This is something I had written a few months ago. But I just now got it ready to past here on my blog. It recaps that awful day in April when our world was turned upside down. This will also be in the book I hope to write this summer.
April 19th, 2017
The day that I will always remember. The day that changed our lives forever.
It started out normal enough though, just like any other day. Beautiful spring day, pleasant enough temp, not really a warm day, but great for a spring day though.
Paul went to help someone build something that he had been doing for a few days. Most of the children and I were busy doing school work all morning. Sam went off to the Rosary school where he had him enrolled this year instead of homeschooling. By lunchtime, Clayton was all done with his school, though I still had to work with the girls. I took a little nap, then got up and put the girls back to their school. Then when there was a bit of a break I worked on my book on my laptop. I was nearing the completion of my little gift book for moms. So I would work on it any chance I had and was looking forward to the next day when Pual and I would be going to Peace River for our dentist appointments so that I could take the laptop and finish working on it, and then that evening I had planned for Nathan to upload it to Blurb so that it would be ready to sell. I would buy my proof copy. And then advertise it for Mother's Day. I thought I just had time to get it ready for Mother's Day if I could keep working diligently.
While I was on the laptop working on my book, Clayton came in from being outside and announced he was going out to look for wild ducks over by the dugout in our little section of trees. Glancing up from my work I replied, "Oh good, go ahead." I liked it that he had found something to occupy his time till Sam got off the bus at 4:30. That had been one thing that wasn't so nice for him since Sam had been enrolled in school. After Clayton got done with his school there was quite a block of time where he had no one to do something with, and he always waited for Sam to arrive. I tried finding him some hobby or past time to help fill his time. He mostly would read books in his room, or just go out and walk around looking for something to do, sometimes he would fiddle in the shop on his lathe where he enjoyed making things. Early springtime is a bit tough that way because the snow and ice are gone making the normal winter activities no longer possible, yet not nice enough for a lot of other outdoor activity and to early for getting in the garden. Clayton did enjoy gardening and always had his own garden plot. And he had already started different plants in the basement like brussels sprouts, peppers, and pumpkins. He also recently had been cleaning out an old building that he had plans of camping out in this summer.
So when Clayton announced he was heading out to look for ducks early afternoon. I was happy for him and wished him off. If he told me he was taking the 4 quad I missed that detail. I assumed he was walking, and that I can remember I do not recall hearing it start up and head out. This evening right after Sam arrived off the bus we planned for their friend Tanner to come for a while with his Mom ( my good friend Chari who lives just a couple miles down the road). Clayton would look forward to having Tanner over latter.
Between working on my book, and helping the girls with school the afternoon sped by. I tidied up the house a bit, got some cookies out of the freezer, and put some water on to get hot for tea to have when Chari arrived. I had supper planned with deer ribs boiled and just ready to put in the oven later with barbeque sauce and had potatoes cut up and in a pot ready to boil.
At 4:30 Sam got home, and then shortly after Chari drives in with Tanner and Kara. Sam comes in the house to ask me where Clayton is, so I tell Sam that he went off in the woods, probably would be over by their fort by now. So they go over that way to look for him. They did not find him, so then they just went off to play by themselves. They spent some time over in the cow fence checking out our new calf.
Chari and I had tea together, and then we decided we would go for a walk since it was a nice pleasant day, one of our better days yet. We talked and walked down the road aways, then came on back. All this time we assumed that they had found Clayton, or that Clayton had come back on his own and had joined them out in the cow fence. We came back in the house for awhile, then Chari decided that she better head back and get their supper. Soon as she left I dug into finishing ours. I turned on the potatoes to boil. Paul came back. And Sam came in from where he had been. Sam wondered if Clayton was back. I told him I had assumed he was out playing with them, but he said, "No, we didn't see him the whole time, he wasn't at the tree house either. At that, we all began to wonder why he was not back yet because now it had been a few hours since he had left out, but still, we were not worried. Just wondering.
Paul told Sam to toot the van horn to call him. Sam did that and then he also wanted to run out there and look for him again, this time going over further to the dugout. So off he goes. Only a few minutes later he comes bursting in the door nearly out of breath yelling, "Clayton is stuck under the 4 wheeler, and he's not moving, I think he is dead." ( he said later he had been hollering most of his way back to the house, but we didn't hear him.) Paul was sitting on the couch using his laptop and talking on the phone at the time, and I was in the kitchen. I start yelling, " Hurry you guys, go see what is wrong." Paul hangs up the phone, nearly throws his laptop on the floor, grabs his coat and runs out the door in his croaks following Sam and Nathan. I holler at them, "What do you want me to do?" But no one responded, they had only one thing on their mind; rush as fast as they could to Clayton because something was bad wrong.
The little children and I obediently start praying in earnest. Then I grab the phone and run out over near the cow fence looking in the direction I saw them go, not knowing what was going on. From the cow fence, I hollered if I should call 911. Then I walked back towards the house and phoned my mom, and told her all I knew so far about Clayton, and she said she would start praying and phone other families as well. I believe I quickly called Chari as well. About then I hear Sam hollering for to me to call 911. So I quickly dial 911. And start to explain out was going on and how much I knew of what happened. When Sam had come rushing into the house earlier I had thought that I heard him say that Clayton was pinned under a tree, so that is what I passed on the 911 attendant. So when they arrived they came with a chainsaw. She kept me on the line for awhile asking our land location, which I had to run out to the end of our driveway to tell her, and as much info as I knew so far. During the time I was on with her, Paul, Nathan, and Sam came back. That is when I found out that Clayton was indeed dead. The 911 attendant was just asking if I knew Clayton lastest condition and so Paul took over and told her while he was breaking down crying. That is when I started crying too for the first time. Then Paul rushed back to be with Clayton, while Sam and Nathan stayed behind to guide the emergency men out when they came. The 911 lady said I could hang up then. Emedeintly then I phoned Chari and told her, so she said her husband Chirs would come over and go out to the woods to be with Paul while we waited for the emergency crew. She asked me if I needed her to come be with me, but I said I was fine.Then I phoned my mom back and told her we had lost Clayton, and of course, we start crying together.
Chirs came soon after I talked to Chari, and ran with Sam out to Pual. He joined Paul is his effort to do CPR on Clayton even though he was gone already. Paul had been doing CPR went they first went out there. They, of course, were praying that God give him life again if it was His will.
While waiting for the Emergency to arrive, I was just talking with and consoling the children, plus finishing our supper so that they could eat. They did not feel like eating. But I ate some even though I did not either, just because I knew I needed too. I knew I needed to take care of my self and I thought we may be heading out soon. I did not know what all would be taking place. Calls starting coming in from some of my family, and from Chari again making sure I was ok, and telling me she had her church praying, and asked again if I needed her to come. Again I told her no. ( I did not know how hard it was for her not to be here with me.)
The ER crew arrived, maybe within 30 to 40 minutes after I phoned, and Nathan led them out there.
Then after they had been here awhile, an officer came to talk to me. To explain what was going on. And did announce to me that Clayton was now pronounced dead. That didn't really hit me worse because we did already know that. She explained what to expect, what would happen next, ect.. Plus she said victim services would arrive soon, and they would come in and talk to me and explain more. They arrived soon and she met them outside to discuss some things out there with them, and then they all came in the house, the officer and the 2 ladies form victim services. The one lady I knew pretty good and was happy to see her. I had no clue it would be someone I knew. The other one was an older lady I never met before, but she was really sweet and understanding, and quickly took 3-month-old Rebecca out of my arms to hold for me. Rebecca did well with her. Then they proceeded to discuss things with me, and what would happen next, and what we would need to take care of in the next few days like funeral arrangements and such, as well as what would take place with his body. It would be taken out to Edmonton first for autopsy and then to Peace River to the funeral home. They would contact was when he was brought to the funeral home, so we could go there and set up the funeral plans. She told me she would be in contact with different ladies for meal arrangements for the next few days. What a blessing to hear that.
After they had been here awhile discussing things then Chari arrived. She walked into our livingroom quoting a Bible verse ( The Lord is my strength and refuge ) and announced to me that she did not listen to me but came on over anyway. And I was glad she did! I had just been thinking that I should have told her to come on over. We hugged and shed some tears together. It was nice to have her with me. I did not have any of my family there at the time. She stayed late till everyone else had left, and put the girls to bed for me including saying prayers with them. What a blessing. And she said she would be back int he morning about 10:00 or so.
The next morning she did come back, as well as 2 other of my friends came too. They came to be with me and to play with and entertain the children. What a blessing that us. Also, a friend of Paul's pulled in our driveway at 7 A.M. He knew that was chore time and that Paul and the boys would soon be out to milk the cow and goat, as well as chicken chores. So he was there to lend a hand, and just be there for support. How nice is that! We were absolutely covered with people who loved and cared and supported us in this very difficult time. In the days that followed we were brought meals ready to serve, plus several freezer meals, loads of dinner buns, and all kinds of baked goodies. We were brought all kinds of snack items, fruit ( especially bananas ), boxes of soup and mac and cheese, coffee, and many basic grocery items. We were tremendously thought of and blessed by many, many people!!!
I am a wife to my wonderful husband, Paul, of over 22 years. Mommy to 9 blessings, ages 21 to 3 years. Our 2nd oldest son, at age 14, has gone on to be with the Lord on April 19th, 2017. I share about that new road we are on here on my blog.
My first 7 years of blogging.
Great inspirational reading!
"I believe a greater intimacy with God leads us to an inner peace, unquenchable joy, & an ever-lasting hope regardless of what we go through in life." Mae