“Give thanks in everything,” says the Bible (1 Thessalonians chapter 8, verse 13).
Everything? Even the bad things? That seems completely unrealistic and unfair. That’s what I thought—until a neartragedy changed everything.
It started out with me frantically getting dinner ready while my boys played noisily around my feet. My husband Phil had just stepped outside to light the barbecue when we heard an almighty thud.
What on earth was that?
Phil and I looked at each other and the horror in his eyes made my heart sink with realisation. Our younger son Jack, just two days shy of his first birthday, had found a small gap in the staircase handrail and plunged, head first, two and a half metres to the wooden floor below.
I froze. “There’s no way he survived that,” I whispered defeatedly, picturing his limp, lifeless body on the floor below. A myriad of unspeakable thoughts went through my mind. Then out of the darkness we heard a cry and Phil seemed to defy gravity as he flew down the stairs and instinctively picked up our baby boy.
I was already on the phone, calling an ambulance. Jack’s forehead had doubled in size and was distinctly purple. The operator finally made sense of my hysteria and sent an ambulance.
Running out the door, Jack screaming in my arms, our neighbours casually leaned over the fence for a chat and realised all was not well. Phil was holding Jack’s older brother, and he explained the situation.
My next door neighbour Jenni ran inside, shouting, “I’m coming in the ambulance with you!”
How grateful I was to have someone with me who could talk sensibly to the medics while Phil and Tyson followed in our car.
At the hospital, the emergency medical staff pounced on Jack with X-rays, MRIs and a cannula, poking and prodding. I sang to Jack, trying to keep him calm while I fell apart. The nurses were so gentle and kind with me.
Meanwhile, Phil had texted everyone we knew, asking them to pray for our little Jack.
By midnight, he was fast asleep. I was set up on a trundle bed beside him and I sat there, at 2 am, as texts and emails poured in from friends and family who were praying for Jack.
Phil’s sister was already on her way to help and my mother came and sat with me in the neurology ward for two days.
Day two was Jack’s first birthday. His party was cancelled but he was smiling, and nothing else mattered.
Finally, at about 3 pm that day, a neurologist gave him the all clear, saying, “Just a large fracture from the top of his head to his eye socket.” Ouch!
The sense of relief was incredible. Mum drove us home and as I took my first step inside I burst into tears. I didn’t know anything about post-traumatic stress disorder, but that’s what I was experiencing. For weeks, whenever I heard an ambulance siren or a loud thud I would jump three metres in the air. Tyson became super-protective of his little brother, running to make sure Jack was okay whenever he cried.
My social media post, written the day we arrived home, says it all: “When something terrible happens, that’s when you realise love is tangible. It has a face and hands, it’s a kind voice, it’s prayers, it’s words, it’s presence, it’s help, it’s heart. Thank you for all of the above, beautiful people in our lives. We have felt your love in our darkest moment and we feel truly blessed. Jack is doing better than we could ever have hoped and anyone who has seen how far he fell knows it’s a miracle he is here with us today.”
The Bible tells us, “Give thanks to God, for his love never quits!” (1 Chronicles 16:37–42).
His love never quits, even in the tough times? Having gone through the dreadful time of not knowing if my son would live or not, I really appreciate this now.