Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Memorial

A night to remember. It started out memorable enough too...we went out to dinner some friends, and had a great time! They picked 4 restaurants we had never been to, and we "appetizer hopped". Super fun! We hit up 4 totally different and amazing places and ate ate ATE! It was such a fun idea and we had such a good time! We were talking and laughing, and had already paid at the last place (hence, almost ready to go), when my phone rang.

Janessa: uhhhh, there is a truck on your lawn
Me: What? What do you mean?
Janessa: There is a truck on your lawn! And all your neighbours are out!
Me: Ok! We're leaving now!...(lots more questions and my instructing her to stay in the house and lock the doors)

We called a few more times to touch base with her...police are here, firetrucks, paramedics...that's just means the neighbours called 911. We were all the way at the "popular beach", so about 20-30 mins from home.

When we reached home, we knew something was drastically wrong. Our house was completely taped off with yellow tape. We talked to the police man guarding the tape line (there were no less than 7 police cars or suv's there!), and he would not let us through. He said everything was fine and we didn't need to worry...and we couldn't go home for another hour at least. GREAT. I'm worried, mister!!

If you know where we live, you know it's a pretty quiet cul de sac neighbourhood. We don't have to worry about cars racing through the streets. There is no thru-traffic, just our little circle. So envisioning how on earth a truck could get onto our lawn was a little disturbing.

We drove to a friends a mile away for a potty break (too much eating!), and then tried back home, this time going around the far side of the cul de sac. We found that they hadn't taped off through to the back of our yard (we have a weird shaped lot), so we parked on the street and went in through the back door.

It was then that we got a look at this huge truck (a big Dodge Ram) backwards completely wrapped around our large oak tree. The kids swing was up in the bed of the truck. Their toys, that they played with just hours before, were laying all around, some under the truck.

We waited until it seemed to slow down out there, and we went outside to get a closer look at the situation and talk to the police. We stepped into the front yard.

Me: Do you see that?
Brian: no what
Me: look at all that blood, oh my goodness

...there was blood pouring out of the passenger side (door was open). The police officers had been searching around the yard with flashlights. As we stand there by the truck staring in awe at all the blood, an officer picks up a gun from our lawn, and puts it in a bag.


We have to move now. That was seriously my first thought. Brian and I just looked at each other, almost expressionless. That was a gun!

As more and more of the police left and everything, some of the neighbours came out, so we asked them what they knew. We were more than a little freaked out that there had been a shooting on our property!

As it turns out, it was our neighbour Larry, he lives directly across the cul de sac from us. His driveway about exactly lines up with our tree. The police said they were searching for a suicide note, but could not find one.

He either purposefully or accidentally shot himself, and it would appear that he tried to perhaps get to the hospital...getting in the truck, throwing it in reverse and perhaps loosing consciousness with the foot on the gas he ran hard and fast into the first thing that stopped him. Our tree.

Initial reports are that he is not dead, but was in surgery. He apparently suffered a gun shot wound to the head, according to witnesses. How the gun ended up on our lawn is perhaps a mystery...but maybe not. We speculate, based on witnesses stories...Our neighbour was allowed in the home, as she knew him a little, to help look for a suicide note. There was no blood in the house. There was blood on the driveway by the passengers side. Brian and I speculate that he accidentally shot himself while loading or unloading the gun from perhaps his glovebox. Panicked. Tried to get help/a hospital. There is no blood on his drivers side of the driveway, so he likely climbed in the truck from where he stood. When the doors were opened on our lawn, the gun probably fell out of the truck (it was on the ground near the passengers side).

I should also mention that this is not an official report from the police, but just the story from the witnesses (neighbours). The police told us that all they could say was that a man did something which resulted in him crashing into our tree.

There is also blood on our lawn, which the police volunteered that the fire dept could clean for us in the daylight, but we said we could handle it. He gave us instructions for bleaching and burying it.

Sorry it's kind of a long story!!! A few things to be grateful for - God's hand of protection. Being a mom, I am pretty much acutely aware of this everyday. Like how they didn't choke on the penny they found, or how they didn't break their arm falling, etc.

But let me tell you, there is nothing like a completely out of the box dramatic situation to REALLY remind you of His loving kindness and tender mercies.

If this happened during the day, I could be planning 3 little funerals right now.

If we didn't have that huge tree there, his truck would have smashed right into our home...right into Brooks' room on the wall his bed is against

There are countless ways that this situation could have turned badly for us, the "innocent ones" in the situation. How do you prepare to protect yourself from a car careening out of control? Not that we should ever live in fear of the many what-ifs in life. But we can be grateful when we notice the hand of God's protection at work.

There are things like this all through life, and we need to remember them. Reference Joshua 4. The Lord told the people to make a memorial, out of stones. So that when their children ask "what do these stones mean?", they will tell the story, and remember the lessons learned/the situation they were in etc. We should endeavour to set up memorials for our children, always. So that they can look back over their lives and see the hand of God. Actually see his faithfulness. They will have little room to doubt, because they can look back and tangibly see the times that God has brought them through. This is the kind of thing that bolsters faith and increases it. I have many such memorials, and I hope that one day, my children will be telling their children. Showing them. That they serve a powerful, risen Saviour. And He is able. End of story. He is able.

We now have a tree that bears a pretty hefty scar to remind us that God is in control. We live and breathe to do His will, and so we strive.

The back end of the truck was wrapped around our tree.
There is glass and debris everywhere.
The tail light. Made quite a flight after impact.
That is bark, debris, and a Dodge Ram tailgate ornament.
Part of his back window is in the crook of the tree
The path he took

After he hit the tree, the tires were still spinning, gouging out deep rivets in the dirt

After all the drama, lets remember our neighbour, whose night probably did not end as he expected. We are all safe and none the worse for wear, but he is not so blessed right now. I have no idea if he is still alive, hopefully we'll find out news on that soon. If he lives, I am sure his life will never be the same. Larry is 67, recently retired, and could use our prayers.


  1. Darla, this is well put. I am thankful no harm came to you and your family. What a great testimony and reminder how God is always in control! His light shines!

  2. Oh Dar! My heart nearly stopped reading this! Praise God for his protection and provision. Thankful you guys are all ok! Thank you for the reminder to always remember who is in control and protects us.

  3. love the appetizer hopping idea. Never heard of it but love it and want to do it!

  4. oh and I hit send too soon - we are rejoicing in God's protection!