Thursday, December 3, 2009

14th Post

The following weeks and months that followed the funeral were hard. I remember some things very vividly and others are very patchy. I do know that I was shown more love than I ever imagined could be given. My boys were doing okay, Chase was living in a different city with his wife, so I don't know how well he coped at that time. Stefan however, was with me, and he was struggling. I didn't think he would be able to finish his senior year. Chase started a new job the following Monday after the services, and he just pushed right through. I worry about him, he carried us all and never really has had a chance to grieve. Stefan went through a very hard time, he quit going to school...didn't finish his 1st semester and didn't even go his 2nd semester. But, after Christmas, I sat him down and told him that life can't stop when bad things happen. We went and talked with his counselor, Mr. Sears, and he was so incredible, he had so much empathy and helped Stefan work out a schedule that let him finish his senior year. That is what I mean about the love that was shown our family, it was incredible. Chase of course had Brooke, but she was hurting as well, I know her family was wonderful to them, and they even took care of Stefan and I that first holiday season without Paige. Brooke's parents were in SanDiego with us as Brooke's brother played football with Stefan. The love they have shown my Chase is wonderful, I couldn't have hand picked a better family for my son to marry into and definitely not a better wife for my boy.

As I look back on the pain of that first year and all the firsts that we had to go through without Paige; the first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas...etc. It was such a hard year, but it wasn't as bad as I thought, now that I look back. Family and friends come together and there is so much support and love that you are able to make it through. Paige's birthday was amazing, we met at her grave and all of her little friends and parents came. My friends, family, friends of Chase and Stefan were there, Paige's teachers were there, all of the people that loved our little Paige came, it was so heartwarming! We all gathered together and talked about Paige. I asked the little girls to draw a picture to send to Paige, and they all brought one, so we tied them to pink and purple balloons and sent them off into the beautiful blue sky. Miss Molly, Paige's preschool teacher brought the kids a candy necklace and talked about how life is like a circle - holding up the necklace - that it is never ending, she is simply amazing. Then Chase read the butterfly poem that my brother wrote and Stefan handed out little triangle boxes...we then had everyone open their boxes and butterflies flew out. You should have seen the look on the faces of the children that didn't realize there were butterflies in the boxes. It was so beautiful and it really seemed as though these butterflies were headed to heaven to give messages to Paige for all of us. See, I had told everyone that there is a legend that butterflies take our thoughts or secrets to our loved ones in heaven, and told the children to think of what they wanted to tell Paige. Then they set free the butterflies, it was the most precious site. I was so touched by the love of the people who took time out of there busy day to come and spend a little time with me and my family while we celebrated our little Paige's birthday.

It has been 2 years since the accident, and I must say that the second year has definitely been the hardest for me. I talked to a friend who has also lost a child and asked her why the second year seemed so much harder than the first...she said she believes it is because that first year, you can still look back and say, "last year at this time we were doing..." and the second year you can't do that anymore, and the realization of the loss is more profound. I have to agree...I find myself spending a lot of time in bed, it brings me comfort. My heart is always hurting, and I feel so alone. I hurt when I realize people are forgetting my little girl. Obviously life goes on, it has to, that is the plan. But, I have to tell myself that people haven't forgot, they just don't have to live with the pain on a daily basis like I do. Every time I see her beautiful little face in pictures or in my mind, I feel so much joy, yet so much pain. It is hard to understand why this beautiful little miracle baby had to leave us after such a short time on this earth. It is then that I realize that it isn't for us to understand, it is only for us to accept and have faith that all is well. She is where she is suppose to be and she is doing a work that we don't understand because we are still on the earth. When we lose young children, it seems so unfair, but really we should be celebrating that they are so choice that they don't have to go through the pains that come to us in this mortal state here on the earth. Those of you reading this that don't have the same belief system I have, you have to see that this belief is what is getting me through. To believe that she is in a better place and she was so special that she was able to leave while still innocent and never hurt, only loved. What a true blessing!!!

Paige Amelia, I love you so much, you are the light of our lives. You brought us so much we miss those beautiful eyes, that bright smile and the "hugs and kisses" that were always in abundance from you. Your sweet little arms that would wrap around my neck and squeeze so tight as you would tell me that "mom, I love you so much"!!! I cherish those memories and will never ever let them fade. Your brothers and dad and I will do everything we can to keep your memory alive for all of our posterity, because you are a true angel. Thank you for being our angel on earth. Love you sweetheart!!!

Here is the Butterfly Poem, by Tracy Marrott

Butterflies and Angels,
On a summers day.
You can never hold them long,
They just aren't meant to stay.
An Angel chased a Buttefly,
Smiling as She ran.
Knowing all the innocence,
As only Angles can.
Much too soon they disappear,
But only from our sight.
We shall find them once again,
When we enter into God's light.

For my Paige, Love Uncle Tracy

Sunday, November 1, 2009

13th Post Addendum

In my last post, I probably made it sound like I wasn't going to write anymore, but that is not the case... I was just saying that I wouldn't be talking about the more personal things that surrounded the funeral etc. I will however, continue to tell you about Paige, and what a true living angel we had in our family for 5 years. When I said goodbye, it was to Paige, not the blog...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

13th Post

From this point on, it gets very personal and I'm not sure that I should write about these moments in a blog. I will briefly just say that Morgan got our little girl home and the next time I saw her was at a funeral home, we went as a family, Me, Morgan, Chase and Stefan...I think I will leave it at that...

The realization of the loss was incapacitating, but through the love of my incredible boys, my loving brothers and sister-in-laws, caring friends and family we were able to make it through. The next few days were a whirlwind and I was pretty much out of it. I know that my son Chase was very busy getting photos for people, calling everyone, fielding phone calls etc. He was the man of the house and he just took over. I didn't have any idea that he was doing all of this. I had dear friends around me, friends and family flew in from North Carolina, California, Arizona and Idaho. I had friends and family taking my boys out to get them suits for the funeral, looking for outfits for me, you name it someone was on it. Food was being brought in, I mean it was unbelievable. I remember waking up to Brooke and Chase sleeping in my bed with me and it gave me so much comfort. I was having anxiety attacks frequently, I actually had a paper bag by my bed and I used it. This had started while in the hospital. I was scared to be alone, but fortunately no one ever let that happen.

It was time to write the obituary and plan the funeral. I was in the living room when Chase read to me the obituary he had written...I only had a few things to add, he is such a beautiful writer. Then he said, it was time to figure out what to do for the funeral... I remember this so clearly, I looked at him and said, "I know exactly what I want and who I want to speak"... he looked at me incredulous. I don't think I had been lucid very often since the accident. But, at this moment I knew what needed to be said and done for our little angel. And Chase wrote it down, made the phone calls and it was done. Paige's funeral was the most beautiful touching celebration of life I have ever witnessed.

When we arrived at the church, friends had made scrapbooks of Paige, that were amazing!!! These would have taken hours and hours. Then my sister-in-law Jina had made each of us a quilt with pictures of Paige and writing and intricate quilting, I know she had help of friends and women in my ward, but how all of this was accomplished is still beyond comprehension. There was a DVD put together with movies of Paige and us and her friends and all the wonderful things she had accomplished in her 5 short years on this earth. I know that writing this right now does not do justice as to what love was shown that day to our family!!! Then it was expressed throughout that week and for weeks, months and years to come.

Morgan had taken care of the arrangements, we went together to pick out a cemetery plot, I was in a wheelchair...but able to walk, just in a lot of pain. The day of the funeral, it was long but I was able to withstand the day, I have no idea how. I do have to thank Morgan for being so attentive of me that day, he stepped up to the plate. The funeral was packed, people were standing in the halls and some had to stay outside because it was just too hard for them. Stefan's whole football team was there, all of our relatives, friends, young and old were there. This little girl had touched so many lives. At the age of 5, she had lived more than most adults and definitely loved more. The internment in the cemetery was beautiful. My brother Tracy had written a poem about butterflies and then we all opened little boxes with beautiful monarch butterflies that took flight, Paige would have LOVED that. Then Morgan put a case with doves on my lap and I opened it up and Doves flew out and circled and it was heavenly. Wow, what a tribute to a true angel.

I want to thank the people that did so much for us, and you all know who you are. Food, love, friendship, service, just anything anyone could do - they did. Thank you. Thanks to Miss Molly and Ronalee for speaking. Thanks to my Chase for his words and beautiful song. Thanks to Stefan and Chase for their song, thanks to Brooke for her beautiful song. Thanks to all of Paige's little friends who sang "I Am A Child Of God"... Thanks for the Maori's and the song and haka... Thanks for all the scrapbooks, the pictures that were put in frames, the quilts, the food that was provided for the family after the funeral, the sleepovers, the dinners, friends and family staying with me 24/7. Thank you Morgan for taking care of your family during this terrible ordeal and thank you Stefan for being my son and brother to Paige and Thank You Chase for taking care of all of us, for being the best brother to Stefan and Paige and for being my son!!! I love you so much!!!

The love that I feel for everyone who came to my home or to the church or cemetery...or those that wrote letters or sent gifts...or even just took a moment to pray or have us in your thoughts, the love is beyond words.

We miss you Paige girl, we love you and look forward to the day when we can be together again. I know for you it isn't that far away, but for those of us left here on the earth it feels like an eternity. Goodbye for now...

Monday, October 12, 2009

12th Post

I remember leaving the hospital in a wheelchair with several pillows around me to cushion my ribs.  Chase and Brooke were leading the way, and all my friends, Deb, Marilyn, Pam and Michelle were with me.  I was pretty drugged up, but I remember being so happy to leave this horrible hospital, it was such an ugly place, there was nothing good about it.  As we got outside, I remember feeling a tremendous rush of anxiety, I was going to have to get in a car...and go back on California roads.  I told myself it was going to be okay, I had all of these people with me, I had my boys and they would be with me.  I was so grateful to see that I was going to be riding in a Ford Expedition, I knew I would be sweet daughter-in-law had arranged for her Uncle to drive us to the airport.  The next thing I remember is arriving at a gate, and driving out to a small plane, I wasn't sure where we were going, or how I was getting home.  I was calm though, it was then brought to my attention that we would be flying home on a private jet.  One of my dearest friends, Darryl, had arranged to fly me, my boys, Brooke and my friends home.   I remember feeling like I was smiling a lot, I don't know why...I just know I couldn't believe all of the people that were there with me and so willing to help.  As I write this, my heart becomes so full, it is hard to see through the tears.  The realization of the love that was shown to me these few days is something that I can't do justice to with words.  These are the kind of friends I have been so blessed to have in my life.  Thank you! 

No one knew the best way to get me home due to my injuries.  They were worried about having me fly commercially because of having to go through security and then sitting on a plane and they were worried about me being bumped and jostled around.  The next idea was to rent a van and make up a bed in the back and drive me home.  This is when my dear friend Darryl got wind of all of this and he chartered a plane for me.  I remember walking up the steps and getting on this beautiful plane, they had a couch for me to lay on, it was unbelievable, I had never been on a private jet.  I wish I could remember more about it, all I remember is that I wanted Stefan to be by my side, Chase and Brooke had each other, but again, I just didn't want to be alone and I didn't want Stefan to be alone.  Well, my dear Stefan has a hard time flying and with all of the additional stress, he was about ready to pass out, so all of my sweet friends moved him to the front and took care and attended to him for the flight, which is the funniest thing, but so nice. Then, my Chase and Brooke were there for me, yet again.  I remember Chase telling me I was fine and he was right there, and then I don't remember anything until I was being helped off the plane.

We were back in Utah...we were home!!!  I felt a huge relief pass through my body, everything really was going to be okay now, I was home.  Then I remembered that Paige wasn't with me.  I asked where she was, she was still in California with her dad.  Morgan  was there taking care of her precious little body and trying desperately to get her home.  
I now had to get into another car, it was my friend Pam's car, and all I could remember was my little Paige just a few weeks before complimenting Pam on her new car.  This brought a smile to my face, Paige always was quick to recognize when someone had something special happen in their life whether it be a new car, a  new hairdo or a present of some kind.  She was all over it!  I wasn't nervous to get into Pam's car, I was home...I remember getting in the front seat and that is all I remember until I arrived at my home.

As we pulled into my driveway, every tree and bush in my yard was covered with pink bows.  There were flowers and stuffed animals and a huge heart with notes to me and my boys and letters to Paige.  It was an amazing sight.  Again, I am overcome with emotion as I write about this because of the love that my friends, family, neighborhood, ward and community  showed our family.  Yes, I was home, without my beautiful Paige, but I came home to so much was overwhelming.  Now we just needed to get our little girl, our precious little Paige home!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

11th Post

The days I spent in the hospital are hard for me to remember.  I know I kept asking for Stefan, I was worried about him.  Stefan and I were so relieved to see one another after we had been given the terrible news.  We spent some quiet moments together.  There was a bond, I didn't want him to leave my side.  I didn't want to be alone again.  

My thoughts always turn to my boys... I often wonder what Stefan was thinking being on a bus with all of his buddies and hearing such heartbreaking news.  Stefan had some very good friends that were with him that day, I am so thankful for their kindness to him.  I can't imagine what must have been going through his mind, driving by the accident scene, knowing his mom and little sister had just been in that car.  I don't know what the car looked like, but I have been told that it was completely crushed and Paige's little car seat was sitting on the ground as the football team drove by.  My heart breaks for Stefan knowing he saw this.  I know the nightmares and anxiety that I see and feel daily, (sometimes multiple times a day) and I pray that my boys don't have this happening to them.  Then I think of Chase and how he arrived at his father's home just as Morgan was receiving the news that Paige hadn't made it and Morgan collapsed in Chase's arms. These two young men, my boys that I love more than life itself, had to endure this and I couldn't be there for them.  

I guess like in any kind of accident or tragedy, news gets spread quickly and facts are often given wrong.  Initially, my boys were told that Paige was fine and I was being life-flighted. Of course this was wrong, it was the other way around...  My boys, how scared they must have been to see their mom laying in a hospital bed and knowing their beautiful little sister was gone.  Paige was their little angel and they wanted to protect her.  I think when we were finally all together at the hospital, we were in denial, we were together and we were able to touch one another, that was good - we were focusing on one another and just happy to be together.  

As a mother, how can I express the love I have for my two boys?  No words that I write can come anywhere near the love I feel in my heart and my soul for Chase and Stefan.  My children are my life, always have and always will be.  I am so glad that I can still experience life with my boys and know that one day, I can raise my little girl again.  How can I ever tell these young men what they mean to me in a way that they can truly grasp, it goes beyond written words, it is something I can't explain, it is unconditional, it is a feeling of pureness and loveliness... one day, when they have children of their own they will understand, the love for a child is unlike any other kind of love... What an eternal blessing our Heavenly Father gives us when he entrusts these precious children into our lives.  I will be forever humbled and grateful for the opportunity to be the mother of such amazing, loving and just beautiful children.  I love you so much, I miss my little ones - but enjoy every season of your life.  Paige, how we miss your smiling face and giggle, I know you are now the one watching over all of us.  We love you sweetheart!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

10th Post

It had seemed like forever since I had arrived at the hospital.  I was still in the emergency room and was surprised that I hadn't been moved to the room upstairs.  (The doctor had told me there was a room for me before they brought me to the emergency room.)  I mostly remember being numb emotionally and physically.  Several of my friends came in to the room and visited with me for brief moments.  I am grateful for all of their love and support.  After my son Stefan arrived, we were pretty much left alone to just be together.  I wrote before how everything was blurry, like a fog...and so is my memory from this point.  Stefan and I didn't say much, he just held my hand and we just comforted one another. 

It wasn't much longer before my oldest son, his wife and my ex-husband arrived.  Morgan, as I have stated before was a physician, and he let the staff at this hospital have it.  Not only had he lost his daughter, he came to find me still laying on a hard gurney like bed still on the same sheets from the ambulance with glass all over me.  I had been like this for hours, long enough for him to get the news, drive to the airport, fly to California, get a rental car and drive to the hospital.  He was fit to be tied.  It was within minutes after he arrived that I was moved to a room and was given some pain medication.  He insisted that the physician that had taken care of me talk to him.  I think the physician had to leave surgery or something, and in his defense he was very upset that I was still in the emergency room... but Morgan was so angry at the care I was receiving he had people running all over the place.  I am relieved on many accounts that Morgan came out, not only did he probably save my life, he was able to go and be with Paige and that was more important than anything else.  

Once Morgan was able to get me settled into a room, get me on some medication stronger than Midol, he was ready to go and take care of Paige.  But, before he left, I told him I could feel glass all over the bed.  He pulled back the sheets to see that I was STILL on the same sheet that I had been on since the ambulance and there was glass all over it...this just about put Morgan over the edge, the sheets were changed and I no longer had to worry about rolling on glass or scraping my feet with the glass on the sheets.  He also was astonished to find that they hadn't put me on a breathing device.  I had 7 broken ribs, therefore, I couldn't breath as deeply as I should, so this can cause a patient to get pneumonia... Morgan made sure this was ordered and from then on, I had to breath deep and blow into this device at least once every 30-60 minutes (can't remember precisely).  It was very painful, but I can't imagine how horrible it would have been if I had developed pneumonia...I would probably have died.

Then Morgan was off to take care of our little girl...I will never know what he went through having to see her in a morgue.  I hate even writing that word, it haunts me.  [I am so sorry that you had to do that Morgan, I am so sorry that our beautiful little girl was all alone in that cold scary place.  Morgan, I will never know the pain you experienced that day having to identify our little miracle baby girl.  I have nightmares thinking about it, I wish I could have been there to help you through, I am sorry that you had to take care of that without me and I am just so sorry that I couldn't have prevented this loss.  I would have given anything for this to have not happened.  I know you were able to draw some strength from our son Chase, our dear chiefy.  I am so grateful for Chase, I know he took care of you, his dad, on the way to the airport and on the flight to California and the many days that followed.]  Chase has a strength for both Morgan and I that I don't think any of us have ever talked about, just a quiet knowledge we have always known.  Chase took over for us, we needed him and he has never disappointed us.  

Chase and Brooke (his wife of only a few months at this time) stayed with me from that point on.  They may have left for a few hours to go and take a shower, but that was it.  The first night in the hospital room, I had Stefan right next to me holding my hand.  After that, Stefan spent more time with his dad, he didn't want to be at the hospital.  I had Chase and Brooke sleeping on the floor of the hospital (and it wasn't the cleanest hospital).  Then I had a friend fly in from Idaho, two friends from Utah and a friend from California drive in to Long Beach.  I had loved ones and friends from every aspect of my life.  I had Marilyn that I have known since we were in elementary school, Debbie, my friend since Jr. High, Pam, my friend since high school and Michelle a friend I had known for a few years.  It was wonderful to have so much love and support.  These ladies however, would get me laughing and have you ever tried to laugh when you have 7 broken ribs and 3 detached ribs?  Just a little painful... but, this was so good for me.  I remember Chase and Brooke walking in after grabbing something to eat and saying that it looked like "Sex in the City" in that room with all these gorgeous women sitting around me.  

I guess this is the first I realized that I had truly been blessed in my life.  Here were my two boys that I love more than life itself, my new daughter-in-law and my dear friends that left their families at a moments notice to come and be with me...I was very humbled.  I look back and am so grateful for my Chase and Brooke, they stayed every night and slept on the floor, they could have gone back to the hotel that Morgan had got for them, but they refused to leave me.  They will never know the love that I have for them, just knowing that they were with me, no matter what, I could wake up and know that Chase and Brooke were there.  Funny, that is the same feeling I have now living in this home, I know if I need anything, Chase and Brooke are there...this was comforting then and here two years later, it is comforting now, they are still here for me.  Thank you.

To my dear friends that took care of me those days and nights in the hospital, I am sure my boys are eternally grateful that you were there to take me to the bathroom and to help me change.  I know that I owe you a debt that I can never repay.  Thanks for coming to be with me, to make me laugh, to help me through such a horrible time, to be there for my boys, I know you took care of them as well.  I know you even were there for Morgan, and I know he appreciated having you there to take care of me.  

I finally wasn't worried about Paige anymore, I knew that Morgan would make sure that she was taken care of.  Little did I know the trouble that he encountered just trying to get our little girl back home.  I am grateful that he was strong enough to be able to make it through, I had always stood by his side on these kind of things, and this was the first time since I met Morgan that when something went bad I wasn't right beside him.  I had to be taken care of this time.  I think this was the first time in my life that I had to be taken care of, it was usually the other way around, and to be honest, I prefer being the one to take care of others.  

I don't remember if I left the hospital on the Monday or the Tuesday, I know it was hard to get approval from the doctor to be discharged.  I remember having to sign a paper that I was leaving against medical advice, but they weren't doing much for me...Morgan was telling them what I should be receiving for care and medication.  I remember they had a nurse sitting with me the first night and the second day, I think for suicide watch.  But, I had so many friends and family with me, it was a waste of time and money, they finally realized this.  I was never suicidal, I had said I wanted to die, but that didn't mean I would ever do anything to make that come to pass.  Who wouldn't want to die when they heard the words that their most precious gift in life their beautiful child had died.  I think that was probably the sanest I have ever been...

I was going to go home, finally!!!  But, I was leaving without Paige, and she wasn't coming with me.  I couldn't worry about that, Morgan had it covered, we just had to get home... and then what...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9th Post

As I sit down to write tonight, I am having a hard time.  I am fighting back the tears because I am missing my little girl more than usual tonight.  Sometimes the pain of not being able to hug her and tickle her and hear her little laugh, is incapacitating.  My heart is in pain tonight, and while I want to write about my sweet little girl, I don't feel like I can talk about the accident.  

I do want to tell Paige how much I love her and miss her.  I walk around my quiet, empty home and see her beautiful little face everywhere I turn.  I look at my couch where she used to run and flip over like she was doing a vault in gymnastics.  I giggle everytime I look at the shudders on my front windows, with her teeth marks on the bottom slats where she bit everyone of them.  If I ever move, those shudders will be coming with me.  I see her smiling with her best friend, McKenzie...they were inseparable.  Then as I look at the pictures of my boys and the smiles on their faces while sitting with their little sister, my heart becomes full.  

As tears stream down my face, I think of my little sweetheart, her funny little personality, how we would read stories just about every night and the cuddles in the middle of the night, just because she was there.  I miss you Paige so much, it is hard for me to understand why you had to leave this earth, but I am so happy for you.  It is hard for those of us left behind, but I know you are in a much better place.  

Chase, Stefan and Paige...thank you for choosing me to be your mom, Heavenly Father smiled down on me the day he entrusted you to me, and I am eternally grateful.

I love you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

8th Post

...I remember laying in the Emergency Room talking with my friend Barb.  The hospital staff was really strange, they wouldn't let more than one person back at a time.  Stefan wasn't there yet, and I think almost every parent that was in San Diego for LonePeak Football was at the hospital for me and my family.  I will never forget the feeling of having so many people care about us, and wanting to support us, we have some of the greatest people I know in our little community.  There were several people that wanted to come and talk with me, but I was very apprehensive, Barb was the first familiar face I saw and to be honest, I didn't want her to leave.  I also didn't want to see anyone else.  I knew people would be heartbroken, they loved Paige, and would be so worried about me and my boys.  I didn't want them to worry about me, and I didn't want to have to be strong for anyone.  Poor Barb was stuck, I kept telling her, I just wanted her to stay, I didn't want anyone but her until Stefan got there.  She finally got me to let some of my close friends come in.  They were all so sweet and all were so concerned.  I tried to be strong, but I honestly just wanted my boys...  I know my friends understood...

I remember being so grateful for such loving, faithful people that were with us in San Diego.  Parents that went out of their way to drive to Pasadena to get my son and bring him to his mom, parents that left the game and drove straight to the hospital when they heard the news, parents who grabbed their sons and brought them to be with Stefan, parents who immediately started making phone calls - organizing - whatever they could to help and offer support...what wonderful people we have in our lives.  Juleen, fighting with the California Highway Patrol, telling them she wasn't going to leave the accident scene until they gave her all of my luggage.  Thank you to all of you, and you know who you are, I love you all, and Paige loved you, she thought the parents and the team were there for her.  I think it would have shattered her world if she realized that we were there for football and that we weren't all there for her.  She thought everyone knew her and if there was any doubt she had no hesitation introducing herself and finding "best friends" every where she went.  

After Stefan arrived, we had the opportunity to have a blessing given to us by two fathers of Stefan's fellow football players.  Wow, here we were so many miles away from home and we had faithful men and women there to pray for us and to bless us at the very hour of our need.  I don't think I can put into words what it feels like to go from feeling so helpless and alone more than just a few hours before to feeling like I had an army of saints at the hospital for our family.  The spirit felt that night in the emergency room was so strong it was unbelievable.  I know the hospital staff had never encountered anything like it.  This hospital was used to the knife and gun club, gang bangers, they had police on staff at the hospital because they were used to people from opposite gangs coming into the ER and having wars.  Here sat wholesome, god fearing people, that love with ever fiber of their being and were there just to support my family and each other.  I will never forget the feeling I felt that night as I lay there waiting for my oldest son to arrive...Stefan and I were at peace, thanks to the love of friends and our loving Heavenly Father.

Here I was, experiencing the most devastating pain of loss, yet simultaneously feeling an indescribable feeling of gratitude and love.   They say in order to experience true joy one has to feel true despair...was that what I was feeling and experiencing.  I remember laying there and knowing I was awake and alert, but everything was kind of blurry, I say that for lack of a better term.  Nothing that night was vivid, it was like an old fashioned movie...just like a fog.  People talk of air being thick, everything about this day/night was thick, heavy, slow motion and colorless.  But the love and compassion was there and it was like a light piercing through this fog, what an amazing thing we possess when we show love to one another.  How could this day, that had now turned into early evening, the day that would forever be the worst day of my life also be one of the most spiritual and love filled days of my life?

Monday, September 14, 2009

7th Post - Comments from Friends

I thought it would be nice to print some of the comments I have received on facebook regarding Paige's blog...

It is wonderful!! You are a great writer. As I read it, it actually sounded healing - almost as if putting it in to written words and remembering the details helps in some way. 

I'm not sure there is any way for a person to really be able sympathize with this type of experience. The pain is much too deep within the soul for any of us to understand unless we have been through the same loss. The overwhelming amount of love we feel for our children when they are born can surely only be compared to the immense amount of pain that must be felt if they leave us much too early in this life. 

But... this kind of blog is good for all of us. I think helps to remind each of us that although you look and act wonderful, there is a huge part of you, although unseen, that still lives on each day and that you are aware of at all times. She is both the reason you may feel no purpose, yet the reason you feel complete purpose - every day! 

Keep it up, girl! YOU ROCK!! XOXO
September 9 at 8:55am - Gretchen Lambert Wiltbank

Just read it. Thanks Nat, you are an incredible woman and I am looking forward to reading more.
September 9 at 9:18am - Cathy Booth Harker

Amazing. So fun to see you at the reunion. I am looking foward to reading more. Thanks
September 9 at 1:28pm  - Dwendy Kirkman Reid

So beautiful and touching. Please FB me your number. I have a project idea and I would love for you to be a part of it. Your story needs to be shared...
September 9 at 2:10pm - Tewa Wride

You are truely amazing Natalie!
September 9 at 4:03pm - Stephanie Gibbons Haderlie

I have been thinking about you all week... I am so touched by your words and I can't wait to read more. You have inspired me and I am sure you will inspire others to put their lives in perspective. Life is such a gift we can't forget how fragile life is. Hang in there... I am sure your mom and dad are taking good care of your precious daughter for you till we all can be reunited again. Love ya!
September 9 at 9:29pm - Teresa Christensen Harding

I read your blog this morning and it made me cry. There are a few cute blogger sites with free backgrounds one is and the other is
September 9 at 10:03pm - Natalie Ficklin-Holliday

Hi Nat, thinking of you and Paige! I love that you started a blog, its perfect! Miss you tons xoxo

September 10 at 12:31am - Alexis Barney

Beautiful! You are amazing!
September 10 at 2:34am - Cathy Pack Davis

You are so sweet and so strong. Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading your blog. May God Bless and Keep you!! I know He will and He does!
September 10 at 8:01am - JoAnne Blake Colemere

Natalie you are amazing to share this with everyone. I hope it helps your healing process.
September 10 at 6:02pm  - Margaret Woodis Hull

Nat, I just sat down and read your blog about Paige, even though I was at the hospital soon after, I never really knew all of the details you have been sharing, it brought tears to my eyes again as I realized what you must have been going through for those horrible hours right after the accident. You are my dearest friend and my heart aches for you. I want you to know that I love you like you were my sister, you are my sister and I think of you all the time. I miss you and wish we lived closer to one another. I'm so proud of you for putting this blog up so that others can heal and learn from your experiences. You are an amazing woman and I feel blessed and lucky to have as my friend. I'll call you soon.
September 11 at 9:53am - Debbie Despain Hatch

Thank you for doing this :)
September 11 at 10:14am  - Dennis Ferrin

What a sweet blog to read! I will always remember cute little Paige as she sat on my lap at my Mom's funeral. Remember, she wouldn't get off, it was like we had this little connection. Maybe she knew her time was short and mom's spirit was there so close. While in California that same night of the accident we were stuck in traffic after coming home from the BYU, UCLA game. Someone said there was a serious accident a few miles ahead. Little did I know at the time it was you. I think of you often and how brave and strong you are. I wish you every happiness and joy! Losing children early makes me grateful for our parents were there to welcome them home! XOXO
September 11 at 10:50am - Michelle Westphal Mills

Natalie, I'm not sure how much you remember me, but I just read your blog, and I really want to say thank you for sharing this part of your life with so many. It really reminds those that read it, how short and precious life is, and what a blessing the family is. My thoughts are with you, and I hope you recieve the peace and comfort you need to get through this! Life is great, and we are lucky to experience it, even the really tough things, it all has its purpose and meaning. I wish you the best!!
September 11 at 2:35pm - Nancy Lesser Barton

You are so amazing!! We all draw strength from you and your beautiful spirit. Thanks for sharing such a difficult loss with all of your friends. LOVES YA!!!
September 11 at 4:03pm - Vicki Ostler Lybbert

Natalie, Thanks for writing this. It's a reminder to all of us to appreciate who and what we have in our lives.
September 11 at 6:12pm - Margaret Woodis Hull

I'm hanging on every word of your blog...please keep it are incredibly strong and generous to share this experience with us. It is a reminder to appreciate each moment!
September 11 at 7:46pm - Lisa Sargent Peterson

Nattie, your an amazing spirit. I love you and know your in my thoughts always.
September 12 at 7:39pm - Adarienn Marrott

Nat, I loved reading this. I remember too vividly parked on the freeway and Juleen fighting with the officers to get yours and Paige's luggage and then waiting at the hospital with Chase and Morgan and Stefan. You and your family will ALWAYS have a special place in mine and my familys heart! We love you!!
September 13 at 9:34pm - Brandee Olson

Thanks to all my wonderful friends for your sweet words...

6th Post

...I didn't want to believe what I was hearing, I felt so useless, so helpless, there was nothing I could do.  Paige was my little girl, yet, I couldn't see her, I had no say in what was done to her, and now she was gone.  I imagined in my mind that when Morgan would get to Paige, he would find that she really was alive and they just had made a huge mistake.  I was talking to Morgan telling him that I couldn't go on, I couldn't live without her...he told me he wanted to talk to the nurse.  I handed her the phone and told her that he wanted to talk with her, I remember saying, "I hate him".  I guess that statement says it all, at that moment I hated everything and everyone.  Paige was gone...

I remember just laying there feeling so alone and then it hit me.  Stefan, he would be coming soon, I needed to be strong, he was going to need me.  Chase was flying in, he had his sweetheart Brooke, but I still needed to be strong.  My boys needed their mom, I needed to be there for them.  Yes my heart was broken, but how were my boys going to feel, they had just lost their precious little sister.  Then it hit me that, Stefan probably saw the accident scene...he was on a bus with the football team and they more than likely went right by the accident.  Oh, I hope he didn't see anything bad, did he know about Paige yet? Morgan said he had Chase with him, so Chase knew about Paige, was he ok?  Then I thought about my Chase and how as a young boy, the age of Paige, his dad had gone through cancer.  My little Chase became the man of the house, his sweet little innocence was taken away at the age of 5 as he saw his father so sick.  I knew Chase would be fine and that he would be the strength of our family just like he had for so many years.  Was it unfair that a young boy had to take on so much responsibility at such a young age?  I guess we are given trials throughout our lives to prepare us for the times in our lives when we have to carry the burden for our loved ones.  I remember thinking this about my Chase, but it wasn't until well after this tragedy that I came to realize the role that Chase did play in this and how he stepped up and took care of Me, his Dad and his brother Stefan.  

The doctor came back in and told me they had a room for me upstairs.  Soon after that, I was moved into the Emergency Room, (not sure why I wasn't moved upstairs) and I remember thinking people would be really kind to me because of the loss I was experiencing, the secretary and nurses seemed indifferent...I was shocked.  I found out later that they hadn't heard the whole story yet.  Then, a familiar face, my friend and fellow football mom, Barb came into my little curtained off section.  I will always remember how strong she was.  I really needed someone strong, she didn't cry and lose it, she was strong and it was good, we could talk.  She said that Stefan was on his way.  Why wasn't he here yet?  I guess his coach made him go all the way to Pasadena and then finally let some parents bring him back down to Long Beach.  It seemed like hours had gone by, I really needed to see my son.  It wasn't much longer before my Stefan came in and I could feel so much love.  My sorrow and despair was replaced with gratitude for having my son there with me.  He gave me a huge hug and then he smiled his gorgeous smile that you just live for as a mom.  He sat by me and held my hand...he layed his head down on me and cried, we cried together...the room was filled with love, Paige was there with us, my parents and those that have gone before, you could feel this strong feeling of compassion and I knew we were going to be ok...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

5th Post

...I was so grateful to be at the hospital, I didn't have to worry about falling anymore or the ambulance getting into a crash.  I had about 6 people working on me, asking questions, shining lights in my eyes, taking blood, taking xrays, it was surreal and then once they were able to determine I was ok, they were out of there.  It was like, NEXT... However, there was one nurse that wouldn't leave my side.  She stayed with me even when her superiors told her it was time to move on.  She just wouldn't leave me.  She was so kind and gentle and really was worried about me.  They sent a social worker in to talk with me...not a good sign.  (The nurse just moved to the side and did some charting, but she never left the room.)  Of course, I justified this as, I was in a traumatic accident, they just want to make sure I am okay emotionally.  He kept talking to me about Paige in the past tense.  This was making me crazy, he wasn't helping, I wanted him to get out of there...I continued to correct him, he had a very sad look in his eyes.  I couldn't look at him anymore.  The doctor came in the room, he told me I had broken 7 ribs and 3 ribs were detached, he said they would be transferring me to a room.  A policeman then came in and wanted to ask me about the accident and what I remembered.  He had my name down as Natalie Marrott, I told him that my name was Natalie Marrott Grant and my daughter's name was Paige Grant, he argued with me and showed me my license and yes my license does say Natalie Marrott but Grant is written right above it in capital letters because it is my last name.  I pointed that out, and I wasn't very nice...I felt like everyone I was talking to would argue with me, like I didn't know my own name?!!!  He decided he would come back and talk to me later.  I was relieved...  

Looking back, I think the reason these people were making me crazy was because they knew that I had lost my daughter, of course none of them were able to tell me.  I often wonder why they didn't let me touch her, see her, why they were so quick to hide her from me.  I guess I shouldn't think about that too much and just know they were doing their jobs and probably protecting me from an image that I didn't need to remember for the rest of my life.  

I was alone in the room, the nurse had stepped out when the policeman came in.  It was a very sterile room, big white lights above me, steel table, just cold and sterile.  I remember feeling glass all around me, I was surprised I was still laying in glass from the car.  I figured they would be moving me soon and to just be grateful that I was ok.  My back was hurting, I had to keep my knees bent to relieve the pain, but other than that I felt pretty good.  My sweet nurse came back in, she was young and so nice, she held my hand and talked with me.  She asked me about Paige and I told her how precious she was, I told her about my boys and how lucky I was to have such great kids.  The social worker was coming back in, great...actually he was really nice, but he just didn't hide his emotions very well, so I didn't like looking at him, it was hard to stay positive when every time I would look at him, he looked like he was ready to cry.  The nurse was taking a call, she told me it was my husband, that he wanted to talk with me.  She brought me the phone, it was Morgan...the nurse and the social worker stepped out, but stayed right by the door.  It was good to hear Morgan's voice, I told him he needed to get out here and take care of Paige.  His voice was strong, he told me that he needed to talk to me about Paige.  He said "she didn't make it Nat", and he started to cry... My deepest feelings that I had been trying so hard to not believe were now confirmed... my beautiful little girl was gone.  My mind started to go a million miles a minute, but if Morgan could get here, he could save her, I know he could.  Maybe she was alive and they just couldn't feel her pulse because she was so tiny and petite, she couldn't be gone, I was okay, if I was okay she should be too.  Morgan was talking to me, I don't remember what he was saying, I felt my body go into the fetal position, and I began to cry... the sound that came out of me was like nothing I can even describe.  Never in my life had I been in so much emotional pain...  Morgan was strong, he told me it was going to be ok, that he was on his way and he had Chase with him...he told me Stefan was on his way and would be there soon.  I remember just saying "no, no...she can't be gone", "please don't tell me this", "why not me, I want to die, I want to be with her"...  The pain I was feeling in my heart far surpassed the physical pain I was in from my injuries, my body was numb, but my heart was tearing apart.  When I say that, I mean it literally felt like it was being torn to pieces physically, the pain was so debilitating so unbelievable I didn't think I would be able to survive it and honestly I didn't want to.  Morgan continued to talk to me and tried to calm me down, he was in pain too, he was hurting, he was telling me he should have been there, he should never have left us and that if he had stayed with us, he would have been there.  I was starting to get angry at him, I don't know why, he was being very kind, but he was the one who told me that my daughter had died.  My beautiful Paige, the miracle baby that we had waited so long for -  My best friend that was with me 24 hours a day, playing tea party, store, doing dances for me and gymnastics -  The two of us laughing and having kiss attacks, the little sweetheart that would hold my hand as we would fall asleep together at night - the most precious little voice, always telling me she loved me and that I was the best mom in the "whole wite woorld"...  How could I go on?  I didn't want to, I handed the phone to the nurse...

4th Post

I don't feel like I am able to write about the accident today.  I feel I need to express my feelings for all of the innocent lives lost on this date 8 years ago...  I remember so vividly the sick feeling in my stomach when I realized this was more than just a plane crash, we were being attacked on American soil.  I had just dropped my son, Chase, off at School, and on my way home heard that the Pentagon had been hit.  I got home and decided I wasn't going to let my other son go to school that day.  It took everything in my power to not drive right back and get Chase.  This was a day that I would never forget.  I remember wanting to hold my family tight and never let them go.  

It has been 8 years since our world changed so drastically and so much has happened in our lives during the past 8 years.  We had Paige!!!  What a miracle!!!... Chase graduated High School and went to College...  Stefan found football...  I got to stay home and be a mom for the first time!...  Morgan and I divorced after almost 20 years of marriage...  Chase got married...  Paige started Kindergarten...  We lost our little Angel, Paige... Stefan graduated High School and is serving a mission.  

It seems like yesterday we were all glued to our TV watching America mourn.  I guess today is a day to reflect, ponder and try our best to remember what is really important.  To take the time to be proud of this great country, to love our neighbors, our family and friends.  To bend our knees and thank our Father in Heaven for all the many blessings he has given us.  Today is a day to REMEMBER... 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

3rd Post

FYI:  Before I start the post for today, I wanted to explain how to leave comments on this blog.  At the end of each post, the word comment is printed in pink.  All you have to do is click on comment and it will take you into a window, write your comment and then publish it.  

...I remember the firemen arriving and pulling the truck off of the car.  I thought I could get out now...but first they were getting Paige, they had her out so fast.  I tried to look behind me, but I couldn't even turn enough to see her.  The anxiety started to rear its ugly head again, I wanted out, the sun was beating on me and I still hadn't been able to see my little girl.  The fireman was talking to me, he wanted to know if I could move my legs, I told him I could.  He insisted that I show him, I said I just want out of this car, can you get me out.  He abruptly asked me to show him that I could move my legs, I was very annoyed at this, I wasn't in a rational state at this point.  I stomped my feet up and down so he could see that I could move.  I told him everything was fine with me and I just needed to get out of the car.  Thinking back, I feel bad for being so ungrateful, I didn't mean to be, I just didn't have much left, I was starting to lose it.  Never in my life had I been so helpless.  Being pinned in a confined space and honestly not being able to physically do anything about it is enough to make one lose their mind.  I was teetering on complete emotional breakdown.   It was like the rational, calm, Natalie was dealing with the scared, child-like, was crazy!  When the fireman determined I wasn't paralyzed, he went to get more tools to work on getting me out.  I looked at the window and now that the semi-truck was off my hip, I thought I might be able to wiggle my way out of the seat and pull myself out the window.  I reached my arms out of the window to grab the top of the car and immediately felt excruciating pain.  I slowly brought my arms back inside and realized I was hurt.  Could I be bleeding internally?  Reality started to come into my mind and I was scared, for the first time, I was really scared.  Up to this point, I had been annoyed, inconvenienced, but now I realized this was serious.  Where was Paige?  Was she ok, was I ok?  Where we going to make it?  How serious was this accident, were the looks on the faces I had seen just minutes earlier been an indication of what was to come?  

Next thing I knew they were trying to pry the metal from the car off of me with the jaws of life. Everytime they would make a move to use them it would push the metal into my hip, and it was very painful.  Soon they realized this wasn't the best approach to get me out.  They drapped the car with a tarp like thing and broke the windshield, they were going to take me up and out.  The bystander that had been so willing to make phone calls to my family was still there talking to me.  He had spoken with my son and my exhusband at this point.  He told me that he had told them that we were doing good, I was relieved.  Soon after that I was out, the bystander had held the tarp so that the metal and glass wouldn't get in my face, he was such a nice man.  Next thing I knew I was in the ambulance, and all I could say is where is my daughter.  The paramedics reassured me that she was being life flighted to a hospital and they were going to take me to the same hospital by ambulance.  We were out, we were for the moment safe, and even though I wasn't with Paige, they told me she was okay and on her way to the hospital.  Unfortunately, I would soon find out this was not the case.  As we drove off in the ambulance, I was hurting pretty bad, they didn't strap me down and I was trying to hold on and not fall off the gurney and was starting to get very cold.  They cut open my shirt and put electrodes on my chest, all the while I was trying to hold on for dear life.  I finally asked if they could put a blanket on me as I was exposed and afraid that I was going into shock, I was really cold.  Then I heard the radio, they were redirecting me to another hospital.  My heart sank, years of working in the medical field had come back to haunt me.  I knew this was not a good sign.  Why weren't they taking me to the hospital that Paige was at?  I asked them why they were changing hospitals, they said this other hospital was closer.  Again, I went into self preservation mode...I rationalized that this must be because Paige wasn't that bad and they didn't need to take her to the hospital that they initially thought they should.  

I was scared, I wanted someone to hold my hand, but these paramedics just didn't seem to be able to show that kind of compassion.  My feet were in glass from the car, I was laying in glass, and holding on, every corner I just about fell off of the gurney, was this really happening?  They were taking care of me, I was going to be alright, quit being so needy, these guys are doing the best they can.  When would we be at the hospital?  Would Paige be at this hospital?  When would I see her again?  Hopefully her dad and brothers were on their way, maybe my son that was in California was being taken to Paige and would be there with her until I could get there, oh I hoped so, I prayed she wasn't alone and scared! 

After what seemed like hours, we were at the hospital, and that is when things started moving fast...the first thing I remember is lots of questions...but as I would answer, I would ask how is my little girl, where is my little girl?  After they were through checking me out, the question I was dreading came, "so how old WAS your little girl?"  I said "she IS five"!!!  The health care worker turned away...what was that?  Did they know something they weren't telling me.  My daughter is five years old and she is alive, she had a pulse, they were rushing her by helicopter to a hospital, that was the facts as I knew them and that was what I was going to believe, that is what I had to believe...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2nd Post

...I will never forget the look on the truck drivers face as he hit our car.  It is funny what goes through your mind while everything is going in slow motion.  I remember thinking "oh great, now we are going to miss Wicked".  I was so put out that this was going to inconvenience us.  It wasn't until people came running to the car and asked me if I was in the car by myself that I knew things might not be right.  I remember saying " little girl is in the back seat"...couldn't they see her, she was just right there, right behind me.  My mind immediately reassured me, it was because she was asleep and although she was in her car seat, she was laying down.  Then, I was even more relived because I thought she would be even safer because the truck would have been over her and probably not even touched her.  Never did I think that she would be hurt at all.  Again, I was fine so she had to be fine, she was just sleeping.  One bystander quickly asked me if there was someone he could call for me.  My mind went blank, I don't have anyone to call, I am single - newly divorced, parents are gone, who do I call.  I told the man to call my exhusband, but as soon as he dialed I knew that Morgan wouldn't answer a number he didn't recognize.  I then said to call my son that was in California with his football team and he could call my other son and my exhusband.  From there they could contact my brothers etc.  There was an EMT, she told me she could feel a pulse in Paige's little arm, she told me that she was still alive.  I asked if I could reach back if she could put Paige's hand in mine, but I was unable to reach back far enough.  It seemed like an eternity for the rescue personnel to arrive.  The bystanders were wonderful, I remember trying to bow my head to say a prayer, but they would keep telling me to stay awake.  I told them, I am not losing consciousness, I am just trying to say a prayer.  There was a woman who asked if she could pray for me and Paige, I said was a different prayer, much different than how I pray, but I was so thankful that she was willing to pray for us.  

The worst part about sitting there waiting, was when people would come up, they could see in the back, and the look on their face said it was obvious that the people behind me would tell them not to show their horror.  I have no idea what they were witnessing, I could not see my little girl.  I know she had a cut right above her eye, and head injuries usually have a lot of blood.  I am sure people were trying to keep my spirits up.  Again, I would tell myself they probably think I am hurt worse than I am, they probably can't even see Paige, anything to take away any negative thoughts, I had to stay positive...Paige was going to be fine!

As I sat there in the car, unable to move my upper body because of steel and cement, I was starting to lose my patience.  It was hot, I couldn't move, I didn't know how my little girl was, and they couldn't get me out of the car.  It didn't matter what I tried, I was not getting out, it was the most helpless feeling.  I so wanted to just touch my little Paige.  I couldn't get a feeling, there was nothing, I couldn't feel if things were good, bad or anything, I felt nothing.  The EMT, continued to hold Paige's hand for me, I would call out her name and tell her I loved her and it was going to be ok.  It was hot, I felt like I couldn't breath, I was starting to freak out a little, I had to talk to myself and remind myself to breath, to be patient, they would get me out, all would be well.  I continued to talk to Paige, I so wanted to feel something, a feeling that everything would be ok, I would pray to Heavenly Father, please just let me know that we are going to be ok...nothing...there was no feeling whatsoever.  I had to calm myself down, I would tell myself that Paige was fortunate, if she was conscious she would be scared, so this was the best thing.  Where was the rescue people, we needed to get Paige help, I wished her dad was there...he could save her.  Paige's daddy, my exhusband was an anesthesiologist and he was an excellent physician, he had saved so many people, he could save her.  Could he get here in time?  

Sirens, thank heavens, FINALLY!!!  She still had a pulse, she was going to be fine.  I knew I was ok, if they could just move the truck off of me (it was sitting on my hip) I could probably just climb out the window.  They backed the truck off of the rental car, I still couldn't move.  Paige was out, they had her out so fast.  Relief...she was safe now, she was going to be okay.  Now, get me out...  

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 8, 2009

Two years ago today, I lost one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given.  It has been two years of loss and pain both physically and emotionally but also unbelievable outpouring of love and a beautiful appreciation for great friends and family. 

I don't really know how to start this blog, but I have wanted to do this for sometime and today just felt like the perfect time.  

Paige Amelia Grant was a miracle, we were unable to have children after the birth of my second son.  Eleven years went by when I discovered I was pregnant.  It was one of those experiences where you are excited but also a little apprehensive.  I had two children (awesome boys), who were 16 and 12, life was finally getting a little bit easier.  Well, maybe not easier, but there was finally time for myself.  Now, I was going to be starting over...diapers, bottles, total and complete take over of my body, was I ready for this again?!!!  It wasn't long before my selfishness disappeared and the excitement of having another child, that I had wanted for so many years, took over and we all couldn't wait for the arrival of our new family member.  Soon after, we found out the baby was going to be a little girl.  The first sonogram came back that it was a boy, I have to admit there was a bit of disappointment at first, but then the real sonogram date came and it was definitely a girl.  I couldn't wait to tell my family.  I surprised my husband with a picture of the sonogram with the words "every little girl loves her daddy".  We held each other and cried and cried, this had been years in coming.  My boys were excited now, my oldest had not been too thrilled to find out his mother was pregnant, he was a junior in High School and to be honest I think he was horrified at the realization of what his parents had to have been doing in order to get pregnant.  My second son was excited, but he was young, still in elementary school, so it wasn't anything but exciting for him.   Soon, all of the worries passed and we all united and were so excited for the upcoming birth...a little girl!!!

I come from a family of all boys, I am the youngest and only girl.  My parents have both passed away, so the thoughts of having a little girl was so unbelievably exciting.  I knew my parents had sent her to our family. 

Now jump forward five was September 8, 2007, Paige and I were in San Diego, California watching her big brother play football.  The game had been the evening before, Paige and I were now going to spend some days in Disneyland.  But first we were on our way to Los Angeles to see the musical Wicked...we had just passed Anaheim and about 10 minutes from our exit when traffic started to come to a halt, Paige was sound asleep in the back seat of our rental car.  I heard brakes screeching, and was annoyed that people don't pay better attention.  I slowed down and pumped my brakes so people behind me would realize that the traffic was slowing to a stop.  I heard the brakes again and looked to the right, that is when everything went into slow motion.  A semi truck was coming at me, it hit the passenger side of the car, I held onto the steering wheel and took the impact.  We slid sideways until finally coming to a stop at the cement median...the horn was blaring, it was my head or hand or something, I pulled back...embarrassed.  I was fine, wide awake, my arm was hanging out the driver side window, I was pinned in pretty good, but felt good.  I was relived thinking that Paige was sound asleep, so she wouldn't be scared.  I couldn't turn to see her, the car was pretty much wrapped around me.  I was okay, so she had to be as well...little did I know, this was going to be the worst day of my life...