The rolling hills of fresh powder looked serene on the hill before us. The storm had piled over three feet of fresh snow in less then 24 hours and we were there, excited to be the first to make an imprint.
The kids were already digging in, jumping and rolling ahead of us, ready to explore the adventures that the mountain held. It seemed perfect, until the drastic turn of events where within minutes we had a lifeless body in our arms.
All it took was one throw, one hard surface, and one child to bring our trip to a screeching halt. Eugene was at the lower end of the hill, holding Derek. I was up a little higher, screaming for someone to hear me. "We need help. We need help!" was all I could think, but although my frantic cries seems to echo in my mind I was also unheard.
All I could do was cry out to my God, as I watched from the distance. Where from what I saw I will also never forget the state of my son. He was not breathing for the first minute, unresponsive the next, and moaning in the next two. His eyes were back and his body had no movement.
By the time I had a chance to slide to the bottom, I was thankful that he was screaming in pain. Breathing, at least. Feeling pain, at least. Recognizing us, at least. But even though I felt tremendous relief, we also didn't know how severe his injury was or could become.
Back at the lodge, we faced more uncertainty. The first aid staff, had already left for the day. The fire department would take as long as it would for us to drive to an urgent care facility and after much contemplation, we decided to wait a couple of hours to see if things would get better or worse.
In between hearing my son throw up for the next few hours, I went in and out of tears. I couldn't let him go or even see him shut his eyes without falling apart. I was so scared. I was so broken. And I had so many questions as well as regrets. But as the dark of the night fell upon our small room, I knew I also had to let go.
I could hear his deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling. Comforting me and then encouraging me to do the same. But somewhere deep, in a place that I have never been to before, I was aching. I could feel a pain that ran through my whole body with a tension that I couldn't break of out of. So much so that when I tried to breath, it felt more like I was gasping for air, whispering, "heal him" in between breaths.
I kept thinking about each minute of that day. Replaying the event, until I saw nothing else but the presence of God. I saw him strategically put us in a position where we were so close to help but yet not close enough to reach it. Until all we could really do, was reach out to him. It was almost like he stopped the activity of people and made sure that no one would see us, so that we had a better chance of looking for him.
It was like he placed me far enough away so that I would see the severity of the situation without seeing every detail of the moment. Almost like he knew every fear and thought that I would ever have or let live if I was exposed to the scene. So instead, he put my husband in a state of weakness and then challenged him with complete submission.
I began to see him occupying my other two kids. I began to firmly believe that before the black-out he also positioned my son's body in a way where his stomach first hit the small box he had in his pocket. I saw him right there, making a decision to put life back into a broken body. Bringing breath back into his lungs, healing to his stomach, memory to his mind, and peace inside of his heart. Until all we had left was a broken cardboard box filled to the top with innocent, 9- year old treasures.
I lay there long enough to feel like I could finally fall asleep, that nothing could go wrong because it already had a chance to. And that life's uncertainty had already been met by grace and mercy, by a God that loves his children.
With Easter only weeks away, it reminded me that he felt everything I felt as he watched his son from a distance as well. That he was just as hurt and broken as I was and that his gasps for air were nothing compared to mine. I can't even imagine.