I’m not sure anything that we would’ve chosen to use to climb onto the car would’ve produced a different outcome.
Eric proceeded to stand the sled up against the back bumper of our car with the intention of climbing it like a ladder to reach the top of the car. Both Eric and myself were somewhat convinced that this should and would work. Eric obviously believed it more than I did, because he was the one to try it out.
History would yet again repeat itself in this situation as it had in the past whenever Eric and I would choose to do something unwise.
Usually parents are around to instruct their children and to stop them before the unthinkable happens, but inevitably kids are going to find ways to do things without the parents’ knowledge of it. Eric and I had several of these moments, and certainly there would’ve been more if God had chosen not to take him home so soon.
As Eric proceeded to step up onto the sled and to grab onto the top with his hands to pull himself up and as I watched the events happen in slow motion, I don’t know how far up he got before the sled started reacting to laws of physics and sliding backwards.
This was one of those moments where you watch and you are completely unable to help because it happens so fast.
Eric’s head was just beyond the front of the sled as it continued to slide back and as it did, his mouth slammed into either the trunk or the bumper so hard that it knocked out some of his teeth on the top.
The moments after that are a little fuzzy, but I’m sure that I ran into the house to find my Dad. When he came out and assesed the situation, he had decided to get a hold of our dentist to get him in there as quickly as possible.
When my Mom came home from visiting with one of her friends, the only thing she had been told was that Dad had taken Eric to the dentist. This news didn’t make any sense to her because it was Sherry who had a dentist appointment that day, so she thought Dad had taken the wrong child.
When Mom was filled in with the rest of the story, I’m not sure. I do remember Dad calling from the dentist telling us we needed to find Eric’s missing teeth because the ones that were knocked out were his permanent teeth. I don’t know if you can imagine searching for teeth in the snow, but there was a lot of praying done by Mom.
After searching for I don’t know how long, Dad finally called back informing us that the teeth that were knocked out were only his baby teeth. What a relief and an answer to prayer that was, because we were losing our minds trying to find them in the snow in the dark.
There are several things that I learned from this episode. Apart from the obvious thing concerning sleds is that bad things will eventually happen. People will get hurt, whether through unwise choices or through something that’s out of their control.
Secondly, I learned that during these hard times, God is right there with you and wants you to call out to Him and trust Him.
I have no doubt that God answered my Mom’s prayer that night. Even though He didn’t help us find the missing teeth, we didn’t need to because He knew the best way to answer our prayer.
God doesn’t give us what we want, but always what we need.
Our family would learn this very hard truth the following spring when God called Eric home to be with Him.
Even though we wanted Eric here with us, God needed him more. We’ll never know how many lives were changed because of the impact that his life and his passing on into eternity had on people.
For those of you who want to know more about Eric and his passing, my Dad wrote a very moving and touching piece on his website http://www.rogerluther.com entitled: The death of a child.