This column is dedicated to my granddaughter, Breanna Kinneman, who was in a horrific car accident — for which her life was spared, but lost both of her legs.
We go through life wishing and praying for miracles, none more special than those that happen during the season of Christmas.
It happened just before Thanksgiving, when the Christmas season had already begun. A time of excitement, hope, love and miracles. A time when all of these things seem a little more special than at any other time of the year. The Christmas lights shone brightest that night all up and down the roadside that runs right through the heartland of rural America.
It’s also one of the best deer hunting areas in the country — the fore-bearer of this tragedy turned miracle.
Just 10 minutes from home, a deer jumped out in front of my granddaughter and as she swerved to miss the deer, she hit the guardrail alongside the road. Guardrails are meant to protect the driver — not break and sever her legs. The broken guardrail went right through her car — from passenger to driver side, slicing her legs like that of a saw blade.
This is where the miracle begins. A young girl (just a senior in high school), on her way home to her house in the country, saw it all take place right before her eyes. She immediately stopped to try to comfort my granddaughter, and call for help. She called her mother first, as she just lived up the road. Between the two of them they had help on the way — air-lift-copter, ambulance, jaws-of-life, and whatever else was available. It was too windy to land the helicopter so it became the fastest ambulance ride on record.
Bleeding profusely from both legs, it was all these angels — Rachele and NolaKay Kelm — could do to keep my granddaughter, Breanna from passing before her time. We think of these angels every day as we hug our granddaughter, thanking God every day that she’s alive and well, aspiring to do greater things than she had ever dreamed of.
That’s our girl – already talking about going out in the world and making a difference. Not yet knowing how she’s going to walk, she’s already talking about doctoral degree and a career in the medical ﬁeld. With three years of college under her belt, I don’t see anything stopping her from doing anything.
She told me, “Grandpa, something good is going to come of all this.”
On one recent occasion I had the privilege of laying by her bedside and rekindling the whole incident, looking for the good that had already come of it, of which the miracles were first and foremost on her mind.
Miracle #1: The young lady and her mother who actually saved her life.
Miracle #2: Had the injury been one or two inches higher her life would have ended that instant.
Miracle #3: It changed the lives of everyone she has touched.
Case in point: She recently had to go her local hospital for a blood draw. As the technician looked down at her, tears were welling from his eyes as he said, “I’m a volunteer ﬁreman, first on the scene of your accident.”
Miracle #4: It took the loss of her legs to find herself.
However, without miracle #1 there would be no more miracles, no future of excitement and determination, no more lives to be touched by her inspiration. It would have all been a waste, but God saw ﬁt to share this girl with the rest of the world, in a way that only she and God could possibly put together.
As she put it, “This is a new beginning, a chance to start over.”
It begs the question: Would any of this turned out the way it did, if this had happened in a city/suburbanite setting? We’ll never know the answer to that, but we do know that rural kids are raised, for the most part, with a higher sense of values. That compassionate, caring, loving and nurturing instinct of this young girl and her mother who became her “guardian angels” didn’t happen without the intervention of a higher power.
That which can’t be understood can only be entrusted to our faith and belief, for which we all know to be true and life-changing.
Breanna’s story can be followed on the Caring Bridge site:
“Don’t close the book when bad things happen in your life just turn the page and begin a new chapter.” – Caring Bridge Journal entry by Debbie Kinneman on December 7, 2016
“Life tossed you a lemon and you are making lemonade…and not the tart kind.” – Caring Bridge Journal entry by Alice Mercord, December 28, 2016
“Life is a gift from God that sometimes we all forget.” – Caring Bridge Journal entry by Margaret Koele, January 3, 2017