Our first married Valentine’s day was about a month before our first wedding anniversary. My husband Frank is way better at being thoughtful in regards to gifting than I am and can be sneaky while doing it. So when I got a call directly to my desk at the bank I was working at from a man claiming to be a police officer and asking for the wife of Frank Adams I thought it was a joke.
The officer assured me it was not a joke and let me know that my husband had just been in a car wreck. The officer said that he did not know anything in regards to the extent of my husbands injuries except that it was bad enough that they had taken my husband away in a helicopter to the hospital. Completely shocked my mind began inventing all sorts of reasons why a helicopter would have taken him away.
I ran into my new boss’ office and emotionally told her about the call. Totally reeling, I remember telling her that I had no clue how to get to the hospital he was taken to. Also she knew that I was very afraid of driving on the freeway (so much so that I was choosing to go 17 miles on the surface streets to and from work instead of driving on the freeway). She knew right where to tell me to go on the freeway and gave me a pep talk before I left her office doorway muttering the repeated freeway directions over and over again and I shakily walking to the car.
My parents both were unreachable at work, and my husband’s parents were both 150 miles away so I called my husband’s sister. She said she would absolutely meet me at the hospital. Then my phone started ringing.
The first call was from Frank’s boss. Frank was a plumber at the time and worked in new housing developments. His boss had not been too far away from the location of Frank’s accident and was there before the helicopter came. His boss told me that he didn’t know more about Frank’s injuries or really what happened except that Frank kept saying that his back hurt before they put him on the chopper, and that he also would meet me at the hospital.
My minds eye saw Frank like the opening scene of a tv hospital drama being wheeled into the hospital surrounded by EMT’s and hospital staff and him covered in blood and barely alive. Would I even recognize him? How badly was he hurt? What would I do without him? Would he die before I got there?
Driving now (and as I am continuing to mutter the freeway directions that my boss gave me while white knuckling the steering wheel) my phone rings again. This time it is a man who says he is the Chaplain at the hospital Frank is at. Of course from my years watching MASH I knew that this religious representative calling me before I even stepped into the hospital was not good. I don’t even remember what he said or asked me except that my mind kept screaming, “HE IS GOING TO BE DEAD BEFORE I GET THERE!” “WE HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN MARRIED A YEAR YET AND HE IS DEAD.”
I get there and they usher me into a little waiting room. Two seconds later Frank’s sister and her family walk in. The chaplain comes and talks to me again and then they say that I can see Frank. I am terrified to walk into his room, but so thankful to be there.
His pelvis had been shattered and he was scraped up pretty good but coherent and alright! I remember being so completely relieved my husband was alive and feeling very thankful for him.
Frank’s boss was a member of the same church that we are and came right in with his boss as well who also was (yeah surprise all the boss’ came and Frank got a lot of undesired attention from “upper management” that day). Both men along with my brother in law gave Frank a priesthood blessing right there in his hospital room. I was so thankful that they were able to do that and it provided a great comfort and calm that I needed.
The rest of the story about Frank’s accident gave me even more reason to thank my Heavenly Father. As the small plumbing truck that Frank was driving got t-boned by another truck about the size of a tow truck, Frank’s truck flipped onto the driver’s side and was pushed quite a ways before it stopped. Frank’s window, the window the truck flipped onto and one can assume Frank was slammed into despite his seat belt being buckled did not break. Had it broken, or had Frank not been wearing his seat belt like the guy in the passenger seat clearly the outcome would have been much grimmer.
The accident and how Frank was protected was a major reality check to my 19 year old mind. Now more than a decade later it still drops a bomb on my heart. If he had died that day I wouldn’t have any of the sunshine I have because of him. He helped me survive my twenties and graduate from college, which took a lot of doing. He put/puts up with my nonsense and helped/helps straighten me out when I am going nuts. And best of all he has walked through 4 kids with me, and carried me when I felt like quitting and then nudged me along with his foot when his arms were full of kids. Charles and Orson wouldn’t be here let alone have their sparkly blue eyes. I could go on and one and on. So every Valentine’s Day we think of the anniversary of “Frank’s accident,” and the miracle of the day and the ripple effect through all of the years after.