This day, above all others, will always be remembered, as if it happened only yesterday.
March 18,2003 was a day like any other day, so we thought. With my two oldest daughters in school, I was at home with my three younger boys. It had been raining for a few days and our backyard was extremely muddy. As I fed my boys, Mikey, then 4, Paul, then 3, and Matthew, then 23 months, I decided that when I took Paul to school , I was going to load them out the front door, instead of the back like I usually did. I wanted to avoid the temptations of mud-jumping in the backyard, that awaited three active boys. In order to take them out the front, I had to back up our van no more than twenty feet or so. I told my father , who is disabled slightly and who was living with us at the time, of my plans. I asked him to please keep an eye on the boys while I moved the van.
As I went out the front door, they were engrossed in some Disney movie. I told them to stay there, that I would be right back in to load them into the van. I closed both living room doors and proceeded to get in the van to back it up. That is when God took over.
My three-year-old, Paul Jr. had opened up the front doors and let my youngest, Matthew, outside. My father was unable to stop them and I , unknowingly, continued to back up the 4600 lb. Econoline van. I hit the railroad ties that outlined our driveway, as both my husband and I have done many times before, with our driveway as narrow as it is. I pulled forward, straightened the van and tried again. Again, I hit the railroad ties and again I straightened out the van and I tried a third time. I hit the ties for a third time and as I went to pull forward my father was standing in the front of the van yelling at me to stop. When I asked him why, the words he said instantly made me cry. He said “”Matthew”” and the rest was said with a point of his finger because he knew what had happened and couldn’t get the words out before I jumped out of the van. What I thought were the railroad ties had been my son the whole time. I threw the van in park, got out, ran around the back passenger side tire to find my baby lying there in shock. He never cried out! His legs were under the tire, and bless his little body, his chest and his head were untouched.
His eyes were as wide as saucers as I lifted him to take him inside. He still had not cried. I dialed 911, then my husband, and what took place next is a mess of confusion. Matthew was taken flight for life to Children’s Hospital, where he remained for a total of 54 days.
Matthew suffered, first and the most serious, liver damage. They scale liver damage 1-6, with 6 being fatal. Matthew had been diagnosed as a 5. He also suffered a perforated intestine, which was not discovered until two weeks after his admittance. He underwent emergency surgery at two in the morning, and at that time been given a 60% to40% chance of survival. He sustained a broken femur (thigh) bone , which today has not healed exactly right yet, but it will. During his emergency surgery, we literally turned our son over to God and said “”may Your will be done”” I will never be able to put into words the pain that overtook myself, my husband, and all our children.
This all happened during the beginning of the war, and we still managed to have churches in fourteen different states praying for Matthew, as well as Germany. The power of prayer, the dedication of the hospital staff and the strength and support of family, church, and our friends helped pull us through each and every one of those difficult days.
Today, Matthew is a growing, active, happy and very loving little boy. All struggles with after care at home are over, and he seems to win the hearts of all with a single smile. Matthew means “”a gift from God””. Each one of our children; Kristin, Erin, Mikey, Paul Jr., and Matthew, are special gifts that we will always be thankful God has let us keep. Thank you Lord!!!”