December 15th, 2015:
That night started out like any normal day. Jason was scheduled to work the night shift... his last night shift before Christmas vacation. We said our quick goodbyes in the kitchen with children under our feet like any other work night and he left out the door for work. About twenty minutes later as I was finishing up nursing Ellie, the house phone rang and I recognized the name on caller ID as the guy who Jason carpooled to work with, so I answered the call. He asked me if Jason was going to work that night and I told him that yes, Jason had left the house a while earlier. He said well, he hadn't shown up to get him yet and it wasn't like him to be late especially without calling to explain... Plus, he wasn't answering his phone. At that, I got a little concerned but said I'd try to call him as well. Before leaving the house that night, Jason had said he thought he might be coming down with the stomach bug I had and I was wondering if he'd gotten sick on the side of the road or had to stop to use a toilet at the gas station before picking this guy up. So I tried to call him... and tried to call him... And tried to call him... and after four or five times without him answering I genuinely got worried, but I had five kids at home that i didn't want to scare.
I knew I needed to go looking for Jason in case there had been some kind of emergency so, without saying why, I told the kids to quickly get their shoes on and get in the vehicle. I was in such a fearful rush at this point that I all but threw our 20 month old in the vehicle... with no shoes on. I couldn't find my keys and I was tossing everything out of my diaper bag looking for them. The only thing I didn't toss was my wallet! That was God. He knew I'd be going straight to the hospital without a chance to go back home and grab it. Everything else (diapers, wipes, breast pads, etc.) could be bought or replaced. So we got in the car and started out on the road Jason takes into town. At the top of a hill I could see across the valley in front of me and ahead on the road was a massive emergency scene. Ambulances, police cars, fire trucks... all with their emergency lights blaring. And I knew. My heart dropped to the floorboard as I kept driving towards the scene. My eleven year old said to me "are those ambulance lights?" to which I shakily replied (saying out loud for the first time) "Levi, I think that's dad. You need to start praying RIGHT NOW." We drove closer to the scene and about a quarter mile away from it, there was a man in the middle of the road with a flashlight stopping traffic and detouring them down a gravel road. I stopped and rolled my window down. The man said to me (where all of my kids in the car could hear) "Ma'am, I can't let you go up there. There's been a really bad wreck." And it was then that I died. I knew what scenes like the one I saw in front of me usually meant. And I knew it was Jason. Levi said to me "mom, I think I'm going to faint." and I replied "me too buddy." My heart and soul were in my stomach. My head was spinning. My mouth had gone completely dry. I was sure in that moment I was going to faint. Or throw up. Or maybe both.
I somehow found my voice and quietly said to the man "I think my husband was in that wreck." He asked me why I thought so and I told him that my husband usually traveled this road to work, he hadn't showed up to pick up the guy he car pools with and he wasn't answering his phone. So the man radioed up to the scene to get first names of the occupants. It felt like forever and no one was radioing back to him. So I called my parents. I said to them that I thought Jason had been in a wreck but I couldn't accurately freak out like I NEEDED to because my kids were all in the vehicle witnessing everything. I just remember my voice being barely above a whisper. I was so scared. I can't even describe in words the fear I felt. Was my husband dead? We have kids! We have a newborn! We have boys that need a dad! We have girls that need a dad! I need my husband!
As I was on the phone with my parents I got a call from a number I didn't recognize so I switched over and answered it. It was our good friend who also happened to be the tow truck driver called to the wreck. The fear in his voice was obvious as he said to me "Becky! Jason was in a bad wreck!" At this, I said to the man stopping traffic that it was my husband and I drove past him up to the wreck scene. I parked back a few feet afraid to get too close. I didn't know what I would see. I didn't know what our kids would see....