Part 2: Accidents & Answered Prayers (6 Degrees of Separation)

There is a phenomenon referred to as 6 degrees of separation.  It is a theory that says everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world.  That each and every person in the whole world is connected by “a friend of a friend” in 6 steps or less.  With every year of age, I believe this to be true.  While it may be explained away by research and statistics, I believe more in divine intervention.
If you haven’t read part 1 of this post, you can find it HERE.  It may fill in some blanks for you and catch you up to speed.
After Kennedy’s accident, our life moved on quickly, as it tends to do.  We have moved cities 5 times since then, keeping our roots in Nebraska.  We landed in Hastings 4 years ago.
Last December I was out to dinner with two of my more recent girlfriends that I met through our Hastings MOPS program.  We were exchanging stories of a local friend we all knew well and her story of loss.  The conversation continued with story after story of people we knew, and some we didn’t, that suffered a tragedy.
My friend “D” started speaking of a family her friend knew.
“There was a fire, a freak accident while vising family out of the country.  They lost their baby girl in the car fire.” she said.
My ears perked up.
I listened as she told the horrific story – one that was so familiar to me.  As “D” stated details, I kept checking things off in my head that I remembered hearing myself so many years prior.
Could this really be the same family I met nearly 14 years ago in a hospital waiting room???
I could not believe what I was hearing.  My new friend, had a best friend, that knew the family that we met in the burn unit years ago.
Couldn’t be the same family, right?!  But how could it not??
“When did this happen?”, I asked.
After my friend calculated the math (based on the ages of her children and what stage of her life she was in when this happened – because that’s what we women do, right! 🙂 ) she settled on 13 or 14 years ago.  I started asking questions based on what I remember the couple telling us about the accident that took their daughter’s life.  D answered each question, and seemed puzzled at how I knew what to even ask.  She had more “meat” to the story, which shattered my heart for this family, even more than it already was.  That day in the waiting room, they told us the bare minimum.  What this family endured that day, and weeks following, was absolutely heartbreaking.
“You guys are not going to believe this.  I met this family.  I was there with them at the burn unit when my daughter was having surgery!” I said in shock.
I explained that I had met a family with a similar story, that they’ve been on  my mind and my heart all of these years.  I was sad, learning more details about their tragedy.  Oh…my momma heart.   I was hopeful of finding out how this family is all of these years later.
The three of us talked about the strange coincidence and God’s hand in it.  We resolved to find out more about this family.  I needed to know they were “okay”…that their marriage survived the storm…that they had been given a chance at a happy life despite such a tragic event.
I rushed home, spilled my heart out to my husband.  He was just as surprised as I was.  He couldn’t believe that we had a connection to this family all these years, and miles away later.
“We were just talking about that family the other day”, he said.
The following week or two it all weighed heavily on my mind.  I just had to know more.  I had to pursue this.  I called my friend “D”.  I told her I needed her to call her friend and ask her how I can find this family she knew of all those years ago.  It took a few days, but “D” came through.  She had the woman’s first name, which was very uncommon, and the city they lived in at the time of the accident.
I found the local newspaper’s website for the town they lived in at the time of the accident.  I searched the woman’s first name in the online archives.
I found one article, the dates matched up with what I knew.  It stated that there was a benefit in place for a family.  It listed both names.
My heart quickened.
I searched their names on Facebook.  There they were…they were still married…they had adorable photos with adorable children.  It was as if some floating pieces of my heart found their way back to their home.  My eyes welled with tears.  I was happy.  I was happy they were “okay”.  I was sad, so sad thinking of how they had to carry that loss with them every day.  There were photos of the piggy-tailed Princess they lost in the fire.  There were photos memorializing her short, but clearly large, life.
I typed a private message:
“You probably have no idea who I am, but I know of you and your family.  13 years ago last August my husband and I were in a waiting room at St. Elizabeth’s waiting for our daughter while she was in surgery at the burn center. We met you (I believe) and your husband ( I specifically remembered him because of his visible burns). Your husband briefly spoke of a car accident and the loss of a baby daughter. My heart just cried for you that day. Your family has been on my heart all of these years, and my husband and I were just talking about you all 2 weeks ago, wondering how you were, feeling grateful that we have never been in your shoes. Many prayers have gone up for you and your family over the years….” I wrote.
I continued on- telling her that I believe God put us in that room to experience that major life event together, because I needed perspective. I needed to remember how fortunate I was.  I told her I was grateful for knowing them.
She replied two hours later.  I was elated to hear from her.
We caught each other up on how I found them, and our current life scenarios.  She said they were so touched to know they were still thought about and how they affected someone else in such a way.  She told me to never, ever, take a day with my children for granted.  It could disappear in a second.  It did disappear for her in a second.  She told me of God’s miraculous healing of her husband, as his prognosis wasn’t great.  His healing surprised his doctors.  He was supposed to lose his hands.  He didn’t.  ❤
This couple walked through the worst storm imaginable- hand in hand.  They survived.  They thrived.  They went on to have two more children.  They were fellow restauranteurs as well…naming their restaurant after the sweet 1 year old baby that passed away in the accident that day.
I am so grateful God let this story unfold and come full circle.  I still pray for this family!  But now I get the pleasure of seeing them do life- through social media.  We’ve kept in contact since December.  My family plans to visit sweet baby girl’s resting place with some pretty, pink flowers soon.  We pass the cemetery when we visit our family back home.
I hope to re-meet the family someday and eat at the restaurant that has her namesake.
You just never know what kind of positive impact you could have on a person’s life, even if it’s during the hardest season of yours.
To the family involved:  I thank you for letting me tell “our”/your story.  I thank you for changing the way I looked at my life from that day forward.  What a blessing it was that God brought our hearts and lives together in this way.  God Bless You All. ❤

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10