Sunday, August 21, 2016. As my husband and I were heading out for dinner, somewhere around 5:40ish, he yelled up the stairs to his daughter Lindsay, “home straight from dinner, school tomorrow.” I’m sure she answered “Yes, Sir.” I didn’t pay attention, or say anything, not even goodbye, as I knew I would be seeing her in a couple of hours. She was leaving at 6:00 to meet a friend for dinner at Tower 7 in Wilmington. A last hurrah before her first official day of Senior year the next morning. We’d all be back safe and sound by 8:00, wouldn’t we? I’d see her then.
We sat down at Pizzettas in Leland, ordered and were chatting about Seaglass, we got the call at 6:08. (((Don’t panic, don’t panic))) We explained we had an emergency and had to leave, walked quickly, maybe jogged?!, to the car and headed to Compass Pointe, that was one of the few words Brad was able to make out from Lindsay’s moms frantic phone call. That 5 minute ride felt like a lifetime. (((Positive thoughts, don’t panic))) Then we saw it, sirens, first responders, ambulances, cops. (((DO NOT PANIC))) I ran to the closest Policeman he knew who I was looking for, “Go to the hospital Sweetheart, go to New Hanover.” That was all he would say. My husband scanned the scene for her car, he found it. He did not speak, I did not shut up, it was the longest ride of our lives.
Emergency Room, no answers, Nurses, Doctors, Chaplains, phone calls, Trauma Doctors, Surgeons, Neurosurgeons. No answers. Emergency Surgery, very low chance of survival. Medicines? Allergies? No time to waste. Sit, wait. Wait. Wait. Is this really happening? Family. Friends. Teachers. Administrators. Prayers. So many prayers. Wait. Cry. Positive thoughts. Terrible thoughts, no ONLY positive thoughts. 2 hours felt like 2 days. Here he comes, Dr. Huffmon, man of few words. She survived the surgery, she is alive, very low survival rate. That’s it?! Seriously? Wait. Wait. There was a herd (as my southern husband would say) at the hospital that night, and we all walked together up to the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit (STICU). Men, women, kids. Family, friends, teachers. Openly crying and scared. Is this really happening?! It was 1:30 Monday morning when we told the kids and teachers there was nothing they could do, we would get no news any time soon and they needed to go home. It was the first day of school, they needed to get some rest.
We spent 7 days at the STICU.
Lindsay never regained consciousness, we would later find out if she had been an adult they would have never done the surgery, it would have been called a fatal accident, but, because of her age they had to give her every chance. We held her hand, cried, prayed, laughed, sang Beyoncé and begged her to come back. Each day gave us more bad news, each day we continued to pray. Lindsay was getting tired, her body was exhausted, she knew it was time to let go, we had to listen to her. Our prayers for recovery turned to prayers for peace.
Sunday, August 28, 2016 5:16 PM exactly one week to the day (almost to the hour), we held her hand and cried as we said goodbye to a young lady who would soon become a hero. A girl who turned a terrible story into a story of hope.
Tomorrow I will continue the story of hope and how a terrible accident change my life, and my faith, forever.
Thank you for letting me tell our story,
So many people have asked, if we can do anything, please let us know, well here you go…please consider donating to the Lindsay M. Benton Cheer Scholarship Fund c/o Wilmington Christian Academy 1401 N. College Rd. Wilmington NC 28405