Thursday, December 18, 2008

26 Years Ago

This December marks 26 years ago that my brother Brian was killed in a snowmobile accident. It is so hard to believe that it happened 26 years ago. Brian was 12 when he was killed and I was 11. It just blows my mind that I have a child that is as old as Brian was when he died.

Christmas is such an exciting time of year, but always holds a little sadness for me too. I remember that day just like it was yesterday...

My Dad bought a snowmobile for Christmas that year. We were absolutely shocked and excited!! We lived out in the country with farm land all around us. We could drive the snowmobile off our property and onto the farmland that was owned by our neighbor.

December 28th -- That day as we ate lunch, we reminisced about fun things we used to do or places we had been. It was fun to sit around and talk and laugh. It seems like we laughed so much during lunch that day.

After lunch my sister Monica and I went and got on the snowmobile. (Brian was right between Monica and I in age order.) I remember that Brian wanted a turn after we had been on it for a little while. He came out to the field and asked if we would get off and let him have a turn. Every time he would get close to us we would drive up a little. Then we would say, "Okay, come here and you can have it". As soon as he would get close we would drive up a little more. I think that we eventually frustrated him to tears. That is one thing that I regret about that day.

Later that day, around 5:00 p.m., my mom poked her head out the door and told Brian that it was getting dark and that he should put the snowmobile away for the day. He told her that he wanted to take just one more ride. My cousin Daniel was on the back with him. They drove out into the field. A little later Daniel walked in the front door and said that they had been in a wreck. He said that they had just knocked the windshield off the machine.

Monica said she would go down and help Brian get the windshield back on. She left the house toward Brian and the machine. Brian was less than a 1/2 mile away. As she got close to Brian she could see that he was face down in the snow. She knew that he was seriously hurt and started running back up to the house. As she was running she was pulling off her coat and boots because they were slowing her down. She came in the house and told my mom. My mom and sister Lisa quickly got dressed and I followed right along. I wanted to go so badly that I remember putting on boots that were way too small, because they were the closest thing I could find. We hopped in the car and drove down the road and into a neighbors driveway. From there we had to run into the field. Every step we would take in the snow would cause us to sink up to our knee.

When we finally reached Brian, my Mom and Lisa immediately started CPR on him. As they did CPR, blood was coming out of Brian's mouth. My Mom had a yellow work glove that she would wipe his mouth off with. Every time they would push on his chest it would make gurgling sounds. I will never forget that sound. I remember my Mom saying over and over, "Come on Brian".

My mom quickly sent me to call the ambulance. I ran to the Reed's house (praying out loud all the way) and told them what had happened. I remember that Bro. Reed ran to get his coat and flashlight. He had to go downstairs and he only touched about 2 stairs on the way down. His wife called the ambulance and her mother-in-law to come help.

It seems like it took forever for the ambulance to get there. I remember my sister Lynette showing up to see what had happened. I will never forget the way her faced looked with the ambulance lights reflecting on it. By now my Dad was there. I tried to get in the ambulance with my Mom, Dad, and Brian and they wouldn't let me.

We went home and prayed and waited. When we received the dreaded call from the hospital that Brian had died, I was so angry. I tipped over an orange chair sitting near the phone. Both my sister Pauline and I were pushing things over.

I will never forget the sad looks on my parents faces when they came home from the hospital.

In the accident, Brian and Daniel hit a sprinkler pipe on wheels. Brian was on the front and hit the pipe with his neck. The force broke his trachea (wind pipe).

Here is a picture of the type of sprinkler pipe.

Here is a picture of the location where it all took place.

Daniel said that after they were in the accident he saw Brian standing there and he asked him if he was okay. Brian told him that we was fine. The doctors told my parents that Brian was killed instantly when he hit the pipe. We know that Daniel witnessed something special that night.

I am grateful to know that I will be able to see and be with my brother Brian again.

Last year my sister received a phone call from a girl that she went to High School with. Long story short, the girl had purchased a used Book of Mormon from the D.I. for her daughter. When she opened the front cover there was a testimony written in it. It just so happened to be a testimony written by my brother Brian around the time he was killed. She gave the Book of Mormon to my sister, who gave it to my parents. In the special testimony that he had written it says that he loves his family along with some other wonderful things. We all cried when we saw it and read it. What a special gift.


Erin said...

I think about Brian and your family every year at this time. What a wonderful thing to find his testimony after all these years.

Tai said...

Wow Heidi, what do you say? What a terrible thing to have a brother and son taken away from you at such a young age. That story still amazes me that your cousin said he told him he was alright. I can't believe that you somehow got a copy of that BOM. What a special thing. You are such an amazing person and I am sure that the rest of your family is the same!!

Janice said...

Heidi, Drying my eyes now. I remember last year you told me the BOM story, how amazing. It sounds like you had a special relationship with your brother, especially being so close in age. It's funny how such a tramatic experience makes us remember such details. I hope you have peace as you remember your brother. Take care.

Peterson Pack of Wild Dogs said...

What a treasure you have this to record such a powerful experience in your life. It is amazing that you remember such little details. I can tell it is so fresh in your mind. I have never lost a loved one that close and cannot imagine the grief. It is such a miracle that we are here and know our Heavenly Father's plan. You have such a fabulous attitude Heidi. Thank you for sharing such an amazing brother with the rest of us.

Jill said...

I was totally blog stalking you today through Emily-and found this. It is unreal to hear the story with that much detail. I've always known and heard it-but to have your witness.....
How thankful we are for the gospel! Thanks for sharing your story-and the Book of Mormon part is really amazing.

Robyn said...

Good Gravy - NOW....full blown tears streaming down my face.
I've always thought you had an amazing family!