Like accidents do, it happened quickly and unexpectedly. I was the first to hear the impact. I knew immediately it was the sickening smack of a car. I heard the scraping and crunching of plastic and glass. I was standing and running when I heard more smashing and crashing. In my mind, I was rushing to render aid in what sounded to me to be a bad car accident just outside a relative’s house. I took a route through the house calling attention to what was happening outside.
As I pulled the front door opened, I could make out that it was my car settled on the the lawn and smashed deeply into and onto a family members beauitful new car. The engine was revving as if someone continued to press down on the accelerator. Somebody was, and that somebody was Ethan.
I knew it in an instant, but I froze. Dennis pushed past me and ran toward the car. Ethan continued to rev the engine and Dennis was furiously pounding on the window in an attempt to get him to stop. I could hear Dennis yelling. I waited inside, assuming that there were family members helping Dennis. As Dennis tells it, Ethan finally took his foot off the gas, put the car into ‘park’ and unlocked the doors. I remember wanting to make sure that our other boys did not go out of the house, as I was not sure in what condition Ethan would exit the car. My heart was racing and I could not catch my breath. I began praying to God that he was ok — I almost got on my knees in that instant — but ended up pacing and hyperventilating (and praying) instead.
Ethan emerged shaking and crying and completely terrified. He was pale and hung his head low. I don’t know if I hugged him or touched him or what I did, but I know that seeing him sitting whole and unscathed on the couch was more than I could process in the moment. I think this was my first experinece with true shock. I could not stop crying and absorbing exactly what had just transpired in a matter or moments was hard.
There were explanations to the police officer and phone calls to the tow truck, more pacing and the asking of ‘what-if’. What if the pristine Mercedes Benz did not stop him in his tracks? What if he made it onto the busy, main road ahead? What if someone had been walking down the road? What if….but he was safe and sound and so was everyone else. The thought completely overwhelmed me. It made the details of the police report, insurance phone calls and monetary expenses seem positively trivial. We could have been planning very different details. But we weren’t.
We are so grateful for our family that helped us during this scary event. Ethan knew he had made a really bad choice, that his actions resulted in something serious. I believe that he is still processing what he did. We’ll all work through it together.
As one of Dennis’ aunts was sweeping up debris at the accident scene, she found something among the shards of broken glass. She walked toward me with a closed fist telling me to look at what she had found – a stirling silver, four leaf clover charm – a typical symbol of ‘luck’. It did not belong to anyone we knew and there it was lying with the broken pieces. I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe in signs. I can’t say that I know all the messages delivered by this event – but I am thankful for what God did for us and still listening to what message He has in store for our family. I am listening.
This could have been a tragedy, instead it is an inconvenience. We’ve developed new skills and more wisdom – you’re kids have to be alive for you to want to kill them! We woke this morning grateful to hear Ethan’s laughing at his shows.