I've just left Laura's beside. Her nurse said "from what I hear of the accident she is very lucky to be alive". I then went to visit Jessica, Janet's 11 year old daughter whom I had just met for the first time not quite a month before. She, too, was on a ventilator in very critical condition with basically the same injuries as Laura only Jessica's broken bones were "open fractures". Jessica did not have the brain and neck injuries that Laura had but she was still iffy as far as surviving! She was seated on the drivers side in the third row seat. Laura was on the passengers side and Bayli was in between the two older girls. Bayli had just turned 7 a month before and was very small for her age. Thankfully she was "cushioned" by the two bigger girls and her injuries were not life threatening although a couple of days later the doctors discovered that she had a perforated colon and she had emergency surgery. The intestinal injuries along with the crushed clavicles are seat belt injuries and are quite common in a horrific crash such a this! Anyway.... I finished "visiting" with all three surviving children. I was on the verge of collapse from sheer exhaustion, confusion and trying to comprehend this nightmare that I was sure I would wake up from. Nothing in my life could be this horrific!
Suddenly it dawned on me that I would have to make a lot of decisions within the next few hours. We had to be at the funeral home in Jackson at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. I knew almost from the moment I heard the news that I would bury Joe where he would forever be close to his children. His father asked "are we going to bring him home"? The answer was no! He needs to be buried in Arkansas so he can be with his little girls. So I started asking all of the Arkansas people who were at the hospital what cemeteries would they recommend that would be close to the kids. I finally settled on one just outside of the town where he had lived when the kids were small and only a couple of miles from Laura's house. The cemetery is on a main road in and out of Batesville where Laura had to pass by every time she went anywhere. I was 5 hours away from there and had to ask Joe's ex father-in-law and the father of Laura's step dad to choose an appropriate plot at "Pleasant Valley". They both loved Joe and had been his friends. There was no way I could have travelled all that distance and back again to chose that place. I trusted these two men to do it as if they were choosing the spot for their own son. It is lovely and just what Joe would love. It is in the foothills of the Ozarks where Joe loved to hunt and fish and is on a gently sloping hill with a beautiful view. It is perfect!! As far as cemeteries go anyway!
In the meantime there is an attorney at the hospital shoving business cards in the faces of all the parents, etc. He claims to be a cousin of Janet's and is really looking for an opportunity to - to do what? I'm skeptical but traumatized and hang on to his card...
At some point we make our way to a hotel for the night. I make more phone calls. My friend and boss, Tom, in the meantime is trying to get from Chicago, where he's having a weekend retreat with his wife and son, to Nashville. His wife doesn't want him to fly because of 9/11 and she doesn't want him to try to drive because of the crash so he's on a train. We are in touch with him every couple of hours. He has been kind of a surrogate dad to Joe since Joe was 14 or 15 years old.
Okay, enough for tonight........ Gads I feels if I leave out one minute detail that the story will never be told in the proper context. Thank you for your patience.
When I told DeeDee that you are the only person other than my husband to hear all of the details I think she fell slighted. I suppose she's never asked for fear of upsetting me. She probably thought it best not to bring up unpleasantness. I love her with a passion and do not find fault with that at all. I understand. This is too difficult for most people.