When I was 14, my parents were in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. My father’s legs were both crushed into hundreds of fragments and my mother suffered a total facial smash. My oldest brother was 20 and came home to help with the family business in our small town. A family friend came to stay with us and help out in the business too. My sister was only 6.
I became the house cleaner, cook, surrogate mother and shopper, plus I went to school during the day. My parents were hospitalized for three months continuously and then intermittently for follow-up care and surgeries for years afterwards. Our extended family wanted to split us kids up and take my little sister and me into their homes. I told them all there was no way that was happening!
How did we cope? We all handled it differently but for me, I talked my sadness and pain out with friends. The biggest thing I knew even at that young age was we needed to maintain a routine – one foot in front of the other. Keep things as close to what Mom and Dad would do.
We turned out just fine. My oldest brother is a tax lawyer. Another brother is a surgeon. My sister was a stay-at-home mom who segued into a Human Resources career after her kids were grown. And I became a registered nurse who worked a little in the evenings and Saturdays until my kids were grown. Are we okay? You bet we are. We’re tough as nails, but softies too. Hardship helped shape our character, and we have character in spades.
Hardship Helped Shape Our Character
The Dr. Laura Call of the Day Podcast