Lynda is a mother, a real estate agent, a co-founder of the nonprofit, Help the Fight. She juggles work, paying for her daughters' educations and devotes 20-30 hours each week to a nonprofit to help others diagnosed with breast cancer pay their bills. Lynda lost her mother to the disease many years ago. Most of her life she has been a caregiver and recently was forced to switch roles.
She shared a story with me about the importance of slowing down, being still, and that miracles do happen.
Last February, Lynda visited her sister who lives on the Jersey shore. It rained, snowed and sleeted that Saturday, and perhaps it didn't bother her much because she had planned to spend the night at her sister's, anyway. That Sunday morning, on February 22, Lynda decided to make her way to her Lancaster Pennsylvania home. It was raining, but at 37 degrees she thought, Too warm to snow. The road should also be clearing. So at 9:00 AM she left her sister's house to get a jump on her three-hour journey home.
Shortly into the drive, Lynda, who had a new vehicle, tested its responsiveness to the slick roads. She hit the brakes and the car responded perfectly. With more confidence, she proceeded and soon began following a Chevy Blazer.
For a moment, she remembered that she never put a red ribbon in the glove box of her new vehicle. This was a tradition her mother started when she was young. She had been so busy lately, the little things were slipping.
For six miles, she followed the SUV going 55 MPH. She was looking at the Eastern University decal on the Blazer's back window when all of a sudden the back end of her vehicle slid across the oncoming traffic lane.
Instinctively, she hit the brake but the car didn't slow down. When her back wheel hit the grass on the side of the road, her Mercedes SUV whipped around and collided with two trees, ricocheting the vehicle back into the middle of the road.
Lynda paused as she told me her story, then she shared with me the moments just before the collision.
"When I saw the trees coming," Linda said, "I knew I was going to hit, and I knew it was going to be hard." For some odd reason, Lynda became still, she wasn't nervous and remained calm. "I removed my hands from the steering wheel and laid them on my lap. Then I turned my face to the right, closed my eyes and put my head back."
She remained calm throughout the impact with both trees, even when the glass shattered and airbags deployed. The vehicle had shut off, but it automatically opened the passenger-side window to allow the smoke to escape from the airbags.
"I realized that the car was in the middle of the road but didn't know which direction I was facing. I thought to myself then, I am going to die. It was the oddest feeling. I was now nervous, and yet calm. How can that be?" Lynda asked.
The passenger-side door opened and a young man urged, "Your vehicle is smoking! I need to get you out!" He reached in and pulled her from the SUV, and out the passenger side.
"Once I got out I couldn't stand. My right leg was fractured, my neck was in pain as my clavicle had fractured and I sat on the pavement. It was raining so everything was cold and wet and my pain began. Terrible pain."
When first responders arrived at the scene and saw the vehicle, they called for a trauma unit before seeing Lynda. Her sister arrived at the accident scene and with one look at the car, she knew it was a miracle that Lynda wasn't killed in the crash.
Lynda kept telling her sister, "I don't know why I was so calm. I wasn't scared, I just let go of the wheel and knew it was going to fine."
It would be hours before Lynda would be able to see the other side of the car, where it had collided with trees, not because she didn't want to, but because she couldn't move. A couple seizures followed before she was stable and went to the emergency room by ambulance. Then the tears came when her husband and one of her daughters walked into the emergency room.
With scratches, a fractured leg and collar bone, Lynda was released from the emergency room that afternoon. She demanded that her brother bring her to her car before she returned to her sister's house.
"When I saw it, it didn't upset me or scare me," Lynda said, "I snapped a couple photos and left."
Word had started to get out that Linda had been in an accident, phones began ringing and there were messages to respond to. "It became overwhelming for my sister to respond to all the messages. That night I posted a message on Facebook, I uploaded photos of the car and said I had been in an accident, I was fine, I needed surgery, but life is good!"
"An odd thing happened, I immediately received a private message from a friend who wrote, 'I love you. I hope you're okay. Your mom told me to tell you that she was with you just before you hit the trees.'" When Lynda read her friend's message she cried. "I didn't post that I had hit trees anywhere, in fact, only my family knew those details. Deep down I knew this explained why I was so calm through the incident ... that my departed mother was with me and she protected me."
Lynda's mom, Joyce, died when Lynda was 27. Joyce suffered from breast cancer and transitioned at 49 years of age.
Her Mom Brought Others to Help
Months had passed before Lynda had a chance to talk with her friend, Barb, who had sent the private message. Lynda faced recovery in New Jersey while Barb left for a vacation in Florida. About six weeks after Lynda returned to her Lancaster County home, her friend came to visit. Lynda shared what happened.
Barb came in, looked at me and said, "Don't say anything."
She walked up from behind me, and said, "Your mother told me that she did this to you just before you hit. She wrapped her arms around you like this." Barb gently clasped her arms around me in a way that my arms fell to my sides. Then my friend gently turned my head to the right.
"That is what your mother told me she had done before you hit the trees. You were surrounded by brilliant white light," Barb continued, "And ... It wasn't just your mother there either, she brought help."
"Nobody outside my immediate family knew those details," Lynda said. "There is no doubt in my mind, that my mother was with me and kept me calm, protected me so that I survived."
At first, Lynda didn't understand why she hadn't perished in the wreck. Today she knows it is simply because her work here is not finished and she has more to do. She also learned that she needed to slow down and be still. She needed to get to be taken care of for a change. She appreciates the little things in life and doesn't take them for granted. All her injuries will heal, she's getting better with each passing day and she has a deeper appreciation for life and a renewed commitment to living purposefully.
When Lynda drove her new vehicle home for the first time in late April, she ceremoniously placed a red ribbon in her glovebox, continuing her mother's tradition.
If you have a miracle story that you would like to share with the world, contact me at alex[at]alexmarcoux.com.