Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fran's Story

It was July 24th 2000. I was in my kitchen preparing dinner for my husband and two daughters. Our oldest was home from college after just completing her freshmen year. Our youngest daughter, a rising 9th grader was out with friends. I leaned over the sink to drain the pasta when the phone rang. In that mundane task, something I had done so many  times my life was about to change forever.. There are no words on this earth strong enough to express the sadness we were about to endure.

My husband's sister and brother-in-law had been in a terrible accident. They were on their way to the beach for a family vacation. We were told on the phone to travel to the hospital an hour and a half away. We would be given the details on our arrival.

 We knew that they were traveling with all 6 of their children plus 2 young girls from Belarus that were staying with them for the summer. These girls were in the USA for medical treatment and dental work. The Chernobyl power plant disaster left the children with severe medical problems. Our sweet M.A. and T. were dedicated to helping these girls get the care they needed.  

When we arrived at the hospital we were greeted by the Highway patrol Chaplin. He gave us the news that there were 4 survivors. Our 16 year old nephew, 8 year old niece, and one of our beautiful twin nieces 13 year old M.T.  The other survivor was one of the 12 year old girls from Belarus. Our nephew was left with only a broken collarbone, what a miracle. Three days later our niece M.T. went to heaven to be with her twin sister and the rest of her family. The Highway patrol said that the truck that crossed the median took 2.8 seconds to take the lives of M.A. and T. along with four of their six children. Although sweet Nastia from Belarus did not survive we were thrilled to find out from our nephew that she had become a Christian and been baptized while staying in their home. The driver of the truck was also killed instantly. 

This was a family that loved the Lord. They had dedicated their lives to serving him. Everyone that knew them loved them. The day we told our nephew that they were gone his words were "They are with Jesus." What an amazing legacy they left in these two surviving children. Just one week after the accident we traveled that same rode home with our two new children. We were a family devastated and grief stricken. We knew that everyday God was going to pick us up and keep us moving because we could not have survived otherwise. 

What a gift it is to feel God's hands so clearly knowing HE is there with you keeping your knees from buckling to the floor. We will always miss them so much and feel sad for the years we have spent without them. We really miss seeing the children grow up.

I will soon have an empty nest! Our once wide eyed  frightened little 8 year old niece is now 18 and about to leave for college in the fall. Our nephew married last year and is doing well. He is about to finish graduate school.

We are a family that was changed in 2.8 seconds. We can look back now and see the ways God cared for us over the past 10 years. At times it seemed way too hard but we are well and so blessed. We are a family.

Thank you for letting me share. It has meant so much to me to see how God has given you your miracle in Katherine's beautiful story of healing. I pray for her almost everyday. Please keep blogging. I know there will be many more miracles to come.
Thank you so much, Fran, for taking the time to share your story. It is truly inspirational. God is able to make the unbearable bearable...if we let Him. 

p.s. And thanks so much to Aidan at Ivy League Insecurities for making my post on "Survivors" a "charm" on her blog today.  It's an honor.


  1. In reference to language development and our want vs. need, I thought you might appreciate this image. Very telling.

  2. Kim,
    Your bravery and willingness to share you life with all of us out here (all over the world)--your words.... have connected our lives and hearts. You have been a catalyst in reminding us to be mindful, thankful and compassionate towards all those whom we meet. Thank you again and again. Marianne

  3. Wow. I remember that story (I am not 100% sure it is the same.) I live in Columbia, SC. Fran, your family is always in my thoughts when I drive on I-26. Thank you for sharing your story.

    I guess what I vividly remember was how loving the family must have been to have the two girls from Russia. On the way to the beach. But, how sweet to know they are with Jesus.

    Can I share a family that is in need of prayers? I actually sent Katherine an email. His name is Brian Denny and he was in a terrible accident at work and broke C/3 and C/4 and is completely paralyzed. He is currently at Shepard in Atlanta.

    Thank you!



Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

It helps to know we're not alone.