Tuesday, January 13th, I stood before Judge Humphrey and told her about my story. The weeks leading up to this, I was so emotional. With the New year I had resolved to let my feelings about this die with sentencing of Frankie Skip Kahle, the man who crashed into us. But on that day and based on the things that have happened I cannot and will not let that be the end of my story. I wrote out most of what I wanted to say because it was so hard to say everything and make it make sense. I also couldn’t say it without running through the emotions of anger to sadness and sobbing uncontrollably. So what you are about to read is what I wrote. I did elaborate on some of it in the moment but I don’t remember all of it.
There is so much to say I really don’t know where to begin. July 4th will never be the same to me. July 4th is now the day I thought I was going to die. It’s the day I saw a huge truck barreling down towards us. It’s the day I thought my boys were going to become orphans. It’s the day that this man decided to get behind the wheel of his vehicle and attempt to drive without any regard for human life, including his own. At first glance I look pretty normal. At first glance you may say she is so lucky to walk away perfectly fine. But I didn’t just walk away and I’m not perfectly fine and I am not the only victim.
I don’t know what’s worse, the physical injuries or the emotional ones. In the accident my husband broke his finger and had bits of glass embedded in his chest and arms. I broke my hip and my knee and still have injuries like my shoulder that are not healing after months of rehabilitation. I have an MRI scheduled to find out if it needs surgery to correct it. I flinch when a car gets too close or cuts us off. I see that green truck every night when I close my eyes, taking my breath away as if it is happening all over again. After being pulled from the wreckage by firefighters I was in the worst pain of my life. I had a super scary hip surgery that came with all sorts of complications including nerve damage, which I have above my knee. I was left in a full leg brace and metal plates and screws holding my hip together, these things left me wheelchair and walker bound for 3 months. During that time I had to go to a rehab hospital to learn how to take care of myself without the use of my right leg. What hurt most during this time was not being able to be the mom I used to be and that my boys expected me to be. I had days where I felt stronger than ever and days where I couldn’t stand to be awake in this nightmare that was my reality. I battled depression and insomnia with my husband taking the brunt of my frustrations. He had to do it all by himself. Cook, clean, take care of the house and the kids and he had to help take care of me. He had to bathe me and help me in and out of the bed and car. While I am forever grateful for having him by my side, this hasn’t been easy for us. Then came months of rehab to rebuild some muscle in my leg so I could walk on my own. Again I have days where I am great and days where I can’t move. I am still not okay. I walk without my cane which is still new for me. But I can’t do it for very long. I have to take lots of breaks and if I do push myself further than before, I spend most of the next day in bed. I am the sole provider for my family. My job requires me to walk around 8-9 hours a day, sometimes more. I don’t know if I will ever be able to do that again. The pressure I feel to get better is heavy. I have 3 sweet little boys counting on me.
What people don’t see are the other victims of this accident. My parents, who thought their daughter might die or never walk again. Who had to take in my family and help take care of us after I was released from the hospital because we couldn’t do it on our own. My 3 boys, Aiden, Caleb, and Callen. Whose lives have changed in so many ways since July 4th. The fear when they found out their parents were in a crash. Then the unknown because it was almost a week before they could come visit me. Then the reality that while mommy will be okay, she won’t be the mommy they are used to. Callen is 2 and growing so fast. With the weakness in my arm and shoulder there have been more days where I couldn’t pick him up than days where I could. The first time he saw me he got scared and ran away from me. That broke my heart. On good days where I try to do more around the house and with my kids my middle little Caleb has said to me, “that’s it mom! You’re almost the mommy you used to be!” That kills me. Because I know I may never be that mommy again. I have to live a cautious life. I cannot do the things a normal person can do or anything that puts me at risk for reinjuring my fragile hip. I only have 3 plates and some screws holding my hip in place. One of my fondest memories was our annual father daughter ski trips I took with my dad. Last year we took our boys to the snow for the first time and I dreamed and planned to take my oldest, Aiden, skiing this year. I cannot do that because if I fall I could break my hip and injure myself even more severely. That moment I had envisioned, that memory I wanted to make with my boy is gone. I can’t even run around the yard and play soccer with them. This man took that from them. And while after today he will move on I won’t. I have more rehab, and more doctor’s visits to figure out my long-term care. That’s more time off and more time away from my kids.
I know I am lucky we both lived and I know I am lucky my wheelchair wasn’t permanent but this “accident” (crash) should have never happened! This man shouldn’t just get to plead no contest and receive a slap on the wrist. He did this! He changed my life and my family forever. My injuries are a life sentence and he shouldn’t get just the minimum time or probation. He chose to break the law and put society at risk. He has not paid his debt to society. He has not paid his debt to my family. I know I have to forgive him to heal myself completely. I know that I am stronger than my injuries. I know that someday this will happen and I will be okay. But forgiveness in no way makes any of this okay. Thank you.
Judge Humphrey then sentenced Frankie Kahle to probation. I am devastated. I am not done. This is not how my story will end. I am mad. I am hurt. and I will fight.
If you haven’t read my whole story you can find out the beginning of this chapter of my life in the July and August 2014 archives or the Road to Recovery category.