Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Brush With Death and Eternal Life

Janelle and Jacob (her boyfriend of a little over a year) came home this weekend. One of their friends, Brentdrick Walker, from college was killed in a motorcycle accident last Saturday and his funeral was this weekend in Dallas. Jacob lived with Brentdrick and a couple of other guys for a couple of weeks this semester while he was waiting to move into his apartment, and they also played on the HSU football team together.

This morning before the funeral, Janelle and I were talking about Jacob being so upset, but that the good news is that Brentdrick is in heaven and way better off than we are. At an early age, he came to grips that he was separated from God because of his sins and that Jesus Christ paid the price for him.

Janelle showed me this note about him that was on a tribute page on Facebook.

Note Was Written By A Man By The Name Of Matt Worthington. He Was There With Brentdrick In His Final Moments. Please Sit Down While You Read This.

The Accident Today on Washington & 10th3:00pm Saturday, Jan 19I held a dying man's head today. The soil from his scalp is on my fingers as I write this note.Life is very, very fragile. I don't think I realized that until just 30 minutes ago. Today I slept in, woke up to my roommates in my warm house, carpooled to Evan's parents' house with all of them for breakfast, and upon return we all happened to stumble upon the site of a freshly dressed disaster. I don't know how it happened, but I just know that it happened. He was lying there, seemingly asleep like he was merely snoring. When in reality, his tongue was bunched up against the roof of his mouth, and he was gargling his blood. He was not conscious, and his eyes looked glossy. One of his front teeth looked loose, there was some grass hanging off of it. The front end of his motorcycle had been smashed into a million pieces. His helmet apparently flew off. Much of his layered clothing had been pulled off of his body, one of his gloves missing and his pants pulled mostly down with both shoes in two different places in a 10 yard radius around the accident. His Interstate Batteries jacket had come over his back and was pulled tightly over his face, pinching his nose shut. I think he must have slid. I don't know that for sure though. People were gathering around the accident. My roommates and I ran up, and someone called the EMTs. A lady kept saying, "Don't move him! Don't move him!" I was angry at her because I knew that wasn't the best thing for him and I wanted one of us to save him, I didn't care if it was me or the lady whose lawn this man was sprawled out on. Instead, we were all just there, some of us standing and facing the accident, some with our faces pushed away towards the sky, but ultimately with no immediate solution. I don't think any of us really knew just how bad it was. We were all scared, feeling strangely connected to the bleeding man who none of us recognized.I told people that we had to get his head up. That lady kept yelling, "Don't move him! Don't move him!" but I could hear him choking on his blood and knew that his head being tilted back with his jacket pinching his nose was only obstructing the flow of oxygen into his body and making things worse. Then I said some things about trusting me and that this guy needed to have his head lifted so he could breathe. So I loosened the tension in his jacket and pulled it back over his face and bunched the jacket up under his head. We all laid our coats over him and people stuffed beanies and other soft things under his head to give him some support. We were all trying to open his airway. The lady who was telling us not to move him stopped yelling and started praying. After I lifted his head and tried loosening his jaw to try and get him to breathe in, I started panicking on the inside, hoping that the EMTs would just hurry up and do all of the things that I couldn't. I noticed that shortly after we lifted his head some blood poured out of his nose. The EMTs then pulled up and I rushed to tell them all of what we had done. I wanted to cry, but I couldn't. I was angry and sad, and so were many of us standing around. People started closing in around the EMTs and most of us didn't even know each other. The EMTs began opening his airway, giving him a breathing mask while the ambulance pulled up. Somehow we all became really close.The ambulance then showed up and placed several sticky pads around his chest with one big rectangular pad placed over his heart that was connected to a defibrillator. They induced shock treatment and I saw his body jolt. There was a guy that showed up, probably my age, who hadn't been there before. He had a very strong foreign accent and just kept saying, "He's gone. He's gone." I tried not to listen to what he was saying, but it was hard because everyone else was positioned somewhere away from the two of us. I almost started crying because I felt like all of us had failed. "You don't know that," I said. But he just kept saying "He's gone", and then he complained about the stupidity of people who ride motorcycles. I couldn't tell him, but I wanted to punch him because I didn't understand how he could be so insensitive while someone was injured like this. It's not until now, as I write this, that I understand that people deal with tragedies in different ways. They put the man on a stretcher and loaded him into an ambulance.I asked the EMT, "Is he breathing?" And while loading things in his bag he said, "I don't know." "Well, do you think he'll make it?" I responded. The man continued typing up tubes and stuffing things back in their proper pouches and replied with his head down, "I'm not gonna guess."Evan, Spenser, Jason, and myself then stood around very somberly. Spenser asked if he could pray, then a lady came over and stood with us while Spenser asked God to be in all of the places that none of us could be in right now: with the family, with the hands of the doctors, with the body of the man, all of those places we knew were deeply engaged in the pain surrounding this accident. The guy who I wanted to punch came over and kept saying, "He's gone. He's gone. How can people ride those things? It's so stupid. He's gone. He's gone." We tried to help gather the injured man's things, but the police told us to leave them on the ground. They were still questioning the man who hit him with his car. As I watched them talk, I remember thinking how much I would hate to be the driver of the vehicle who hit this man. I can't even imagine what it feels like to know that because you were rushing somewhere, you may have killed someone.After that, all four of us walked to Evan's car. On the ride home, no one really talked. There were a few words, I think. Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention. All I could think about was how just a few feet, and a few seconds in front of us, someone was now flirting with eternity. Death was near to all of us today because we touched a man who was being hugged by his mortality. I don't think I'd ever felt so human. I don't know what else to say except that I hope the man makes it. I hope his family is okay too.I don't know that I can do much today after seeing that. I think I may go and sleep.

Wow, is all I can say. At his funeral service, the pastor talked about Brentdrick’s personal relationship with the Lord and his guarantee of spending an eternity in Heaven. That is the only way you find comfort in times like these.


Brea said...

Wow, Laura -- I had not heard about this accident. Such a tragedy -- the young man's tribute brought tears to my eyes.

Gigi said...

This testimony reminds us all that we don't know what tomorrow will bring, but through our faith in Him we know God will be in control and He will be waiting for us to come home.
It is always a tragedy when we hear of someone dying so suddenly and especially so young. My experience with this has led me to believe that we don't question, we just believe that God had a purpose and chose this young life to be an example to others and thru their faith will bring others to believe in Him.

Lolly said...

Gigi, you are so right. I used to ask questions, and I'm not going to say I won't in the future, but I just have to have faith that HE is in control and put my trust in him and let it go. It is hard sometimes and I have lots of questions to ask Him one of these days.

Sandra at 7th St. Studio said...

Wow is so right! That makes me want to hug my kids and tell them how much I love them. I am praying that his family knows God intimately so they may find comfort in knowing their son is with his God now. Don't you know that young man that wrote that has been forever changed by that event. Wow...