Grace – (n) – mercy, clemency pardon
It seemed unimaginable. First came the phone call. The voice on the other end, desperate, screaming, crying, scared.
“Mom, please tell dad to hurry, I’m hurt, I am really hurt.”
What! Where? How? Where are you? – All questions I asked out loud and tons more racing through my head. He was supposed to be at the movies with friends and their mom. He was supposed to be safe. He was supposed to be okay. He was supposed to be getting frozen yogurt after the movies? Where was the mom? How did this happen? What is going on? Questions continued to race through my head. I called the mom, and what unfolded from that moment on …
was a nightmare
It was a regular Saturday afternoon. A text inviting my son to go to the movies. He mentioned it to me and flat out said, “I don’t want to go.” I encouraged him to go and be sociable, be kind, do something other than staying at home and playing Xbox. So he obliged. My husband and I and our youngest son went out to dinner and visited my mother-in-law who at the time was in the fight of her life. She was battling one of many forms of cancers that would invade her body. It was a quiet day with not much fanfare. We went about our day and arrived home around 10p. My husband was getting our youngest son ready for bed, and I was wrapping things up in the office.
The phone rang, and all I heard was my husband yell, “where are you?” And then he just left, ran out the door. Startled by all the commotion, I ran after him asking what was going on, “Robert’s hurt, I have to find him.” Immediately the phone rang again, and it was then I heard the desperate cries of my son pleading for help.
By the time I reached him up the hill, the ambulance, fire department, police were at the scene. I got out of my car and ran a few feet, I felt as if I was running in slow motion. Everything seemed like a blur. This possibly couldn’t be happening to us. Where was my son? Is he okay? How did this happen? Where was his car? Why did she take off? How did he get here? A police officer approached me and said, “Ma’am I need you to stay over here, we need to ask you a few questions, where is the driver of the car he was in?” Driver? Car? What? The confusion was apparent. It quickly became clear that my son has been severely injured,
and crime had been committed
It all started when my son suggested they go “egging” after the movies. She obliged. They parked his car away from our home so that we would not know that he was in the neighborhood. They started throwing eggs at the neighbor’s car. The neighbor came out, yelled at them, got in his vehicle and a car chase ensued. This led to my son panicking and asking to be let out of the car. What transpired afterward was life-altering. In her panic, she let my son out of the car without a complete stop. His right leg was caught in the rear wheel of her car, and she dragged my son and drove over his ankle, breaking it in half.
And drove off.
Up to that point, we weren’t sure of the gory details of deceit that took place. Calling and asking if they could have frozen yogurt, parking the car away so if we got home we would think he was still out.
As I walked into the hospital ER room, the officers were talking with my son, my husband. The family responsible for the tragic accident were present. The mom throwing up in the shrubs, the daughter weeping in the waiting room. I couldn’t speak, I just looked at them in disbelief. Knowing that my son was hurt as a result of their actions and the seriousness of his injury
and what that would mean moving forward.
The officers took us aside and after collecting all the information from my son, and the eyewitnesses that saw exactly what happened, they concluded that all stories lined up and there was only one person responsible and that person, had, in fact, committed a crime. One officer took her outside and questioned her, and the other officer stayed with my husband and I. We sat in disbelief, how could a simple outing go so wrong and why did you leave our child alone on the roadside hurt, bleeding, screaming and
The officer approached us both and said that a crime had indeed been committed and that it was our decision whether we were to have the mom arrested and press formal charges. Arrested? Formal charges? A hit and run which is how the officer characterized the crime which is a felony in Los Angeles, CA punishable by one to three years in jail. She’s mom, a grandmother, someone from our church. Someone that cheered my son at most of his football games. Arrested? How did this happen? Who is this person? I recall sitting in shock, looking over at my husband, trying to process all the information the trauma surgeon had just shared with us, looking over at her daughter, hearing her weep, terrified on the outcome. My youngest son, laying in a row of seats crying. It all seemed like one big nightmare, and it was. Right then and there we needed to make the most critical decision of our lives, do we press charges and drastically change and devastate another family’s life, or do we extended grace.
We extended grace.
It was a moment that changed the trajectory of our home, our lives.
It was a moment that proved that dads are superheroes and moms have strength beyond their wildest imaginations. The year that transpired after that moment was life-altering for the better. Our son’s resolved was shifted, our home was redefined…It was our moment to rise up and extend grace as much as it has been extended to us. It was a moment when who and what we believed in was tested beyond words.
“There will be moments, moments that no one and nothing can prepare you for, that will truly take your breath away, but God holds you in.
This was one of them.”