Sunday, January 08, 2006

Guardian Angel

Wow... I got this in my email this morning and was just stunned. Y'all remember not so long ago I posted about my visit to Sgt. Michael Stokely's grave. I received this email from Mike's dad, Robert, today ~ he and his daughter were in a HORRIFIC car accident Saturday evening. An accident so horrrific, one or both of them could have easily been killed or critically injured. However, miraculously, literally, they both survived and are home recovering. Robert very kindly gave me permission to share his email with y'all ~ please keep him and his daughter in prayer... and heed the safety warning contained in this email, also! Thanks y'all!

Abbey (Mike's 13 year old sister) and I were in a terrible car wreck at about 5:00 p.m. Saturday in Fayetteville GA. We were hit broadside by another car that "shot" out of a shopping center parking lot from our right. The car hit our front quarter panel as I steered hard left to avoid and then the car raked down the passenger side, ripping the door off where Abbey was sitting. We then flipped and cartwheeled two to three times (believe it or not, I actually counted two), winding up headed in the direction from which we had just come.

Abbey was transported for head and neck trauma but released after approximately six hours of treatment and observation. She is very sore and in much pain and will have further check out first of week. Needless to say, she was and is very scared. But, as soon as the car came to rest and she collected herself, and cried out for me in worry that I was hurt - and kept saying "are you all right; dad are you hurt?" I was getting her out of the car and to the side of the road, worrying about another car hitting us or something - fright and flight instinct. As I lay her on the shoulder of the road she began touching me to check me out and kept asking for assurance that I was o.k. All the way to the hospital, Abbey continued to call up to me as I rode in the front, wanting to know that I was o.k. Throughout the night she kept asking if I was o.k. For a 13 year old, she has shown so much strength, composure, and poise during Mike's death, and again today.
I am walking wounded, bruised left ribs, neck sore, knees and ankles stiff and hurt pretty bad; both hands and thumbs really stiff and sore from gripping steering wheel.
Needless to day, car is totaled, and the right side is mangled. Oddly, the other driver had a front license plate, which is imbedded in the right front quarter panel of Retta's car.
I will say this plainly and matter of factly - my daughter would be dead tonight but for the Will of God. I say this because of what happened and didn't happen, but also, because of an inward voice that God continued to speak throughout these past 8 months or so as Retta and I looked at different new cars. That voice continually demanded to me to only consider a car with top side impact safety rating, and only if it had side curtain and side air bags. On Novemeber 5, 2005, we bought Retta a 2006 Honda Civic with such equipment and safety rating, and that is what I was driving today. When we bought the car, we had a dual purpose that Retta would drive the car for three years, and then it would be Abbey's, and we wanted her to have a car with such safety features and rating. In my job, I see a lot of wreck cases, and with younger drivers, side impact has become a major injury factor.
I urge you each to always consider your car choice in the future, and look at side air bags and more importantly, side curtain, for that is all Abbey had between her and the pavement as we rolled and cartwheeled, and that protected her head. If you have any doubts as to why you should wear a seatbelt, then know this, that is all that kept Abbey from being ejected and had she been ejected, the consequences would have been serious injury or death. But remember, a car can have such safety equipment and still not have a good side crash test rating - you have to check it out and the Insurance Institute Web site is very informative as they have the stricter standards than the Government Highway Crash Testing ratings.
It is now well after midnight and over into Sunday morning. Retta is tending to Abbey, and I am now starting to shake inside with the fear of almost losing another child, but thankful to God that I didn't. I doubt I can sleep this night and I am not sure I want to at this point. I am laying in Mike's room, on his bead, looking at his pictures, and the dirty clothes still in his laundry basket from May 1 and 2nd when he was last here with us. I just want to be near his things, and in his room.
We are coming up on five months since Mike died from an IED in Iraq. Some of the guys in Iraq who were iinjured by a subsequent IED and then injured and nearly killed when the med evac crash landed into them, think that Mike was with them that night, as their guardian angel. Maybe, today, God used him again. But, for certain, God was in charge both times, and today, as he did for Mike's fellow soldiers, he spared Abbey's life and kept her from serious injury.
I am going to be 53 in a few more days and God gave me an early birthday present came early - my daughter is alive.
Robert Stokely


Georgia Blogger