Each presentation that I give has a main focus and that is choices. More specifically, that our choices can and most often do affect someone other than ourselves.
This past October, during Red Ribbon Week, I asked a friend of mine to give her personal testimony to one of our local high schools reliving the emotional details about the evening she heard siren after siren after siren speed past her house. Then having her suspicions confirmed.
She had relived those moments for me once before, but sitting beside her in a gymnasium as she recalled the specifics had me swallowing sobs that desperately wanted to escape.
She relayed the story about two other mutual friends that she was in constant contact with during those hours of extraction and transportation of myself and my two daughters. Those two friends also agreed to write a few paragraphs as their personal testimony for my blog today.
Jen Harmon:"The night that I learned of Carey’s car accident I was in shock. It was one of those moments that was hard to even comprehend what was happening. My mind started flipping through every memory I had of being with her and I couldn’t make myself believe that the person I had become friends with was possibly gone forever. I didn’t believe it was real, I didn’t see how it could be real, I didn’t want to accept that it could be real."
"I started making phone calls, sending text messages and searching Facebook for information but there were no clear, factual answers to be given. I heard that there was a fatality and at that time, I didn’t even know if there was another vehicle involved so I began to worry that my worst nightmare was proving to be true. I continued to make calls but was told many different stories ranging from rumors of her losing her legs to her being transported by helicopter to St. Louis but was not expected to live. It was one of the most helpless feelings I have ever had."
"I struggled with whether I should go to the hospital or not. I knew there were going to be so many people there and felt that I would probably just be in the way. I chose to stay home and wait. I held my phone in my hand everywhere I went – not knowing if I wanted it to ring or not for fear of what I would be told if it did."
"One night I just started texting her. I assumed she had lost her phone in the accident, but I continued to send them anyway. I didn’t know if she would ever get to read them but it was the only thing I could do. I had no control over what was going to happen but I could at least tell her that I was thinking of her and praying that she would come back to us."
"Finally, one night as I held my phone in my hand while lying on my couch my phone chimed. I can’t explain the feeling I got when I looked down and saw that the text I had just received was from Carey. It honestly felt like God had just come and placed her right into my arms. She later told me that she didn’t remember sending me that text or even talking to me later that week. But I do - and it will always be one of the most amazing, miraculous days in my life. "
Lisa Gansner: "I will never forget that wintry December night. I had an odd feeling that night…couldn’t explain what…but things just didn’t seem right. It was a Wednesday night…and I didn’t go to the studio as Carey taught that ZUMBA class."
"About 5 minutes before class started, my phone rang…that sick feeling came in my stomach and my head knew….and my heart knew..something was happening. It was the girls at the studio., asking if class was cancelled?"
"Carey hadn’t arrived..and we all knew that never happened. If she wasn’t able to show, which she NEVER cancelled..she would always say something. I knew when I was dialing her number, a sickness continued in my heart and stomach. I left message after message."
"As I was on the phone with the girls at the studio, they heard sirens…our heart sunk and tears whelped up as we knew..it wasn’t a fear…we knew it had to be her. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the extent….and as I learned about the seriousness, all the emergency personnel traveling..the great amount of emergency personnel, the Face Book posts, I just prayed. And prayed. And prayed."
"I will never forget that night. Feeling helpless, prayerful, wishing I could do something, wishing I could be an angel in the sky giving her strength, so scared for my dear friend, knowing something horrible had happened and just praying with all my might that she would live…breathe…."
"As those next months continued, watching her struggle and watching her overcome so many obstacles, yet wishing I could take all the pain away. Wishing that night had never happened. I can’t imagine what it is like to be in Carey’s shoes. I know God has such a great purpose for her. She touches and inspires so many before and NOW…it is so evident his purpose for her." "I feel so blessed that it was NOT his plan to have her join the angels and to let us continue to enjoy her, her spirit, her personality and all she is." "I love you Carey and feel so blessed to call you my dear friend and thankful God has blessed us with you for a longer time. Thank you for who you are and what you stand for. You are such an amazing model to others and me daily. When I feel like complaining selfishly about things, I think of you often and say…”No way I can complain…look what SHE overcame…I can overcome anything too! “