an accident

My mother has a twin sister. Her twin, Sherry, happens to also be her best friend, her confidante, her soul mate. When my parents and my Aunt Sherry and Uncle Quinn are all together, I can almost feel the satisfying click of life snapping back into a comfortable place. My aunt and uncle drive from their home near Louisville, Kentucky, to my parents’ home in Fort White, Florida. While they are here, I frequently call Aunt Sherry “Mom” on accident, correcting myself when my aunt turns around and grins at me. My children mistake Aunt Sherry for their Nana, and while it surprises them, I think they love that their beloved Nana has been duplicated. Sherry sounds like my mother and she looks like my mother. And, as the years have passed, their resemblance has become even more striking.

Sherry and my mom talk by phone almost daily, and sometimes they talk more than once per day. When my mom hears her twin sister’s voice on the phone, the miles between Florida and Kentucky shrink like a rubber band snapping back into place.

Last Wednesday, my mother talked to Sherry around 2:30 in the afternoon. And later that night, closer to 7:30, Sherry’s youngest daughter called my mother. Sherry and Quinn had been in an accident, a bad one, and both had been life-flighted to the University of Louisville’s Hospital in downtown Louisville, the only Level One Trauma Center in the region.

2013-04-27 13.09.57

The next morning, my mother and I flew to Louisville. We spent the next four days alternating between University Hospital and the Marriott on Jefferson Street. Our days were spent in brown plastic hospital chairs, and we alternated between my aunt’s bedside on the 9th floor and my uncle’s bedside in the 8th floor intensive care unit.

My mother, nearly beside herself with worry on the afternoon we arrived, calmed a little more each day after seeing that her twin sister would be okay. Sherry had two pelvic fractures and lots of bruises, including a half-dollar sized purple one on her left lower lip. Over the days we were there, she made great improvements. On the first day, the day following the accident, my aunt was barely able to move without agonizing pain. By the time we left, she had taken her first shaky steps with a wheeled walker and two physical therapists steadying her.

The family held vigil around my uncle’s bedside. Uncle Quinn’s injuries were devastating – bleeding in and around his brain, multiple fractures, including a compound fracture of his left lower leg — and he never regained consciousness after the accident.

The nurses — each one a true angel disguised in cotton scrubs — helped my aunt into a wheelchair at least twice per day so that she could sit by her husband and stroke his hand. We watched the monitor above his bedside, paying attention to which voices raised his blood pressure or which types of music dropped his heart rate. When my uncle coughed or yawned, the ventilator sounded its video-game beeps in annoyance, and we watched, hopeful.

I watched my cousins deal with the agony of waiting on doctors, waiting on tests, waiting on news. I watched them deal with pain of not knowing. I watched my aunt as she talked with her husband, as she winced in empathy, feeling his pain as the nurses shifted his head and body so he could face her.

clouds and blue sky

Mom and I left Louisville on Sunday, and after a flight cancellation and delays due to bad weather, we made it home that night. But though our bodies were physically in Florida, our hearts were still at University Hospital in Louisville. Our hearts were with my Aunt Sherry and with my cousins as they coped with the ramifications of this accident and with the very likely possibility of my uncle’s death.

Quinn died tonight, around 5:15 pm. He has left behind his wife of nearly fifty years, his three beautiful children, two grandsons, and four granddaughters.

He has left behind a family who love him, always.



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51 Responses to “an accident”

  1. 1
    Winnie — April 30, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    I am so sorry, MJ.

  2. 2
    Monica Bhide — April 30, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

  3. 3

    Oh Merry Jennifer, I’m so sorry. This post brought back my grandfather’s passing in shocking clarity, as if it were yesterday instead of nearly 10 years ago. It was very similar. I can feel the pain your cousins and aunt are going through, and my heart aches for them, and for you and your mom. There’s not much that can be said, other than my heart is with you, and I pray that the love you all share will help things eventually click back into place.

  4. 4
    Babette — April 30, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

    Sorry for your loss….

  5. 5
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — April 30, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

    My thoughts are with you and your family. To lose people we love, who we’re close to… it’s just unbearable. Stay well, MJ. Take care of yourself during this time.

    Lots of love.


  6. 6
    Beth — April 30, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

    Oh Merry Jennifer. I am so sorry for your loss. What a loving and beautiful post. You and your family are in my prayers.

  7. 7
    Denise — April 30, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

    Merry Jennifer, I am so sorry for your lose. Thinking of you ….. xo

  8. 8
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — April 30, 2013 @ 9:03 pm

    It’s so hard to know just what to say at a time like this, Merry Jennifer. May you and your family be comforted by the thoughts and prayers of so many who are thinking of you all.

  9. 9
    Maria — April 30, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

    I’m a relatively new reader of your blog, but I’ve been following your story of your dad in the nursing home, vacation with your family and now this accident, and I just had to let you know that I’m thinking about you and praying for your whole family. I feel for what you must be going through tonight, and I’m truly sorry for it.

    I’m not sure if it will help you sleep a little better or if might offer you some peace of mind, but I’ve found the saying that everything happens for a reason to be unbelievely powerful, not to mention true, in my own life. Just thought I’d share. All best.

  10. 10
    Kathy — April 30, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Merry Jennifer. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers. xoxo

  11. 11
    Rona — April 30, 2013 @ 9:24 pm

    My heart is breaking after reading this. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. 12
    Janis — April 30, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

    I am so very sorry for your family’s loss. My love and thoughts are with you.


  13. 13
    Lynne — April 30, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

    I am so sorry and I will hold all of you in my prayers.

  14. 14
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — April 30, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Sending thoughts and prayers for your dear family.

  15. 15
    Wendy Hondroulis — April 30, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

    Wrapping you all in prayer for peace and comfort.

  16. 16
    Lisa @ Garnish with Lemon — April 30, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

    Oh Merry Jennifer, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m glad that you were able to be there with your mother. How difficult it must have been for you, especially with your medical knowledge . Prayers for your family.

  17. 17
    Mallory — April 30, 2013 @ 9:53 pm

    I am so very sorry for your family’s loss. There are no words. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  18. 18
    Wendy Read — April 30, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

    So very sorry for your loss MJ. We are never ready. Sending much love and comfort to you and yours.

  19. 19
    Maria Raynal — April 30, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

    Oh, MJ. Too much tragedy has been heaped on your family in such a short time. You’re all in my thoughts, and sending peace and comfort.

  20. 20
    Sara — April 30, 2013 @ 9:59 pm

    We are so sorry to hear of your beloved Uncle’s death. Our hearts go out to you and your family.

  21. 21
    thefoodpoet — April 30, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

    I’m sending you a storm full of hugs and prayers right now for when the calm hits. I’m so very sorry for your loss, MJ.

  22. 22
    Carol Sacks — April 30, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

    Very sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  23. 23
    Jean Layton — April 30, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss MJ

  24. 24
    Beth Lee — April 30, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

    Oh MJ – how beautifully you shared with us such a heart wrenching story. I am so very sorry for your loss – April has been just filled with loss for so many of us. Each one gut wrenching for those closest to it. Sending hugs to you and your family.

  25. 25
    Jean — April 30, 2013 @ 11:06 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’ll be praying for comfort and healing for you and your family.

  26. 26
    Michelle Ledesma — April 30, 2013 @ 11:08 pm

    MJ, so very sorry for your loss. Sending prayers for peace.

  27. 27
    Jenny Hartin — April 30, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

    MJ, I am so sorry. Sending love and prayers. Xo

  28. 28
    Denise @ Creative Kitchen — April 30, 2013 @ 11:20 pm

    Merry Jennifer,

    How very, very sad! I’m so sorrry for your devestating loss. My prayers are with you and your family.

  29. 29
    Kallie Jurgens — May 1, 2013 @ 12:18 am

    Our prayers are with you tonight; God bless you all!

  30. 30
    Lana Watkins — May 1, 2013 @ 12:39 am

    Thinking of you and your family and sending you a big, warm hug from California. XOXO

  31. 31
    Linda — May 1, 2013 @ 2:54 am

    My heart breaks for your aunt and your family, and I fel for you all. Sending love.

  32. 32
    Kathryn — May 1, 2013 @ 4:09 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss and my thoughts are with you and your family xo

  33. 33
    Elizabeth — May 1, 2013 @ 5:09 am

    This can not be an easy time for any of you, hope you are able to find comfort in the happy memories you can share with each other.
    Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  34. 34
    Alice Martin — May 1, 2013 @ 5:51 am

    For over thirty years my friend, your mother, shared stories of her twin sister and Quinn. I feel as though I have lost him too. My thoughts are with each of you.

  35. 35
    Rachel — May 1, 2013 @ 6:54 am

    So sorry, MJ. Praying for your family and sending big hugs.

  36. 36

    I’m so, so sorry, MJ. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts today. XO

  37. 37
    Jennifer — May 1, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    I am so sorry to read about your loss, I can imagine how devastating this must be for your entire family.

    Sending you all peace and strength.

  38. 38
    Mary Kay Roddy — May 1, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

    I am so very sorry about your uncle. As I read through your post and got to the part where you said he passed away, I actually let out a scream. I was really hoping Quinn would be okay. I am so sorry for your loss.

  39. 39
    Rachel Winter — May 1, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

    Sending prayers. Thinking of you. XOXO Rachel

  40. 40
    Lynda - TasteFood — May 1, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

    I am so sorry for your family’s loss MJ. Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers to you. xoxo.

  41. 41
    Rima Kleiner — May 1, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

    My heart goes out to you, your mom and your aunt, MJ. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts. Take care of yourself.

  42. 42
    Catherine — May 1, 2013 @ 4:04 pm

    Oh I am so sorry MJ – God bless you all.

  43. 43
    cherie — May 1, 2013 @ 10:32 pm

    my tremendous sympathy to you and your mother – prayers for you and your whole family especially dear Aunt Sherry

  44. 44
    Helene — May 1, 2013 @ 11:46 pm

    All my love and prayers to you and your family.
    <3 <3 <3

  45. 45
    Katie — May 2, 2013 @ 7:11 am

    MJ my prayers go out to you and your family.

  46. 46
    Di — May 2, 2013 @ 9:09 am

    Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your Uncle. I have held similar vigils over beloved relatives before their passing. My heart breaks for you and your family. Peace and strength in the days to come.

  47. 47

    I am so sorry for your loss Merry.

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  49. 48
    stephanie souris — May 9, 2013 @ 8:23 pm

    so very, very sorry. May his Memory be Eternal.

  50. 49
    Paula — May 15, 2013 @ 10:02 am

    I’m deeply sorry for your loss. I pray for strength for your Aunt and for your entire family Merry Jennifer. Your family has had more to bear than most of late and I pray that you can all continue to find the courage to move forward with each passing day.

  51. 50
    Kiran @ — May 15, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

    So sorry for your loss, MJ. With everything that is going on, I pray that you and the family continue having the strength to push ahead. Can’t wait to hug it out at FBF.

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