Last Saturday, October 10, 2009 the American Fork Marching Band was traveling home from a competition in Pocatello, Idaho, where they had just won first place. They were traveling in a caravan of 4 buses. They assign buses according to your instrument, Lindsey and the other "woodwinds" were assigned to bus #2.
After traveling for approx 20 min or so, bus #2 bus driver passed out due to some kind of medical problem. Lindsey's teacher Heather Christensen, jumped from her seat, grabbed the wheel and tried to steer the bus. The bus rolled on to it's side and landed at the side of the road. Heather was thrown from the bus, and was killed instantly.
Lindsey and all her friends were tossed about inside the bus. According to Lindsey instruments, backpacks, ipods, cell phone, and other misc. objects were flying all around. All the windows in the bus shattered, sending shards of glass flying too. After the dust settled, the kids, who were now all on top of each other in a massive dog pile, started to try and find their way out of the bus. They had to climb out the top hatch on the roof. Lindsey had dirt in her mouth, nose and ears.
Lindsey was not seriously injured, in fact she had no major injuries, just bumps and bruises in totally random places, that as a mother, you just don't want to know what caused them. In fact I told Lindsey not to think about it, because those are questions you don't really want to have the answer to.
We received a phone call approximately 7:20pm from Lindsey's friend Emily who was on another bus. (The crash occurred at 7:15 or so). Lindsey was not able to call us until about 8:00 or so. This was the worst time for Bartley and I. Every parents worst nightmare.Not knowing if Lindsey was alive, or dead, or what injuries she had sustained. We immediately knelt down and prayed. There was nothing else we could do. The relief of hearing her voice, was so great, I don't think I will ever feel that way again. She reported that she was physically okay, but would be on her way to the local hospital to get checked out as a precaution. This time our prayer was one of gratitude, of thanks.
It was a VERY long night. We joined many, many, members of the "Band Fam" and members of the community who went to the high school to wait for the band to arrive. Most of the band came home at 12:30am or so. It was a moving sight to seeing hundreds maybe thousands of people standing on the grass waiting for these teenagers to return from this fateful night. The crowd applauded as these kids arrived in the parking lot. Somber, saddened, horrified faces, kids from our neighborhood piled off the bus in a chilling silence.
Lindsey's bus did not arrive until 3:30am or so. We waited what seemed like eternity, mostly alone at the high school with about, 25 other parents for our kids. Lindsey was one of the first kids off, and as we wrapped our arms around her, nothing , nothing, nothing can ever compare to the love, and relief that we felt. The smell of her dirty hair, the taste of her salty tears on her cheeks I kissed, I will never forget.
As time has passed we have realized the miracles that the Lord has provided. Heather was not scheduled to be on the bus, but chose to go with them, "I am not leaving my kids". The County Sheriff told Mr. Miller (the Band Director) that he has seen many crashes in that area over the years, and he was sure that there was help for these kids from the other side of the veil. Lindsey says that she felt arms around her as she climbed out of the bus. The kids had prayed together before the competition, and asked that they would travel safely. Most of the kids walked away with little or no physical injury.
The band went on to their next competition on Tuesday, despite the grief that overcame them. They marched in honor of Heather, adding a special tribute to her. They won first place, capturing all the awards possible. They were beautiful, amazing, and awe inspiring. Some limping, some sitting or standing, but they performed anyway. Heather's kids overcame the grief and pain, and taught myself and everyone watching that we can overcome, anything is possible.
Lindsey stood guard at Heather's casket, played prelude at the funeral, played as Heather's casket exited the building, and then played at the graveside. I have never been so proud of my daughter as I was at those moments. The love and respect she has for Heather showed in her true professionalism as she performed with tears streaming down her cheeks.
I am speechless at the miracles we have witnessed this week. It is humbling to know that we are worthy of such blessings. I am so thankful for the Plan of Happiness. I am thankful for my temple covenants, my sealing to Bartley that makes us a forever family.
Thank you to all of our family and friends who have done so much to support us this week. It is comforting to know that you are there when we need you.
For anyone who wants to you can view the news stories at www.ksl.com. Search for American Fork Marching Band.
You can also view video of the competitions at www.youtube.com. Once again search for American Fork Marching Band.
1 year ago