Tomorrow has always been a small sign of hope, something to possibly look forward to. For example, the sun will come up tomorrow, tomorrow is going to be a better day, there is always tomorrow, you never know what tomorrow may bring. Well for me I know what tomorrow brings, it brings sadness, and grief. I know it’s not going to be a better day, and the sun, it will not be shinning very bright in my life. One year ago tomorrow was one of the best days of my life and one of the worst all wrapped up into one. One year ago tomorrow was the day Lindsay was involved in her accident. One year ago tomorrow I spent the afternoon with my daughter, laughing, talking and exploring her future. One year ago tomorrow my world came crashing down.
One year ago tomorrow started with Lindsay stomping down the stairs and twirling as she came through her bedroom door. “Hey dad, can I go to the pool for a while?” Mind you she was already in her bathing suit and cover up with her phone and ear buds in tow, heading to the laundry room for a towel and sun screen, almost as if she knew I was going to say yes, and of course I did. “Dad is it okay if I go to dinner with Drew this evening? I haven’t seen her much this summer and she is heading off to school soon.” I said yes once again. That yes is one of many “What If” moments. You see, Lindsay had been out with her friends on Friday and spent the night with a friend on Saturday. Sunday morning I had a conversation with my wife, telling her I was going to tell Lindsay she had to go to dinner with us that night, she had been off every night so far this weekend. When Lindsay asked the question “Can I go to dinner tonight?” it hit me, a conversation Lindsay and I had earlier that summer. I had told Lindsay “This is it, your last summer before starting your senior year, have fun, go out with your friends, really enjoy yourself, so, I said “Yes.” I look back now and think “What if I had said no.” That one three letter word torments me every day. With that, she headed out the door, jumped in her car, turned up Beyoncé, I am sure, while heading to pool. A few minutes past, long enough for her to make it to the pool, and I text her and asked “Is it crowded up there?” and her reply was “No, head on up.” I said to Kelli “Let’s take a ride up to the pool, Lindsay said it’s not crowded.” So we suited up, jumped in the golf cart and off we went. When we arrived at the pool it was packed, people were everywhere. First thing I did was scan the pool sides for Ms. Lindsay, and then I spotted her. She was at the end of the pool, right in the middle, laid back with her hair flowing in the breeze and wearing those white sunglasses. I made a bee line to her chair, stood at the end and said “I thought you said it wasn’t crowded up here.” She slowly sat up, tipped her sunglasses down, smiled and said “I lied.” You see my daughter knew me better than I thought. She knew if she had said it was crowed I would not have gone. I have never been happier that she lied that day. Had I not gone up to the pool I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. But who knows what the future holds, you never think of the worst, you never imagine your daughter being involved in a severe accident. It’s almost as if she knew, almost as if she wanted to spend time with me, so she lied about all the people. We had a wonderful time that afternoon. We talked about so many things, college, medical school and my least favorite subject, boys. I have never been happier or prouder when Lindsay sat straight up in her chair and said “I am not going to date until I am 35, I have too much to accomplish and I don’t need that nonsense in my life.” It was a very hot day and I was in the pool leaning on the side. I was making fake, made up gang signs with my fingers and Lindsay was sitting there shaking her head. Little did I know she was being very sneaky and taking pictures of me. I would not find this out until later, and I could not have found out at a better time. Being old, Kelli and I had enough of the pool and the heat, so we headed back to the house to get ready for dinner. Lindsay came in while I was in the shower and she headed up to get ready for her dinner with Drew. As Kelli and I were leaving I opened Lindsay’s door and yelled upstairs, “Lindsay Lou we are heading out. What time are you leaving?” She yelled down “Around six.” I replied “Okay, be careful and make wise choices (the phrase “make wise choices” was an ongoing “joke” in our house, I still say it to her friends when I see them.) Remember tomorrow is the first day of school so be home early. Love ya girl.” “Yes sir, love you too.” That was it, the last time I would ever hear Lindsay’s voice.
Kelli and I were leaving our neighborhood having the same conversation we have every time we go out to eat, “Where are we going?” We settled on a pizza place in Leland. We arrived and had just sat down when my phone rang, it was Kellie, Lindsay’s mom. All I heard was crying and I was able to make out three words, accident, blood and Compass Pointe. We jumped up and ran to the truck. I was trying to convince myself everything was okay and we were going to find Lindsay with a small cut and a fender bender. As we approached the accident the ambulance passed us on the other side of the highway. My heart fell to my stomach, and my mind was swirling. When we arrived at the accident Kelli jumped out of the truck before I could get it stopped. The officer just kept telling her “Ma’am, please get back in your vehicle and go to the hospital as fast as you can.” I looked around until I could find Lindsay’s car, I wish to God I would have never seen it. We jumped back in the truck and speed to the hospital as fast as we could. When we arrived, I jumped out of the truck and Kelli got behind the wheel to find a parking space. I went straight to the information desk and started asking about Lindsay, they had no answers. I have to be honest, the first few minutes in the emergency room were a blur. You are zooming in on every doctor, nurse, and volunteer looking for some kind of news. Kellie and Brett arrived shortly after we did and we all stood together waiting. Jarrett was at work and I had to call him to let him know. I begged him to take his time getting there and to please drive carefully. While we were waiting Patrolman Strangman handed me Lindsay’s phone, it was locked and I had no idea what the password was. Then I remembered I had a random number saved in my notes on my phone, I tried it and it opened her phone. The first thing I thought to do was text Drew and let her know what happened. I thought of her sitting there waiting on Lindsay and I could see where she had been texting Lindsay to find out why she was late. If any of you know Drew she is one of the sweetest spirits on earth. Her and Lindsay spend many nights solving all the world’s problems and a few of their own. As soon I as I heard back from Drew, Lindsay’s phone died.
When we finally saw a doctor it was a surgeon, a young surgeon, and he had the news we so afraid to hear. “If we do not operate on your daughter right now she has no chance of survival.” Kellie and I both said go, please do what you have to do to try and save her. We went to the surgical waiting area scared, nervous, and unsure of what was going to happen. Kellie and I meet Dr. Huffmon and he explained what was going to happen during the surgery and he was gone. This was a time of never-ending worry. We prayed together, alone and with strangers for Lindsay and the doctors. The longer we waited the more the anxiousness would eat away at us. The past and the future flashed before our eyes like a movie playing in slow motion. Finally, Dr. Huffmon came out of surgery to talk to us. He said she had survived the surgery and the next 48 hours would be very crucial with a low chance of survival. That was all we needed to cling to hope, because hope was all we had. We made our way back to the STICU waiting area and there were so many people there. Many of them were friends of Lindsay’s and they were so supportive and caring. You would find this group of friends, this group of teenagers in a circle holding hands lifting Lindsay up in prayer. It was the sweetest most humbling sight I have ever seen. As we began to talk to some of Lindsay’s friends we told them about the day and what we had been doing. How we had been hanging out at the pool and what a good time we had. A young lady, Sydney, spoke up and said “She posted a picture of you in the pool. She snapchatted it and for some reason I took a screenshot of it. Would you like to see it?” I said “Of course.” I could not believe what I saw. Remember, earlier, when I wrote Lindsay was sneaking pictures, well this was it. In a million years, I could never thank Sydney enough for saving that picture, you have no idea what it meant to me. It was not so much the picture but, what she wrote on the picture. “When will your dad ever be this cool” She thought I was cool, me, her dad, I was cool. That brought me up from the lowest moment in my life, my seventeen-year-old daughter thought I was cool. We began to hear from other friends with other pictures, snapchats and Instagram quotes. The things that Lindsay posted about us but never told us. I don’t remember if we found this quote or if someone showed it to us, either way it was amazing. “I never knew my mom could be my best friend.” For Kellie to read this, filled her heart, because she never knew that Lindsay felt this way. On this night, one of many long nights to come, these friends of Lindsay’s were a beacon of light. My personal thanks to each of you for being there. As the night went on I began to think about these friends of Lindsay’s, some have been friends since the first grade, and what they were dealing with. They were about to start their senior year without their friend, someone they loved, looked up to and truly cared about. I knew it was going to be difficult for them to start the year with such tragedy, but yet they were there for us. To hug us, to tell us they were sorry and to pray with us. These are truly amazing friends. We realized the hour was getting late and told them they needed to head home because tomorrow was the first day of school. We hugged as many as we could and they were gone. We went in to visit Lindsay one more time and to tell her goodnight before trying to lay down and get some sleep. Sleep, a very difficult thing to do when you have no idea what tomorrow will bring.
All of these memories will be my day, our day tomorrow. I don’t think we will be concerned about a solar eclipse, we will be remembering our tomorrow, the day that totally eclipsed our lives.