A Grandparent’s / Parent’s Nightmare!

I have copied this post from my son’s blog and made a few editorial corrections.  Larry and I had left the our son’s home a couple hours before the described accident happened. . .

Last year in February, our family was involved in a bad car accident.  Our minivan was destroyed.  Caleb, my younger son (8 at the time), was the one injured the worst.  While everyone else just suffered scrapes and bruises, Caleb was not so fortunate.  He had taken his shoulder strap off to lay on the seat to sleep, and when the vehicles impacted, he hit his head against the seat in front of him.

When I asked if everyone was OK, Caleb didn’t respond.  About the time I turned around, Lydia (my oldest) began almost hysterically calling his name.  I jumped out of the van to check on him, and he had a huge lump on his forehead and he was not responding to our calls.  I tried to get him to respond for what seemed like forever, alternately calling to him and calling to God to spare him.

Finally, after several other people had stopped, and while one of them was on the phone with 911, Caleb whimpered.  After a trip by helicopter to the hospital, they did many tests and scans and declared him healthy, at least healthy enough to go home.  Caleb was suffering from Post Concussive Syndrome.  There was nothing the folks at the hospital could have done to prevent it or to change it.  I wish someone had told us to watch for it, but I’m not sure that would have even prepared us for what happened.

I wrote the following on the day of the event that I never expected to face.

Today is Thursday, March 15, 2007.  Today Caleb ran away from home.


I awoke with the first sounds of my alarm clock sometime around 6:51 am.  With a 9 minute snooze, I can snooze once and still be up at 7:00 am.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get up with the first snooze.  I must’ve hit it 4 or 5 times, because it was after 7:30 when I finally got up.  Following my traditional routine, I headed for my shower unaware that around this time my 9 year old son was making his exit from our house.


After showering and dressing, I headed to the living room to do my morning Bible reading.  Shannon, whom I had wakened while I dressed, was soon out and starting work on my lunch in the kitchen.  After putting the toast in for the sandwiches, she headed past me to wake the children.  Shortly, she asked the question that brought to a screeching halt the normalcy of the morning,


“Where’s Caleb?”


“Isn’t he in his bed?”  Looking to the futon.  “No”  Looking to the girls, just exiting from their room.  “Caleb!  CALEB!!!”


From his bedroom, “Paul, his window is opened!”


Up, I’m dashing to the front door.  Quickly turning the alarm off and out the door, I rush around the house looking for my lost boy.  Around the back of the house, I open the shed door.  One, two, three.  His bike is missing.  Where has my boy gone.


Back into the house, I gather my keys and pass along instructions.


To everyone:  “His bike is missing.”


To Christian:  “I need you to get dressed and go look for his bike in the yard and woods.”


To Shannon:  “Did you find him?  No, I need you to get dressed and look around here.  I’m going out to drive and look for him.  I have my cell phone.”


Into the van, I’m down the driveway trying to get the windows clear of dew so I can see.  Wipers flipping and side windows down, I’m slowly moving up the street looking on the side of the road and in the ditch where the kids play.  Nothing.  I keep moving, a bit faster now, more nervous.


To the end of our cul-de-sac, nothing.  Turning on to the short road out of the subdivision, nothing.  Out to the crossing street, left or right?  Right first, and just over the hill and down a couple hundred feet, and I just know this isn’t the right way.  I feel like I’m trying for something very futile.  Turning around I have a quick decision to make, do I try the other way, or head back home.  It is just a quick, short trip up the other direction to the main road, I’ll try that far.


Why, Caleb, why?  Of course, there is no answer.


Down the hill and back up, around the curve.  There’s a truck, and a man.  But…


Stopping at the stop sign, I finally see Caleb, on the shoulder, fallen down.  Rushing to him, I’m overjoyed to have found him, but still deeply concerned as to why.  Little did I understand at the time, the hand of God showing His mercy and grace.


Caleb’s pants were stuck in his bike chain.  He was past the bridge and continuing on the road when it got stuck, and he came back to the bridge to fix it before moving on.  That’s when the man saw him and stopped.  Caleb was in the middle of the road when the man stopped.


God was there.  If Caleb’s pants hadn’t been caught in the bike chain when they did, I may not have seen him.  I might not have gotten there in time.  If I hadn’t decided to try this direction to the end of the road, I might not have gotten there in time.  If I hadn’t decided to turn around from the other direction, I might not have gotten there in time.  If Shannon hadn’t decided to wake the kids up when she did, she wouldn’t have noticed he was missing as early, and I surely wouldn’t have found him in time.


The man who had stopped, had already called the police.  After loading the bike, backpack, and boy into the van, the police arrived.  I jumped out to see if he needed anything from me.  Everything was fine, the other man left, and the officer asked to speak with Caleb.  I made phone calls to allow the officer to ask questions to satisfy him.  Shortly, Caleb and I were on the way back home.  God has given grace and mercy to spare my son twice.

The evidence of God that morning was so clear.  From the protection of Caleb to the His leading me in the right direction.  Even the smallest detail of Caleb’s pant leg getting caught in his bike chain.  The Saturday before, the kids were riding their bikes and I was adjusting my daughter’s chain.  My older son told Caleb to ask and I would fix “that” for him.  Turns out the “that” was the chain guard (that prevents your pant leg from getting caught in your chain).  Seems Caleb didn’t like it and wanted me to take it off.  So off it went.

There is no reason for him running away except that is symptomatic of Post Concussive Syndrome.  Caleb does not know why he ran away and the doctors are totally at a loss to explain it.  I guarantee he was watched extremely closely after this happened for quite awhile.

Caleb is back to normal now, whatever normal is for a 9 year old boy.  He is caught up somewhere between Star Wars, Stargate and Stargate: Atlantis with a little Batman and Spiderman thrown in for fun.  He played his first baseball game of the season last night, and while they didn’t win, the team showed huge potential.  Caleb had a blast, and listening to him describe the game to his grandparents on the phone reminded me of why I coach and assist.  Despite the loss, it was very clear that my 9 year old miracle boy had the time of his life playing.  I’m just glad that God has allowed us the privelege of keeping Caleb here to show us all how to enjoy life to its fullest.


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