Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Last night was a picture I never want to see again

It was 9:30pm, and we got the phone call that no parent ever wants to get. It was a call to our home phone from someone we did not know, telling us that our son had flipped his car on a curving road in the hills of our town. As we all panicked, I found a small amount of hope, knowing that he was conscious enough to tell our phone number to the stranger at the scene.

We quickly got into our car and drove to the location of the accident. As we turned a corner, we saw a scene which I hope to never see again. Unfortunately, it is a picture which is forever engrained in my head. I saw endless emergency vehicles and flashing lights. And I knew that all of these people were there to help my son.

I remember jumping out of our car and running through all the firemen and police and saying "that is my son" and not much else. Of course, the emergency personnel would not let me near the overturned car, as they were trying to free my son from the vehicle, but I saw it. The convertible car surrounded by countless firemen and EMT personnel. A sight that I never want to see again.


My son was transported to the nearest hospital which has the best trauma center, and he is going to be OK. He got so incredibly lucky, ending up with 35 staples in his head, a concussion, but not much worse. All I could think about, as we watched him in the ambulance and trauma room, was how different this could have turned out. And that picture, one that did not ever occur, is stuck in my head as well. That picture now haunts me.

At the hospital, my son, who will turn 18 this Friday, said "this isn't going to be a very good 18th birthday" and all I could do was be thankful that he is going to have one!

At 3:30am, he came back to our house, head bandaged and surely about to have the longest headache of his life. As these images flash through my mind, the mind of my wife and daughter, our heads all hurt as well.

I tried to sleep, but that damned picture keeps popping into my head. As I laid in bed, tossing and turning, I realized that sleep was not going to come easy, and for the first time in many years, I now have a picture that I wish I could FORGET.

69 comments:

Gary Alves said...

Thank God, you're son is truely blessed... and I'm not a religious guy... but I am a father.

~ Laura said...

The picture and your words brought tears to my eyes. I'm so thankful your son is okay!! The relief I felt reading those words in no way matched yours, I know!!

Our daughter is 18 and got her first car last Saturday. She'd been driving my nice, big SUV for quite a while, but now in this smaller car I'm a bit nervous all over again.

Our children are so, so precious and this stage of life is by far the hardest. My best wishes and prayers for your family.

debbirobertson said...

WOW! Thank God that he is not only alive, but came home a few hours later. I'd call that a miracle based on that image! The Lord has plans for him, for sure!

Praying for you all to have peace and comfort.

Bonnie Ryan said...

So sorry you all had to go through that but so happy your son is ok,I hope he has an amazing birthday.
Bonnie Ryan

Silverlight Destin said...

Jeff,
As a parent I can only imagine the terror, but I am so relieved for his condition being well. I hope you and your family can make a speedy recovery.

Silverlight Destin said...

Jeff,

As a parent I can only imagine the terror, I hope your son will recover well, and best wishes for you and your family.

Gordon Rigg said...

You have your son, thank god for that, the car can be fixed, my thoughts are with you at this time Jeff

Ed Heaton said...

As a parent I know how you feel. We went through a very similar scenario. I'm so glad to hear he will be okay!!!

Ed Heaton said...

As a parent I know how you feel. We went through a very similar scenario. I'm so glad to hear he will be okay!!!

Gordon Rigg said...

Well at least your son is safe, thats a bonus, my thoughts are with you at this time Jeff

michael said...

I am happy to hear he is ok, maybe this will literally pound in his head the importance of watching the road every second. My son did some thing similar in convertible as well, did not flip but hit a SUV broadside. I don't know how but they came out ok. Hope all is well with him in future experiences.

Gordon Rigg said...

At least your son is safe and well, my thoughts are with you and your family at this time Jeff

Rosalene Phillips said...

I always get so emotional when I see Firemen, Police and Ambulance on the scene. So as I am reading your story I'm crying. It makes me think of my nephew and how I worry about him. I thank God everyday that I have my nephew and niece in my live.

I am so glad your son in alive and going to be ok.

Colleen Logan said...

Every parents worst nightmare. I am glad you were able to wake up from yours with your son still in your life.

Muhammad Khuzir said...

wish him happy birthday & pls get well soon.

Colleen Logan said...

Every parent's worst nightmare. I am glad you were able to wake up from yours with your son still in your life.

Anonymous said...

Good grief! i would've thought that 24 hrs observation in the hospital would have been the go. especially for pain relief at the very least. ( ICU nurse).

Laurie Biros said...

Sending your family lots of positive thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. So relieved to hear your son will be alright!

Foybles said...

Wow! I have been there and it is rough. The stars were in your favor that night. I am glad he's okay.

Val Swisher said...

Oh My God, Jeff! How horrible. I am so relieved to hear that your son is going to be okay. It is a parent's worst nightmare.

I'll be keeping your son and family in my thoughts and prayers. I do wish him a very very very happy birthday.

Matt Campbell said...

I rolled my car when I was 18 as well. It was for me a life changing event. I wasn't injured physically, I am forever thankful of that. But the event did change me for the better. As I think back the one thing I can remember is hearing the sound of my dad's truck coming down the road towards me- once he got the news of the accident. I was so worried he'd be pissed I wrecked my car, but the only thing he cared about was me. That said more to me - at that moment then anything that was ever said before. That was 29 years ago.

So glad your family is okay. So many families don't get the second chance.

SteveFM said...

Thankfully he's okay.....just keep a close eye on him. Concussions need to be watched closely.
I can't imagine having to go through what you have been through .....
Best wishes from the Pacific Northwest.

T. Michael Testi said...

I am glad your son is alright. I have a 21 year-old son that I used to worry about and this April I have a 15 year-old daughter that will start drivers training and will start worrying all over again!

cary lyons said...

Your son says this isn't going to be a great birthday - but you know what? He's wrong. This is going to be the best birthday because he is here. He is with his family. I'm so sorry you and your family had to experience that, but so thankful that he is going to be OK. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. He is one lucky boy and yes - God has some pretty spectacular plans for him.

Caryn Wiseman said...

Jeff, I'm so glad that he's okay. No parent should have to have this picture in his or her mind.

Oren Arieli said...

What a nightmare. I'm glad that the wounds will heal and life will resume with everyone a little more thankful for the blessings they have.

Dennis Bress said...

Jeff, glad you Son is Ok. Your posting the picture does what all pictures do.... it allows us to see something. What we see is the worst. But your words, tell another story, one of luck and good fortune and a good ending to what could have been not a good ending. Again, so glad it turned out the way it did. Hold him tight and move on. Life is precious, make everyday count. Thank you for posting, your sharing of your experience will make all readers hold and hug their own loved ones extra tight tonight.

Linda said...

prayers your way &hugs across the miles.


GlenW said...

Jeff,
1st... thank god your son is ok.
The same thing happened to my son and our family about 2 years ago. Totaled his vehicle on I-4 here in central Florida. The race to the accident scene, the fire, police and ambulance personnel a vehicles all over the place. He was ok, just banged up.
I'm going to tell you something that will hopefully ease the "flashbacks" you are experiencing. YOUR SON IS NOW THE SAFEST TEEN DRIVER YOU KNOW!!! I had always hoped that every lecture I and my wife gave my son was somehow "sinking in". I'd get angry at the lazy "steering style" and refusal to properly adjust mirrors, hold the steering wheel as instructed, etc, etc, etc. As every parent of a teen knows... THEY KNOW EVERYTHING.
Since my sons accident he is now 100% safe, attentive, alert, and has admitted that he should have been less "cocky" when his mother and I were teaching him to drive.
Trust me Jeff, your kid will not forget this incident, and he is safer than any other kid you know on the highway. A silver lining to be sure.
(Now wait for the insurance "jump"... hoo-boy!! grin

Ron H said...

Actually that picture is reassuring to me. I have a convertible, and I've always wondered if the frame for the windshield would support the weight of the car. You photo shows that it clearly does. Best wishes to you and your family, and especially to your son with hopes of a fast recovery!

patti ashton said...

Jeff, glad he is okay!!! God watches over our kids when we as parents aren't there to do it. Even tho my kids are grown I still worry about them, I say a prayer for them and their families to keep them safe. My youngest is a truck driver and he does long hauls across the states. You have a picture to teach your child and others now something I think your son won't forget either

Anonymous said...

He is so lucky to be walking away from this. Many years ago my cousin had a similar accident in a similar car. He has lived his life these last thirty years confined to a wheel chair, paralyzed from the waist down. I hope your son knows how lucky he is, and drives just a touch more carefully in the future. For his own sake.

Eric Buhl said...

He survived! After that, he's home the next morning. That is skill.

-I wanted the son to have something to read in the comments that wasn't so tragic sounding. If there is a plus side he just gained a lot of wisdom.

Kelly Reed said...

God was truly watching over him. I'm glad to hear your family is complete and healthy.

Anonymous said...

Your lucky your son is still alive, it could easily have ended up with death....so many teens are killed on the roads and theres alot of parents in mourning. He is very lucky and I hope he recovers quickly and he will sure be extra careful on the roads. It is a horrible sight to see and I hope its never me seeing one of mine...love, hug your son is rejoice he is still with yous.

Michael Pruner said...

Jeff,
Reading your words and looking at the photo brought back the memory of my exact experience. My daughter was the same age, the scene was exactly the same (her car was blue) and the outcome the same. We are both very lucky fathers that have not had to experience the ultimate horror, just a close call that will always be in the back of our minds as our children move on.
I am sorry you have had the experience, and grateful for the outcome.
Mike Pruner

Subhendu said...

Thank lord ...
Courageous of you to share this event on your blog ..
I'm sure your son will be conscious of this thoughout ..

Bill said...

Jeff,

I'd say your son is one lucky guy. I was involved in an auto accident this past September and someone had to call my wife to let her know I was in ER, so I know the feeling. I will be thinking about your son this Friday as I will also be celebrating my birthday.

Michael Ball said...

Wow. That's all I can say.

It's great to hear he will be ok. Hope he feels better soon and gets to at least enjoy his birthday. He's still here and that's what counts! :)

Al Luckow said...

You never feel as helpless as when something happens to your own child. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

Jim Goldstein said...

Yikes! I am so sorry this happened, but so relieved that your son i ok. I hope he makes a fast recovery!

Gina B. said...

You had to take the picture so you could stop seeing it. Just like I have to get up in the middle of the night to write things down so I can stop thinking about them.

I am happy that your son is okay. And I am so sorry you and your family had to endure something so frightening and emotionally trying. My heart is with you.

Be careful out there everyone.....Mercury Retrograde is powerful.

Frank Crienen said...

Good to hear you're son is ok!

Jeff Cable said...

To all of you - THANK YOU SO MUCH for your kind words and prayers. As I said, he is so incredibly lucky to have come out of this without any life changing injuries. I, like all of you, hope that this is a lesson he will never forget! And my family truly appreciated everyone's well wishes. Hopefully my blog post and photo will help save some other teenager from being in the same situation or worse! Talk and hug your kids, we are! - Jeff and the rest of the Cable family

Spa Urbano said...

Hi Jeff, I am your biggest brazilian fan. I am sure everything will be all right.You are so an amazing and a special person, God will take care of everythingJust believe and thank him. Best wishes for your family in the next days, Ana,
your brazilian fan from Germany!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff,
Having just steered a son through teenagedom then university and having had to go out a few times to save him or pick up the pieces - I am surprised and thankful that he is still with me. Its not quite over - once he is settled and employed, I'll breathe a little easier. My feelings are with you and I wish your son well you strength.
Regards, Bruce.
Cape Town.

Petunia Pill said...

"Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly!"

That saying comes to mind as I read this post. Sending prayers for healing, peace and wisdom.

rcjaffe said...

I am just thankful that he is okay. As a parent you try to suppress all the thoughts of everything that can go wrong every time you child leaves the house.

Jenn said...

I'm so glad he'll be OK. My son will get his learner's permit this year, and that photo you posted is a version of my own nightmares.

mushylappa said...

Having been that soon in the past, and now i am an instructor trying to keep our kids safe, my thoughts are with you and your family jeff...

Margarita Espinoza said...

I have you and your family in my prayers... & I thank God for making sure you son and your family is okay.
I'm a mother of four...God bless you and your family.

Craig Bennett said...

Thank God your son is okay. I too had a similar situation with my daughter years ago. I still see that image in my mind.

My best wishes and prayers to you and your family.
Regards,
Craig

R.U. ĄŽ said...

Thanks for the picture, thanks for the story. Happy, that Your sun is ok. In Lithuania we say - born second time. Happy birthday!

R.U. ĄŽ said...

Thanks for the picture, thanks for the story. Happy, that Your sun born again. In Lithuania we say - born second time. Happy birthday!

MUSIC INDEX films said...

hey Jeff...totally shocked...but very happy to know that ur son is doing well...wishing him speedy recovery...and GOD bless u...!

Agnes Metanomski said...

Thank goodness your son's ok!

Josh Goldman said...

Thinking of you and your family Jeff... such a terrifying experience but glad all will be OK with your son.

Anonymous said...

I race that car - 2001 model - at autocross. We are required I wear a dot approved helmet although there no obstacles and virtually no chance to roll over. To race this type of car - a miata - on a course with other vehicles where there is a chance of rolling over, you are required o have a full roll cage and a hard top. I am glad the driver made out safe.

Melissa said...

Wow! So glad your son's OK!

david schacher photography blog said...

I will show this to my preteen kids and hopefully it will make an impact and act as prevention. Good to hear your son will be OK and thanks for posting.

Chris B said...

glad your son is ok. That is every parent's nightmare.

Darren S Hulsey said...

So glad your son is ok Jeff. I wish him...and really the entire family...a speedy recovery.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff, I am from Singapore.
Thank God your son is fine.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

I do not know you. But, you are so personable in the videos and on the blog, that I feel like I do. Reading those first couple of lines made my stomach tighten up. i work in health care, so I am used to trauma, but this time I reacted like a parent.

Is your remaining hair gray now?

Anonymous said...

hi jeff i was involved in a horrific accident some yrs ago my mom took photos of the car i was in she wonted to see just how lucky i was and what gods grace can do i will be prying for your family

Rebecca H. said...

So glad that everything turned out okay! ((hugs))

Jianmin Zhang said...

Shocked by the accident and happy to see your son is dowing well now.

It reminds me of my accident last June. It really takes time to heal the mental.

Maybe just try to relax a bit and prepare his birthday party for him. In China, we call this is his second life and the God will give him more bliss afterwards.

klsanguinness said...

This story brought tears to my eyes. You painted an emotional picture that I hope to never see. My oldest daughter was in an accident that was minor compared to the one your son was in. My son is about to turn 18 and will be in college soon. Being a parent is full of rewards and sometimes it is so scary.

I was happy to read that your son was able to celebrate another birthday.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, just started reading your blog after seeing two of your B&H videos. I was Glad to read the happy ending for you family. After 22 years as a firefighter, I have too many of these images etched in my memory, many without happy endings. My new found love of Photography, is putting many beautiful images in front of the tragic ones. Your teaching style and passion for your craft are awesome! God Bless and thanks for the knowledge!