A favorite part of this blog series for me is finding photographs to share with you. This has become a family affair and the memories triggered from one snapshot create conversations taking us back in time. My mother is so wonderfully organized and this makes the process an easier task. I pull open the drawer, find the “Heidi” tab and start looking.
I found today’s photos and thought “Ugh, I remember this day. Why would anyone want to remember this?” and then it dawned on me the lesson hidden within these horrific photos. Our time on Earth is only a snapshot in itself and we need to cherish each moment.
In 1993 on her way home Heidi looked down only for a second to change her radio station before CRASH! Mom and Dad’s Oldsmobile ran into the back end of a tractor hauling a manure spreader. The driver of the tractor was my cousin Terry. I honestly don’t remember where I was when this happened. The only thing I remember is seeing the car in the yard when I pulled in the driveway. I couldn’t pull in the driveway quick enough, put the car in park and get in the house. Mom and Dad were sitting at the table.
Oh no, not Heidi. No. As if reading my mind, “Heidi is okay; she is in the other room and is very upset.” I started to walk out of the room before I heard, “Lisa, stop, there is more.”
“Was someone else hurt?”
“Terry…” and their voices fade
“What?” the only word I could utter as I stood in disbelief.
Mom and Dad explained what happened and then I became angry because we were taught not to reach for anything while driving. Oh my, the arrogance and lack of empathy bubbling from me was terrible. I’m ashamed. I apologized to my sister later. The thought of losing her, and my cousin all in one accident scared me so much. I let anger replace this emotion momentarily. As I started my “You knew better…” tirade, do you know what my precious younger (and more knowledgeable) sister said to me?
“Lisa, I’m okay. Terry will be okay. The car, tractor and spreader well that is another story BUT I’m okay. Calm down. I’m okay.”
Instead of comforting her when she needed it, she instead had to comfort me.
I apologized for being a monster her response, “You can’t help it. It just comes naturally for you.” With a smile so big on her face. I hugged her so tight and didn’t want to let her go.
“Ow…you know I was just in an accident.” Laughter erupted and then she told me what happened.
She was right. The car, tractor, and manure spreader were totaled yet she and Terry walked away from the accident with minor scratches. Gram said, “It isn’t there time.”
I don’t know what I would have done if Heidi and/or Terry would have died that day. I can’t imagine the impact on our family BUT I do know this – God had a plan and purpose for each of their lives and He wasn’t ready to call them home.
Who knows, maybe one of the students she worked with in the Banana Splits program life was changed because she volunteered? Would there be children raised without a mother because someone else was working that fateful Easter Sunday on April 3, 1994? Would we have had as many wonderful memories and times together that last year if this accident hadn’t occurred?
Of course we can’t answer these questions, only God knows the answers. BUT God knew Heidi and Terry both had more to do. We all face tragedy in our life and if the Good Lord gives us another chance, we need to smile and trust Him because He knows the best is yet to come.
None of us could have imagined that in less than year Heidi would be kidnapped and truly gone from our lives. I personally didn’t understand the importance of a relationship with Jesus until a decade after her disappearance. I’m thankful for the Hope I have. I’m thankful for the extra time with my sister and the gift God blessed us with…one more year to make memories.
Have you taken advantage of the second chance God has given you? Feel free to share.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323