Friday, January 24, 2014

Second Row, Piano Side: Fast Forward 37 Years

So many of your have asked for me to share the story of what happened after the accident. 

As Paul Harvey would say, "Here's the rest of the story."

The accident changed our lives forever.

  This is me holding my baby brother, Brian.

As God would have it, the church grew by leaps and bounds.  I consider the story of Joseph, "Satan meant it for harm, but God meant it for good and the saving of many souls." Mama was the youth director during that time.  The youth revival that was to begin the day of the accident continued many weeks following. About 50 youth were saved or rededicated their life to Christ.  The church grew more in the following year than it had ever grown in the history of the church. 

However, mama continued to suffer both physically and emotionally.  For over a year, she would pick pieces of glass out of her head.  Her body was never the same. She lived in constant pain. She had several surgeries in the following years that I believe were related to the accident. I watched as she winced in pain from the physical therapy that was necessary to recover from a shoulder surgery and a neck fusion.  To avoid back surgery, mama saw a chiropractor every day for weeks.  She continued to make frequent visits through out her lifetime.  She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Alzheimer's Disease a few years before her death.  Studies have shown that certain kinds of dementia are related to past head injuries and severe arthritis can sometimes be related to long periods of stress.

My little brother Brian and sister, Beverli had a swing set, a tractor tire filled with sand, and a merry-go-round.  Children would cross the cotton patch behind our house and come from doors down to play.  Our home was always filled with the laughter of children at play.  The music ended the day of the accident. Mama gave the swing set to Brian's best girl friend down the street and the teeter-totter and sandbox to his best boy friend. She asked for everyone to stay away.  Beverli, my nine year old sister, lost her brother and best friend as well as neighborhood full of friends. Daddy plunged himself into more ministry, Mama continued to nurse her wounds, my oldest brother went away to college, and my world fell apart. 

My faith was shaken to the core.  Fast forward 35 years...

My parents are gone after 5 years of illness and 2 years later, I am still grief-stricken.  To cope with my grief, I started seeing a therapist who specializes in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).  
EMDR is a psychotherapy that is used to alleviate symptoms of PTSD and other distressing experiences.  I discovered through the process that there was much pain in my life that was associated with my brother's death.  During therapy, I was made to relive the moments of the accident and the weeks, months and years following.  I remembered the smell of blood mixed with antiseptic.  I recalled the sounds surrounding the ER. I felt the pain with intensity.  As I processed each memory, I could see vividly the circumstances that surrounded the event.   I realized that for over 37 years I believed that it was my fault.  Intellectually, I knew that to not be true, but emotionally my feelings were real.  I was not an easy child.  I was often in trouble in school and was disciplined severely by my parents.  Therefore it was easy to believe that my parents had wished it were me who had died in the accident.

A year later, I am on my way to wholeness.  It has been a slow process and a difficult journey.  EMDR is not for the faint-hearted.  I was determined to find healing.  I had prayed for it, believed for it and couldn't understand why God had not answered.  Sometimes God heals instantly (HE CAN!) and sometimes he uses others and it is a process. 

I am thankful beyond words to say that I am a different person than I was a year ago. I no longer cry everyday.  I can laugh again.  I can believe again.  My anger has turned to forgiveness and I know a peace that I can't explain.

I know that my parents are together with their baby again.  Where they are there is so more pain, no more sickness, no more dying, no more crying.  As the song says, "No more night."

So, here I am 37 Years Forward and for the first time in my life, I feel whole.  


  1. Bonnie- Thank you for sharing this story with us. You are a strong woman and by you telling this story you have no idea how many people might be helped down the road. God bless you as you continue your journey in wellness and wholeness! xo Diana

  2. Thanks for sharing this story. I agree with NanaDiane, that other people will be helped by reading this. I'm so thankful that you are getting help and are doing better.

  3. Bonnie{} --I agree with NanaDiana and Mari..I am so sorry..thank you for sharing.I am so dumbfounded/gobsmacked..I don't know what to say. Blessings

  4. Thank your for sharing your story and I'm so happy you have found the help you needed. I agree with the others' comments above, that by sharing your heartbreaking journey, you are helping others. God bless your weekend.

  5. Wow Bonnie! What a story of pain and sorrow... Thank you for sharing this with us.. I am so happy that God has brought you through.. It is so hard to see the "other side" when we are in the middle of such pain...The enemy wants to destroy our kill us if necessarry..I am so glad you perservered and allowed God to walk you through this... Thank God you are on the "other side"! Yes, you are so right...your Mother and Father and brother are complete now...that is what eternity is about.. May God continue to walk you through this journey of wholeness and healing.. You are a dear and wonderful lady and a blessing to me! I know God smiles at your life of witness for him. Blessings!

  6. Bless you. Sharing your story has helped more people than you will ever know. Hope all goes well in the future.

  7. My dear Bonnie...thank you for sharing "The Rest of the Story" and your healing process. I'm holding you in my heart and prayers. Loving you big time today.....

  8. Bonnie, what courage to share your journey. After September 11 I had two years of counseling and I know my life would have been far sadder and more difficult without it. Grateful for the help I received. Sending hugs!

  9. Bonnie, I thank you for sharing your story with us. I went back and read the earlier post that I'd missed. Wow. You have survived something that most people could not imagine. When you share your pain, your story, your past, you are really helping SO many.
    I'm so glad you've found the therapy to help you move on and LAUGH and enjoy LIFE. I can only imagine the joy your parents felt when they met up with your little brother again….bittersweet and joyful.


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