I found out yesterday afternoon that three of my theatre majors and two of their friends were in a car accident a mile from my house on Monday evening. They were travelling to the next town to grab dinner when a drunk driver swerved, struck their car and slammed them into the car behind them. They hit a pole and knocked down a power line. My sophomore broke his pelvis, injured his collar bone and suffered some facial lacerations. The twin freshman guys are ok, one with minor scrapes, the other with a facial cut and concussion. One of the girls is in stable condition, but she's in a halo because there is a suspected spinal injury. She also has a liver injury. The other girl, an eighteen year old freshman, did not survive the accident. I met her at 1:30 Monday afternoon for the first time. She and one of the twin guys were in Target when I was there and we stopped and talked for a while, mostly about their Thanksgiving plans. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that 6 hours later, she died.
I got this news via email. Student Affairs sent me a very brief email telling me one of my students had been in an accident and that his family would be contacting me regarding his attendance for the rest of the semester. A longer, more detailed email from the public releations office explained the entire situation. When I read it, I fell apart.
My students are an extension of my family and I never ever want that to change. I want them to feel welcome in my office, my classroom and my home and be comfortable enough to talk to me. When something is wrong, I want to talk to them about it, maybe even counsel them when I can help. These guys have a long road to recovery ahead of them. Their physical ailments will heal relatively quickly; their emotional ailments will take much longer.
I was able to go to the hospital this afternoon to see one of them. He was about to work with his physical therapists to learn how to walk on crutches. I didn't stay long; I just needed to see him with my own eyes to believe he was ok. And I needed to hug his mom. Ever since I became a mom, I immediately think of how things like this affect the parents.
Please send up a prayer for my kids. They're going to need a lot of love and support to get them through this.