Loss and the holidays By Nancy Short
Wednesday, August 23, 2000 is a day that I will never
forget. My oldest son, Joe, was visiting us from Florida before his next semester of Bible School started. Joe brought two friends back home to Louisiana with him; Paul was from Oregon, and Sergio was from Brazil. On that Wednesday, we, along with my youngest son, were planning on visiting the Tabasco factory in New Iberia. Joe had started taking Tony’s seasonings and Tabasco Sauce with him on summer trips to share his with friends and teammates. Joe had been going on mission trips since he was 10 years old. His first mission’s team was to Florida. He then went in successive years to Bermuda, Bahamas, Venezuela, the Philippines, Israel and Zimbabwe. Joe went as a leader with his sister to Norway and was a leader to Mongolia the summer of 2000. On Highway 90 South, just inside Iberia Parish, the driver of a flatbed truck fell asleep and crossed the median to hit us almost head-on. Joe was driving, and he was killed instantly. Paul was sitting behind Joe, and he was also killed instantly. I was sitting in the front passenger seat. My leg was broken, and I ‘blew-out’ my knee and ankle. My youngest son in the middle back seat broke his femur and had other internal injuries. Sergio broke his upper arm and also had other internal injuries.
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The first thing that I remember thinking after the accident was that my life will never be the same again. My mom helped me put it in perspective. She asked me, “Do you realize how close to God you were at that moment? He was right there saying, ‘Come on, Joe, we have better things to do!’” The holidays were very sad that year. Joe’s birthday is December 20th, and we had been planning on driving as a family to Seattle, Washington to visit my husband’s family. We did fly out to Seattle as a family that year, and it was good to be with family. In the years to follow, my husband and I have planned vacations during the holidays so that we wouldn’t be home and have to deal with our grief and loneliness. It has only been in the last five years that we have celebrated Christmas at home with friends and family. One of the things that bothered me was when we saw the truck coming toward us that I never called out to God for help. In fact, no one said anything. I asked God later why? We had been listening to Christian music CD. God spoke to me and said, “Duh, I was already with you!” God has always been a strong presence in my life. He has been with me since I was 14 years old and asked Him into my heart. I will never understand why He took my 20-year-old son who was going to Bible School to be a missionary. What I do know is that in Joe’s death more people will continue to hear about Jesus. Joe’s legacy lives on in a Bible School in Madagascar, two vans donated in Joe’s name in the Philippines, and a projector, screen, generator and JESUS movie in Mongolia. I have definitely learned to lean on God while going through the deep depression of the car accident and the death of Joe. I have found that Christian counseling helped me to come to terms with my grief. I encourage anyone going through any type of struggle to seek counseling. One counselor that specializes in grief and trauma counseling is After Hours Counseling. One thing I do know is that heaven is that much sweeter because Joe is there. Nancy Short is a follower of Jesus, a wife of 39 years, a mom of four, a grandmother of two and a sometimes quilter.