"Hit & Run"

Have you ever felt something was wrong before you actually knew it?
It feels like a 6th sense.

I was 14, up late one night, talking on the phone to my friend. It was late and NO ONE ever dared to call our house line. They called our teenage phone line that only my sister and I had access to.

ring, ring, ring, ring... ring, ring - no one picked up. Uh oh- I'm thinking my parents will be mad tomorrow.

beep beep, beep beep, beep beep - for some reason out of fear I did not pick up the other line.

scared I felt that bad feeling creep up inside.

ring, ring, ring, ring - my mom answered. I told my friend "I gotta go, I'll call you back later, I think somethings up".  Sure enough my dad comes in, "Care can you go sleep in our bed in case Mark (my brother who was 8) wakes up and wonders where we are?"  "Sure, what's going on?"  I answered. "something happened to your sister, we are going to the hospital, we'll let you know as soon as we can" my dad replied.

The next morning (early) my mom takes me to Emergency at the Peace Arch Hospital to see my sister. "She's really bad Care" my mom warns me. "Her teeth are knocked out, her head is cut open and her one leg is swollen so bad you would hardly recognize her".  Gulp - I don't remember replying, I just took it all in and prepared myself for the worst.

In I go and I remember when I saw my sister all I wanted to do was run and hug her so hard! Everything was pretty covered and she was on a lot of drugs to keep the pain at bay. I asked my mom, but she said she was too hurt to hug. My sister listening to this conversation says "you can hold my hand." So there I sat holding my sisters hand, not saying much.

My sister, my best friend, was hit by a car. A drunk driver late one night struck her when she was crossing the street to go to a friends house. The driver took off and fled the scene. The driver later admitted in court that he thought she was dead - so he fled to save himself. Thanks to her friends (who unfortunately witnessed it), other witnesses, and God - the driver was caught and most importantly my sister lived! The windshield was completely smashed open.

Lauren suffered many many injuries. 41 plus stitches in her head. A shattered leg - broken in 10 different places. Her front teeth knocked out. Road rash all over her body. She also suffered long term injuries - anxiety, depression to the point of wanting to commit suicide, immobility (because her leg was not healing properly for a handful of years), debilitating headaches, and colitis - to name a few.

Imagine being 17 years old and faced with all of that.

Amazingly, if you met her today, she would probably tell you a few things. One is that this is where her nickname "Hardcore Hanna" came from. Second, that she'll tell you this experience was a blessing.

A blessing?

My sister has taught me so much but this is probably the biggest.

This experience allowed her to see who the real Lauren is. Her true purpose in life. Which is really to help others who are struggling, find their way and heal themselves.

So I encourage you to think the same thing - no matter what it is that is getting you down, consider that this trial or set back may just be a blessing in disguise.

My sister and her beautiful daughter and husband (ok he is handsome not beautiful!)

This was my most recent speech at Toastmasters Jan 2013.
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