Monday, October 27, 2014

Tell someone you love them today

October 27. For many it's just another day on the calendar, a time when the weather has turned cooler, the nights longer, and perhaps Halloween plans are on the mind. For me it holds a special meaning: on this date nine years ago I learned just how precious life is.

October 27, 2005. My wife was driving our oldest two, then 5 years old, to kindergarten, as she had done every day that school year. As she was turning out of our neighborhood and onto the main highway, she was hit broadside by a teenage driver that ran a red light. To this day she does not remember the impact. She remembers turning, then the strange sensation that the van was falling over, but doesn't remember the impact itself.

I'll likely never know what exactly distracted the other driver, but he not only missed the red light, he didn't even see the other cars that had stopped at the light. At the last second he pulled onto the shoulder and shot through the intersection at about 70 mph, hitting my wife with enough force to roll a 5,000 pound van.

The entire side of the van caved in. To see the wreckage, no one should have survived, least of all anyone sitting in the rear seats. Miraculously my wife suffered only a few bruises and scratches, but both boys were critically injured. The airbag kept either from hitting the window, but it did not prevent them from hitting each other. Both boys suffered severe concussions, and Austin suffered a fractured skull and cheekbone. He spent the next 12 hours in and out of consciousness. I spent much of that day in the pediatric ICU praying they would make it.

October 27. I thank God for his provision that day. Any other day, my wife would have had all 5 children in the van. That day, I was working from home and had the youngest three with me. The middle row - the center of the impact - was empty.

This morning I had breakfast with my boys, now 14 years old. I am thankful for the strong, intelligent, and Godly young men they are becoming. I am forever aware of how fleeting life is, of how close they came to not growing up.

In a cruel twist of irony, today I mourn the loss of a friend, killed in a car accident Saturday morning. He and I had worked together off and on for about 15 years, and he was one of those colleagues I genuinely liked, instead of just got along with. Life is fragile, life is uncertain.

Take a minute today to tell someone you love them. Give a friend a hug. Spend a few extra minutes with a child at the dinner table. Make time for coffee with a friend. You never know when it may be your last chance to do so.

Do you have something to add? A question you'd like answered? Think I'm out of my mind? Join the conversation below, reach out by email at david (at), or hit me up on Twitter at @dnlongen