
At the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Conference, I meet so many people who are in pain, feel lost, and are angry at what has happened in their life, and many of them have lost loved ones to an impaired driving crash or have a loved one injured. These people, much like my father, brother, and sister, are just as much victims to this senseless act as my mother and I. While this post is an extremely short explanation of my family’s journey, I hope it reaches out to someone. Whether that be someone who is struggling currently, or someone who didn’t fully understand how impaired driving impacts so many lives.