May 4th 2007 was a Friday, and the day after Kyle Coble’s birthday. He had just turned 5 and asked his mom if they could celebrate by going to the local shopping center to ride the Farris Wheel.
His mom, Laurie Coble, agreed and loaded up Kyle and his 2 little sisters in the mini van. They made an afternoon out of it. They rode the Farris Wheel, the Merry-Go-Round, got ice cream and stopped by the pet store to see the animals. When Katie, the 2 year old, started to get crabby Laurie decided it was time to go home for a nap.
She loaded the kids back into the van, secured them in their car seats, started a new DVD for them to watch and got back on I5 to head home. Like any mom, she did her best to drive and keep the kids happy. Traffic was causing the trip to take a little longer, so she reached back to tickled Katie’s toes to try to keep her awake.
Just before her exit the traffic slowed so much that she had to come to a complete stop, only the semi truck behind her did not stop. It slammed into the back of her mini van at 55 miles per hour and crunching the back half of the van.
Every person in the vehicle recieved seriously injured. The family was split up and taken to different hospitals.
Chris Coble was at work when he received the dreadful news of the accident. He headed to the hospital that his wife was at, not knowing what to expect.
The first word he received was that his youngest daughter Katie did not survive the crash. Within a few minutes, the other hospital called with the news that they could not save his 3 year old daughter Emma and that his son Kyle was currently having brain surgery.
Chris was able to see his wife, and she asked him to go be there for their son when he woke up.
5 year old Kyle’s eyes were slightly opened but he was on life support. The doctors said that they were unable to get oxygen to his brain, but would artificially keep him alive until his mom could see him. Later that night his mom came and did the best she could to get out of the wheelchair enough to hug him. She stroked his hand and told him he was a good boy and that they were sorry that this happened to him. They said good bye to their only remaining child and then sent him to be with his sisters.
That day, a parent’s nightmare became Chris and Laurie’s reality. That morning they woke up with 3 happy, healthy, energetic children. That night, none of those kids where there to be tucked in. None of them where there to be snuggle with.
Lets face it, fate is out of our hands. No matter the precautions we take, no matter how good of parents we are, we can’t protect our kids from everything. We can’t control how long our children will be alive. But we are in control of what kind of life they get to have when they are alive.
I don’t want to be a downer. But I do want people, myself included, to realize what we have before us. Nothing brings greater joy in life than the relationships we share with those we love. But sometimes we forget that until it’s too late.
I have never lost a child. I can’t imagine the pain. I am sure I would be emotionally ruined for the rest of my life. A child’s life being cut short is tragic. But you know what else is tragic? The thought of a child leaving this world without feeling loved. A child leaving without really being able to enjoy their childhood. That would be the worst. And unfortunately, that happens. But lets not let that happen to our kids. They deserve the best. They deserve the best life we can provide for them. Lets start today and make sure they get to enjoy all the good this world has to offer.
If you are reading this, then think of a family adventure right now. Google it if you need ideas. Find something that your family would enjoy and then go make a memory.
With all the demands of parenting, it is so easy to procrastinate or wait until it is a better time to do something special for your family. But there is never really a good time. So just do it. Do it before the kids are grown. The older they get the less exciting things are for them. So don’t wait.
And what if your kids never get to grow up? What if their whole life will consist of only their childhood? Then what kind of childhood do you want them to have?
What if you knew your youngest has one year left to live? How would you live differently?
What if I told you there was a 10% chance that they will only live for 1 year? Would you still live that way.
What do you want your kids to experience? What are you waiting for? Do it now! Stop waisting time with things that don’t matter. Your kids, your family is what matters. Stop letting work distract you from what is really important. Stop letting things distract you from giving your family your all. I promise you won’t regret it.
The Coble’s won’t get to hear Kyle say “I love you.” They won’t get the see Emma smile again. They won’t get to feel Katie’s soft kisses. They won’t get to hear their kid’s laughter fill their home.
But you will. You get those moments. Live them. Cherish them.