Monday, March 01, 2021

Tragedy, Blessings, and Hope: 2021 Has Forever Changed Our Family

 


"Rabbit, Rabbit".

I haven't been up to writing this post until today, but I wanted to share what has been going on the last weeks with me and my family. This is difficult to write and I couldn't help but cry as I was going through these photos, but I have to share what can happen to the victims of a drunk driver. 

A man decided to get drunk, got in his car, and hurt my family.

On February 3, 2021, the boys and I brought our dog Piper over to my parent's house to meet their new rescue dog Luna. Our dogs got along wonderfully and we had a long walk and a great visit. Luke, who is 16 and has a driver's learner's permit, was driving us home. Our house is only 4 miles away from my parent's house. I was in the front passenger seat, Isaac was in the back seat behind his brother, and Piper was in the back of our small SUV.


It was a clear day and we were almost home, stopped at a stop sign. We had to make a left on a normally very busy road.


Directly in front of us was a telephone pole, and slightly to the right was a huge concrete drainage cover. 

We were waiting to turn, the traffic on this small 2-lane road is always very busy. But suddenly the road cleared both ways and I remember telling Luke that it was a miracle that during 4:30 in the afternoon during a weekday it was all clear for an easy left turn. 

Suddenly our car was flying through the intersection incredibly fast and I heard Piper and Isaac screaming. I turned toward Luke and he had this horrified look on his face and was trying to keep the car on the road. We flew over both lanes, over a muddy ditch, and then slammed on the other side on an embankment. Our airbags did not deploy.

When we stopped moving my first thought was that Luke had wrecked the car and I couldn't figure out why he had accelerated so quickly. I couldn't hear anything as I was in shock, looked over at the boys and they were alive, so my first thought (insane) was to get out of the car and check the damage. 

I opened my door, tried to step out, and my right leg collapsed and I fell on my face in the mud. I was in shock and looked at all of the cars lined up on the road and I worried that those people in their cars were laughing at me because I was so clumsy. 

I got up, in pain, and looked at the back of my car, which was gone as it was completely smashed in. Suddenly I realized that this was not just Luke going too fast and having a fender bender. I looked where the back of my car used to be and Piper, my sweet pup, was crushed in the back, alive but bloody. He wasn't crying anymore, just looking at me and panting. He was also in shock and I rubbed his head once and started screaming for help.


Then I heard screams behind me and I realized that my children were hurt. I pulled myself to the front seat and found that Isaac's legs were crushed between the front and back seats and he was screaming in pain. He had blood around his mouth and I first thought he was internally bleeding, but later I found out that he had just bit his inside lip. I asked him if he was OK and he screamed "my leg is broken, my leg is broken". 

The front seat had broken and was lying on Isaac's leg and Luke was confused and in shock just sitting there. I asked Luke to try to help me get the seat off Isaac's leg but we couldn't shift anything. Meanwhile, Luke was completely out of it and kept on asking me what had happened, over and over again. I have never been so terrified in my life.

I realized I needed to call for help but my phone was somewhere under my seat. Thankfully some good samaritans had called 9-11 and within minutes the firetrucks showed up. The paramedics told me that Isaac's leg was broken, and they were going to have to use the jaws of life to cut him out of the car. They gave Isaac some pain meds. They asked my permission and I remember saying "yes, please", and that I "trusted their judgment 100%". Anything to stop my baby from being in agony. Luke and I had to get out of the car so they could cut Isaac out. 

That was when I noticed the big pickup truck that hit us was not too far from us, also on the embankment. Until this moment I had not realized that we had been rear ended and that there was another car involved.

Our car went to the left of the telephone pool and his car went to the right side of the concrete drainage cover. Neither one of us crashed into anything on the other side of the road.

I finally found my phone and tried to call my husband Paul, but he was seeing a patient and didn't pick up. I called the front desk and apparently was pretty incoherent because Paul raced from work not knowing if we were all alive. He said he had never driven with so much fear in his life. The cars were backed up around the wreck and he was driving around them when a police officer tried to stop him. He told him "I am not stopping, that is my family in that car!" and he was escorted to us.

At this point I realized Luke had a bad concussion, he was wondering around asking over and over again "What happened, is everyone ok, was it my fault, who was driving, where were we going, where were we leaving, is Piper ok, etc." It was nonstop, I would answer a question, he would say "ok", and then ask it again. I was frantic, convinced that he had a brain bleed, so I was running around asking for help. A paramedic looked him over and said he was ok, he was walking around and not high risk, and that Isaac was their first priority right then. 


I then asked about Piper, if they would try to get him out of the car too, and they said "Ma'am, we will take care of him, but your boys are our first priority right now". I felt like the worst mom for even asking about my dog when both my kids were so hurt, but at the same time devastated because Piper was a member of our family and we loved him so much and I couldn't get his panting, scared face out of my mind. 

I sat with Luke and Paul (who finally got there), crying and crying while they were cutting Isaac out of the car and loading him in the ambulance. Then I saw that they had cut Piper out of the back of the car. They pulled him out and he apparently had a broken back, because he was on the ground flopping around, trying to get up. It was horrifying, everything that was happening was horrifying. Then a Fire Marshall (later I found out he is a friend of my father) walked up with a shot gun and told me that they were going to have to use it on Piper. I completely understood, but asked if I could say goodbye. He told me it was better that I didn't and I know now he was right.

Paul told me that he heard the shots and looked over at me, but I was in so much shock over everything I didn't even hear them. I have no idea what happened to his body and I hate that I didn't get to say goodbye. Piper was a joy and he didn't deserve to die that way.

Luke and I went in one ambulance and Isaac in his own and Paul met us at the ER. Luke and I were checked out and I had deep tissue bruising and some shoulder/back pain and Luke had a bad concussion. Since there was so much intrusion in the vehicle they had to do CAT scans and X-rays on all of us. Luke and I were released that evening.


Isaac had a concussion and his femur was broken and dislocated. They had to put his leg in traction and brought him to the Houston Medical Center Children's hospital for surgery. They inserted a metal rod from his hip down to just above the knee. Paul went with him and stayed by his side 24 hours a day until he was released. I was home with Luke.


This was the before and after X-ray of Isaac's leg. I am so thankful I didn't see the "before" until they had the "after" image. 



Isaac had surgery on the 4th and they taught him how to get up and down the stairs (all of our bedrooms are upstairs and our powder bath and kitchen are getting renovated so no bathroom downstairs) and to get around on crutches.

He did great. 

And then my broken baby boy was sent home!


My parents really helped me out and went to the car salvage yard to clean out our car. I couldn't do it. They even brought home my old Mexican blanket I bought on a border town with my family when I was 13. That blanket has been with me almost my entire life and stays in every car I own.

They also found my little guardian angel pin that came with my car. I bought the car used from a little old lady (true story) and I asked her if she wanted it back. She said no, it would keep me safe. 

Now that pin is in my new car. I know God kept us safe, but that pin is staying in my car!


Both boys, to this day, have zero memory of the wreck. Luke remembers sitting at the stop sign, but nothing else until that night when we got home. Isaac can't remember anything that happened most of that day. He was really drugged up initially because his leg was incredibly painful. Paul sat there and cried with him. No father wants to see his 13-year-old son scream as his leg falls over to the side but his foot stays sticking up. 


We had a major a/c leak under our wood floors back in Oct/Nov and are in the middle of a major forced renovation. We have no kitchen/bath/running water on the first floor, and the rest of the first floor looks like an episode of "Hoarders". 


Funny, I thought this "Renovation of Hell" was one of the more stressful things I had gone through. That was before Feb. 2021 hit us.


But I had both of my boys home and we were all alive and would heal.  I was still crying all of the time, thinking about what my boys were going through and that Piper was dead. But as the days passed I started feeling a little less grief and felt blessed that we were all alive. And more and more anger toward the drunk driver that hit us.

We looked him up and he had 2 previous DWI's in the last 13 months, this was his third. He was so drunk that witnesses who had been passed by him on the road with the stop sign where we were hit said he was going 50-60 miles an hour and hit our car without braking. 

Our large bright red SUV with three neon yellow bumper stickers on the back asking people to "Please be Patient, Student Driver". 

There were no skid marks. No wonder I felt like we were flying.

How was the drunk? Well, he was peachy keen. So wasted (he completely failed the sobriety test) that they had to hold him up to "walk" him to the police car.  Paul said he was 10 feet away and could smell the alcohol on him. He is still in jail, apparently unable to pay his bond, and next month he goes to trial. They are charging him with Intoxicated Assault with Vehicle, Significant Bodily Injury. This should come with years of jail time and we hope we can make a statement.  For those people who say we are going to get rich from this accident, they are wrong. He is a 50-something unemployed couch-drunk who was wasted at 4:30 in the afternoon and living with a friend in an apartment just up the road. He isn't even on the lease. 

I told Luke next time he needs to get hit by a rich drunk. Maybe that joke was in bad taste, but you either laugh about it or you cry about it, and I am sick of crying.

This drunk had 2 DWI's in the last 13 months yet his car insurance sold him the minimum liability policy. At this point I don't know the extent of our medical costs, but it looks like it is going to be over a quarter of a million dollars. And Isaac might need additional surgeries and it will be a a year or two before a full recovery. And he has to have physical therapy. 

That drunk's insurance is paying out $60,000 total medical and $4000 for our car. We hope to find a Texas legislator willing to sponsor a bill that would raise the auto insurance liability minima for anyone with a previous DWI conviction, so if you know of any politicians willing to work with us, please let us know. 


So my active child has had to learn how slow down so he can heal. 


We were then hit by the Texas extreme arctic weather disaster. It was unbelievably cold and we lost power for 24 hours. It was 10 outside and 35 inside, except our bedroom (thanks to a generator which kept it a balmy 55). We had two teenage boys in our bed and 4 rats in the bedroom in their cage.

One pipe burst in the garage, but it didn't do much damage other than deprive us of water for a few days. 


Then more tragedy struck. Paul's sister Peggy, who has ALS, had her breathing assist machine's backup power fail when they lost power in Houston. She passed away, they weren't able to get to her soon enough. Her wonderful husband Leo was there with her, but no one else could be there with them because of all of the ice. Peggy was one of the most wonderful people I know. This was a horrible loss, and I blame the power grid/windmill failures in Texas for her death. Our family is heartbroken. Thankfully Leo and Peggy have two loving daughters, two grandkids, and all of the rest of the family to help Leo get through this dark time.


We don't get snow here in our part of Texas. Isaac has asked for years to go somewhere where there is snow because he wanted to play in it. So we finally had snow and we were going to get our kid out there in it. We were all so grief-ridden, and I needed to see a smile on my son's face. I had borrowed a wheelchair from my parents and we pushed Isaac around the subdivision through the snow and ice.  He loved it and even made a few snowballs. 

I can't tell you how much anger I felt toward that drunk because he deprived my son of having a rare snow ball fight with his family and friends. 


If I start counting our sorrows of 2021 the list becomes overwhelming. So we have decided to focus on the positives, as much as we can. That drunk has hurt us, but we aren't going to let him hurt us anymore.

We survived what could have been a deadly drunk driving wreck. It really was a miracle no one was on the road in front of us, stopped at the stop sign, or crossing the street. We would have been killed. Paul would have lost his entire family in one moment.

We are so blessed to be alive.

Isaac has started physical therapy and has graduated to a cane. We call him Mr Peanut.

Our house is still a mess, but things are getting done.

Both boys appear to be mostly recovered from their concussions, but it is doubtful they will ever remember the wreck. And maybe that is a good thing? I have physically healed, but sometimes am still haunted by the memory of seeing my kids and Piper, suffering, in the car after we were hit. I have cried myself out the last weeks. It is going to take us all time to heal emotionally. But we will get there.


Our friends and family have been so generous with their kind words, food, time, and support. We are so blessed.

Life has been tough lately, but I have realized that even though horrible things happen, life goes on and things almost always get better.

And we have a new bright spot in our life! I will tell you all about Bob Hoover (in the photo above with our family) in our next post. 

If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading. And please, don't ever let your friends and family drink and drive. That is why I want to tell our story; if we can stop one drunk person from getting into a car and driving it is worth it.

68 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for all that you have had to go through - words can not adequately express how much my heart goes out to you and your family. I will keep you all in my thoughts as you go through your recovery ((hugs))

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    1. Jo, thank you so much! Hugs to you and your family!!!

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  2. I am so terribly sorry. I have been a fan of yours for as long as I can remember and always enjoyed reading about your adorable family. I am anguished for you and will pray for your family. My son in law was in a serious accident in 2009 hit by a drunk driver and still suffers from it today. I totally get where you are coming from and agree if we can stop 1 person from diving drunk.......keeping you and your family in my prayers.

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    1. Tammy, I am so sorry to read about your son-in-law and his recovery. It is such a simple thing, don't get in a car if you are drinking. Now with Uber and such there is no reason why anyone drunk should drive. Thank you for your incredibly kind words! I will start posting more about our goings on, life gets busy and I stopped posting as much as I wanted. Now my kids are getting so big!!! Rita

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  3. God bless you and your family. I felt like I was there watching the entire accident with you. I can't even imagine the horror and suffering your children are enduring. Poor Piper. I hope a new pup is in your next blog! Piper would be happy about that, I'm sure.

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    1. Thank you so much Debbie! Yes, Bob Hoover is our new fur baby and I will be blogging about him. Some people said it was too soon, but this doggo has been so perfect in helping us work through our emotional trauma. He is a rescue, but I think he is rescuing us! I told the kids Piper sent him our way. Piper was the most loving dog and he is so missed. As is Peggy, the kindest most wonderful person.

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  4. Wow! It sounds like the hits just kept on coming for you in this last month! Thrilled you are all recovering but saddened by the loss of your beloved Piper and Peggy! Hang in there! It's only up from here!!!

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    1. Thank you Pattye! If someone had told me a few months ago we would be going through a remodel, a wreck, a death of a beloved relative and dog, our children harmed, and a horrible ice storm, I would think we couldn't handle it. But we have found the strength not only to make it through these times, but to count our blessings. And we have so many. Rita

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    2. I understand what it's like to have a year like that...believe me! Mine was 2011. Hold your hubby and your boys close. You have built a loving home (remodel notwithstanding! :)) and you are all strong enough to get through this together! Much love and positive vibes being sent your way!!!

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  5. I am heartbroken for you and so so glad it was not worse. I spent 27 years as a State Police dispatcher and I have an undying hatred for drunk drivers. They do so much damage, and so often they don't go to prison like I think they should. Many gentle hugs to you, again I am so glad it was not worse.

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    1. Holly, thank you. I have to admit I have the same hatred for drunk drivers. We are just so lucky to be alive. The sad thing is I imagine he doesn't even care what he did to our family. Probably will start drinking again when he gets out of jail and there is nothing I can do about it. I just pray he gets the maximum sentence and he actually learns something from this. Rita

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    2. I think any drunk driver that harms anybody should go to jail for the max time and life if they kill someone or cause permanent injury!

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  6. Good grief. and we thought 2020 was horrendous. You lived through a nightmare. I think it is good that your boys don't remember it. You made me cry too. The terror of watching your children and pet (who we all know is another child). You standing and your leg going our made me think of when my daughter and I were rear ended on the throughway (yep interstate 75, we were cut off by a semi , daughter slowed but the guy behind us didn't) lucky we were both fine but I needed a chiropractor I was out of alignment and had a horrible bone bruise, be careful that you don't need a back adjustment, if you are walking and saying "oh my hip. oh my but" you may need aligned, don't disregard it.
    I hope that Bob Hoover is a dog :) I know you can't replace Piper but there is another fur baby that needs your love.
    I have been looking at your blog for years. I found it once upon a time when I was looking for photoshop help.
    I have friends in Texas that had some crazy time during that crazy weather you experienced.. One of them said, "I moved from Buffalo, NY to get away for this..LOL" I only moved to Ohio to get away from it! Prayers for you, yours and your brother-in-law too.
    Prayers your son makes a full recovery and doesn't have any long term issues due to the broken leg and inserted rod.
    PS>>don't feel too bad about lack of a financial lawsuit we have a son that was injured by a doctor. The jury found the doctor "guilty of negligence, zero damages". zero damages? He has sever cerebral palsy thanks to the doctor. zero damages.
    I hope and pray that drunk never gets behind the wheel again.

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    1. Dria, 2020 looks like a great year compared to 2021 for our family. But things are getting better. I am so sorry to read about your wreck, that is horrible. I had a lot of pain the first weeks, but now I am getting better so hoping for a full recovery. But if not I will go in for sure. And yes, Bob Hoover is our new fur baby. We rescued him, but honestly he is rescuing us. It was just too quiet without Piper in our lives. I loved that dog so much, and Hoover is just a joy to have around. About the Texas Chill, I saw a meme saying "We enjoyed our 7 day free trial of an Alaska winter, but we want to cancel our subscription"! That was just too cold!!! And your poor son, I am so sorry to hear that. Thankfully we have a Christian Healthshare so we have help with our medical bills, but it is annoying that he doesn't have to pay financially for anything. I hope he is stuck in jail a LONG time. Maybe he will finally be able to conquer his alcoholism and become a better person. I told Isaac that and he said he will probably just make toilet wine in jail and stay drunk all of the time. Love that kid, he always makes me laugh!

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  7. I am so so sorry to hear all these terrible things that happened to you!! I was recently rear ended as well with both my boys in the car. My son was only 1. Thankfully, it wasn't nearly as devastating as this but it still scares me thinking about it. (The woman that hit us had had a stroke)

    I truly hope you can all heal, physically and emotionally from these events. I've been a fan of yours for years and have learned so much from you. I wish you and your family the best, sending you tons of love!!

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    1. Oh no, I am so sorry to read that. I hope you are all ok. And that poor woman who had a stroke. Thank you so much for your kind words. We are already on the road to recovery and doing so much better considering. All of this really makes us appreciate the little things. Rita

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  8. Oh my goodness I’m so sorry this happened to you. Just awful. I’m so glad you and your boys are ok ❤️

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  9. Oh Rita, Thank the Lord you all had angels watching over you <3 I feel the grief in your words... I know how hard it is to lose your fur babies, they are like 4 legged children. I am so thankful the three of you were safe.

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    1. Thank you so much Stephanie! You are exactly right. Piper wasn't just some dog, he was a member of our family and gave us so much joy. It was so hard that no one could save him. Of course I am so grateful my human kids are ok, but Piper's loss is difficult. But we rescued our new dog Bob Hoover and he is actually rescuing us. I think we are doing as well as we are thanks to this sweet mutt. I will be blogging about him. Rita

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  10. I pray that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive the drunk driver, for YOUR sake. Carrying the burden of hate in your heart will destroy you. May peace fill your heart with love and forgiveness.

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    1. Thank you! And you know, I realized today that I am not filled with hate toward him anymore. Anger absolutely. But you are completely right, if I carry around hate toward him then he is still hurting us and I won't allow that to happen. He is being punished and hopefully won't be on the road anytime soon. Now my husband, on the other hand, isn't moving on yet. He isn't ready. That drunk almost took out his entire family and killed his dog, so he is still working through that right now. Rita

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  11. Dear Rita;
    I was literally in tears as I read your post today. I can't begin to imagine the stress, grief and anger you've endured since the moment of the impact. To see your sweet dog, your sons, and your vehicle (the least of your tragedy) affected so profoundly by the actions of a drunk must have been the most awful time of your life. I'm so sorry to read about your dear sister-in-law, too. I don't know how a family could endure such sadness and pain.
    Please know that you and your family are in my deepest thoughts and prayers. I'll go to your GoFundMe and help as I'm able. I can also share a link to this post on my own blog and ask others to help, if they can (and pray if they're unable at this time).
    God Bless you and your loved ones.
    xoxo
    Donna

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    1. Donna, thank you so much for your kind words. You know, I did lose my car too, I really liked that car. Of course it was the least of our problems, but it did cause stress as I had to find another one and that one was such a great deal and really nice. Thank you so much for your prayers and your donation, we really appreciate it so much! We have had a lot of grief, the loss of Peggy is really heartbreaking. I wouldn't have thought we could make it through all of this either, but you know what, we are doing OK. We have each other and as trite as it sounds, we have so many blessings to count. We are going to be fine. Rita

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  12. I'm so terribly sorry this had to happen to you. Blessed Piper. :( So happy you are all alive.

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    1. Carla, thank you so much! We are so blessed and are able to see that, even though we are grieving for Peggy and Piper. Rita

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  13. Thank you for sharing your heartbreaking story. God is good. Even in the painful events.

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    1. EBPitcher, you are exactly right. God is good! And thankfully it wan't our time and I still have my sweet boys in my life. Rita

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  14. Oh, Rita! I was crying so hard as I read this post! I don't know you personally (only through your blog), but I'm shocked (and grateful) that you and your boys are alive. Looking at the photos, it was truly a miracle that you all got out of that as well as you did! I'm so, so, sorry that you lost your beautiful dog that way, too. Even though it was a horrific loss, at least your father's friend was able to put an end to his agony as quickly as possible.

    And then to have the loss of your sister-in-law in addition to what you have already been through... It's almost too much for one family to bear!

    I'm thinking of you, and will be praying for mental and physical healing for your family.

    I have just donated $50 US to the Go Fund Me page. So sorry that it can't be more, but I am currently on an Australian government Carer's pension. This will cease soon, as my mother recently passed away (I've been her carer for almost 17 years), and I will be applying for another payment soon. So, I don't really know how much income I will have after that.

    God Bless You All!

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    1. Robyn, thank you so much for your kind words. When I saw the car I was shocked that we were alive too. And if there hadn't been a clearing on the road in front of us, or if a dump truck (tons of that road) had been stopped in front of us at the stop sign, we all would have been crushed. I am so grateful my boys are alive and that Piper is not suffering. And the loss of Peggy almost put us over the top, but we have had time to process it and we are getting stronger. Thank you so much for your donation, we really appreciate it! Isaac is going to PT today, he is doing so well and working so hard on getting better. I hope you get a decent income once your current pension expires. And I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. She was so blessed to have you there to take care of her so many years. You are an amazing loving person. Rita

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  15. I am so so sorry your family had to go through this nightmare, I sat here crying through your recount of this tragedy. Poor little Piper, my heart just broke.... I hope this disgusting POS gets a long jail sentence, so that he won't be able to hurt anybody else. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Sending hugs and prayers

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    1. Thank you Anke! I cried as I wrote it, it was so hard going through the photos. I hope that drunk does get the maximum sentence and that he has time to dry out and rethink his life and become a better person. I know it probably won't go that way, but maybe he will learn from this. Rita

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  16. Wow! I am heartbroken for you. Why do the good people have to be the ones to suffer. Tears are flowing. Please know I will keep you in my thoughts. I wish you a very speedy recovery, physically and emotionally.

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    1. Thank you so much Lori! It has been a rough several weeks but it is getting better. Hugs! Rita

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  17. I have been in tears for you and your family since reading all you have been through. I am going to hug my family and dog a little more today. You have been through hell and back. Wishing you lots of love, happiness, more healing, and so happy that this had a happy ending. Enjoy that beautiful family of yours and take care.

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    1. Thank you so much Melissa! We are getting through this, just going to take time. But we are able to feel joy again, so it is a huge deal. Rita

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  18. So sorry for all this physical pain and heartache - please take good care and hug each other tight while you all heal.

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    1. Thank you Barbara! Yes, I am sure hugging my kids extra right now. I almost lost them. But we are strong and getting better every day. Rita

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  19. I could not read your post withoutr crying. I too was hit by a drunk driver. My daughter was with me. The drunk driver fled the scene. We had to get a lawyer to sue my own insurance company for money for medical bills and care for a year.
    You are blessed to be alive, and I am sorry your dog did not make it. What a horrible experience for all of you. God surely protected you all. It is a good thing your boys don't remember anything. This way they won't have nightmares about the accident. I pray it doesn't keep your son from wanting to continue to drive. My prayers are with your whole family. And God bless those helping you. You have certainly been through a lot with the accident, your relative's passing, and your re-model. This is a difficult time for you but I know you will come out stronger after reading your post.

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    1. Thank you Karen, thank you and you are so right! Yes, we are stronger since this happened and we realized that we can take on so much more than we ever realized. God is guiding us right now and helping us keep it together. I am so sorry to read about your experience with that horrible drunk driver. I hope you both are recovered. Rita

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  20. Thank you for sharing your story. You have brought so much joy to so many of us through your work and tutorials. I am happy I was in a position to contribute to your Go Fund Me. Blessings to you and your family as you continue to recover.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your donation. Hugs! Rita

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  21. I'm so sorry for all you have gone through, Rita. Healing and grief take time and often outside resources. Much love to your family.

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    1. Rosalie, thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it! Hugs to you and your family. Rita

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  22. I left a brief comment on your Facebook page but really had no words at the time. There are still no words that will make a real difference in what happened to you nor to ease the painful memories you will likely have for a long time to come. (I know this from experience... flashbacks are horrible, especially when your family is involved.) All I can add now is that you and your family and extended family are in my prayers for healing and for finding a way through your grief. This past year has been hard enough without all of the difficult experiences and loss you've had to face over the past few months. I'm so sorry about Isaac's injury, about the loss of Paul's sister, and of course, the loss of Piper. I will pray that the drunk driver will find a way to change the course of his life. I pray for your finances since it's obvious that you will be on the hook for whatever your personal insurance doesn't cover. I will pray for peace for all of you. Thank you for all you have given to all of us over the years. I only hope that the words we have all expressed lets you know how much we all care. Love and prayers from a long time follower. Marsha

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    1. Marsha, I haven't even had time to respond to all of the amazing comments on my Facebook page. I was blown away by them and they gave me so much comfort, so thank you! And thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. Yes, the memories are painful, but we are so blessed to be alive. And we mourn Peggy, and Piper, and need time to work though their loss. Peggy was an amazing woman and I hate that she is gone. Thankfully we have a really good healthshare and they have been very supportive and are working with us on all of the bills. And our GoFundMe account will cover Isaac's PT and help with our new car payments. So l am going to concentrate on counting my blessings and thanking God that I have my kids here to hug. Rita

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  23. Dearest Rita, I just cried and cried when I read this. Sending you lots of hugs and healing light. xo

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    1. Oh, thank you so much Rosa! And hugs back to you, I really appreciate your kind words. Rita

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  24. I have been a fan of your site for years now. When I popped on to see if you'd posted anything new I was astounded to read your story and cried through the whole thing for you and your entire family. No one should have to go through all of that if such a short time and this should entitle you all to many years of tragedy free living!!! (And yes, many many years of prison time for the drunk who hit you!!)

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    1. Sherry, YES on the many years of prison time for that drunk. Just hoping justice is served. I have, on occasion, wished Texas had a firing squad for a 3rd time offender like him that almost killed my kids and murdered my dog, but I am working through that. I am not going to let him hurt us any more. I am just so blessed my kids are ok and I can hug them and hold them tight! Thank you so much for your kind words. Rita

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  25. So sorry for all that your family has been through. Prayers for continued healing, peace and provision.

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    1. Thank you so much Julie, we really appreciate your prayers and kind words! Rita

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  26. Oh Rita! I am so sorry. Hugs and good juju to you all!

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    1. Thank you Vicki, we really appreciate it! Rita

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  27. I have no words to express just how incredibly sorry I am for everything that you and your family have had to endure so far this year. I, like many of your other readers, cried as I read just how awful these past couple months have been. There are no words that can help to alleviate your pain. So much loss and devastation in such a short period of time. My sincere condolences on the loss of Paul's sister and of course your sweet fur baby Piper. It was such a joy when Piper first came into your family and so very sad now that you have lost him. While no other dog could ever replace him, it does look like there is a new fur baby on the scene that might help with your healing. I wish your family the best with all your recoveries, your finances, your remodel and continued healing of body, mind and soul. One can only hope that a politician will be willing to help change things and make it more difficult for people like that to even be on the road at all. Sending you hugs and prayers and hope that each day gets just a little bit easier. ♥Lisa D.

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    1. Lisa, I have missed seeing your lovely comments, probably because I haven't been posting much recently. Thank you so much for your kind words. Peggy is so missed by everyone. She was a ray of light and everyone loved her so much. I feel so much for her husband and children and grandkids. She has the most loving family. And we miss Piper so much, he was such a wonderful friend and companion. As you mentioned, we rescued a new fur baby and he is an angel and has rescued us. I am going to blog all about him. I think he has been great therapy, he has had his own issues since he was an owner surrender and lost his own family where he had lived as a member of their family for almost 2 years, since he was a tiny puppy. So taking care of him and showing him that he is safe and a member of our family has been so therapeutic for us. I told the boys Piper sent him our way because he knew we needed him. We are hoping that drunk gets the maximum sentence (since apparently I can't request a firing squad in Texas). I can just pray that he stays off the road and doesn't hurt anyone else. And who knows, maybe this will encourage him to turn his life around. I truly hope so, if only to keep other people safe. And I can guarantee my kids won't drink and drive or let their friends do so after living through this crash. Anyway, it was a horrible Feb., but I am going to count our blessings so we can continue to heal. Things are already calming down and we are getting stronger. Hope you and your family are doing great! Rita

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  28. Yeah, sorry I haven't been around as much. Life has been a bit chaotic and me and my some of my family have been going through our own series of medical problems. Getting online and getting everything done has become a bit of challenge for me but I think of you often wondering how you and your family are fairing and whenever I see a post for a new freebie I file them away to come over when I do get the time.
    Peggy's family must be in their own kind of hell, especially considering how it happened. Such an awful thing but thankfully it seems that they are there for each other sharing their strength with one another. I can only imagine how much Piper's loss has affected you guys. We've lost our own fur babies throughout the years and it has been devastating but the way you lost him is just so much more painful. You are probably right--Piper used his angelic influence to send you someone to help heal your family and it looks like you guys were meant to come together to help heal each other.
    I just don't understand how someone like that was still able to be on the road with a license. It doesn't make any sense to me. From your lips to God's ears. Let's hope that something positive comes from this tragedy. I am glad that life is starting to calm a bit so that you all can continue to heal from the various traumatic events you've enduring during the start of this year. All my best to you and yours. ♥Lisa

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    1. Lisa, thank you for your kind words, I am just getting to answering these comments. I hope things have settled down in your family and things are going ok. We are all doing much better, time heals so many wounds. Thankfully we have Hoover the dog now, he really brings a lot of joy. Plus our renovations are almost finished and I have a working kitchen again which is wonderful! Anyway, I hope you are doing ok and always look forward to your comments. Rita

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  29. I have been a fan of your site for years but never commented. My deepest condolences for your family.

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    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! Rita

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  30. I am so sorry. Reading this made me cry. I was in a car wreak many years ago and I remember how painful it was to rely of my family for everything. I never thought I would get better. At the time I wasn't a dog lover, but someone gave me a runt of a litter. a beagle. That dog got me through the hardest days of my life. I had him 13 years. I hope you fur babies get you through this. I am so sorry your family is going through this.

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    1. Thank you so much Renee! Dogs bring so much comfort. Our new rescue Hoover has been a godsend, he is so sweet and good-natured. Rita

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  31. Rita, I'm not sure if I've ever commented, but I've read your blog for years. My heart breaks for this tragedy, but am so glad ya'll are alive. I am sorry you lost your sweet pup. That is so difficult and then with everything else going on in your lives. I can't imagine. My dad had ALS and I know what a terrible disease that is. I'll pray that your family heals both physically and emotionally from all this. ((sending huggs from Alabama))

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    1. Lysha, thank you so much for your prays, we really appreciate it! Things are going much better, time really does help heal many wounds. We really miss Piper but we have Hoover now and he is such a joy. And yes, ALS is a horrible disease, I only hope they are able to one day have some treatment for it. Peggy is much missed. I have been to Alabama, love your beaches and such nice people! Rita

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  32. I am so sorry!! I just want to hug all of you!! Please sue the driver because eventually he will get a job, unemployment, etc and they can garnish his wages!

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    1. Solarra, thank you! Unfortunately we can't sue him, but last I heard he is still in custody (can't make bail) and hopefully will be put away for many years. At least that will protect others. Rita

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  33. Condolences to you and your family for Piper. So glad you are getting through this though.

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    1. Thank you so much Yan! We are doing so much better. Rita

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