Photo from The Catholic Witness, September 1, 2006
Photo from The Catholic Witness, September 1, 2006
Some people are indomitable. My mother is one of these. During her 74 years on this earth, she has been a guiding light of inspiration to many. A beacon that was nearly extinguished on Friday, January 5, 2006.

On Friday evening, Mom and Dad were in a terrible car accident. They were driving into Shippensburg, Pennsylvania to have dinner with their son John and his wife Darla. Mom was driving, had stopped at an intersection and while proceeding through the intersection was hit by a pick up truck. Fortunately, Dad was able to walk away from the hospital with bruised ribs but Mom remains in critical condition three days later.

My mother suffered a broken neck, broken ribs, a crushed pelvis, lacerated spleen and broken leg. Her blood pressure was 50 over 0 when she arrived in the emergency room.

John and Darla raced to the hospital when they realized why Mom and Dad had not met them at the restaurant and were able to be by their side while their injuries were assessed. Mom was in great pain but conscious. I can only imagine John’s feeling of helplessness as he held Mom’s hand and waited. Finally, the doctors were able to sedate Mom and transport her to the bigger hospital in York.

Four of Mom and Dad’s six children and their wives and children were able to spend Saturday and Sunday at the hospital. The support has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on Mom, who is, amazingly, beginning to stabilize enough to face surgery.

I am grateful to everyone who was there, holding Mom’s hand, praying for her, asking the hospital staff the hard questions, comforting each other – losing sleep to keep the vigil. Father (brother) Joe flew from Honolulu, James and Kathryn drove from New Jersey, Bob and Deb and their children drove from Lancaster, Dad, John and Darla, Aphia and Brandon drove two vans from Shippensburg and slept in them.

The good nurse, Claudia held the phone up to Mom’s ear so that Bob and I and Mike Illo were able to tell her how much we love her. The night nurse, Hank has been wonderful. The initial shock has given way to acceptance, fatigue and reconnection with the family for all.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.