Miracles | Teen Ink


June 16, 2009
By clairew SILVER, West Chester, Pennsylvania
clairew SILVER, West Chester, Pennsylvania
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

When people ask me why I believe in God, I have an answer for them. I have seen a miracle. A miracle that wakes me up when I oversleep, one that asks if she can borrow my clothes, and one that tells me all her deep, dark secrets. She is what keeps me going when I lose my faith. When I even begin to think about all I could have lost that day, tears spring to my eyes and it feels as if a giant hand is squeezing my heart. Three years ago, I was made grateful for all that I have and hold dear.

It was a hot summer day, perfect for a trail ride. Our horses, with my family astride, entered into a small stand of trees, spaced far enough apart so that the sunlight could peer through the thick branches, and give the tall grass hope. A few feet away, a post and rail fence rose out of the ground, signaling humanity in the otherwise empty area. Farther out, a large house stands, no cars in its gravel driveway. There is a trail leading into the clearing, a brown rut exiting the parted lips of a lush wood. It was scorching hot, so very much so that the earth itself seemed to radiate humid choking heat. My little sister and I didn’t usually go riding. But today we had joined my mother and my other sister, in a fit of spontaneity. We were just about finished, with our house just across the road. It had been a pleasant ride, one with little commotion. However, the heat was getting to all of us and we thought it would be best to finish up. My little sister directed her horse into the clearing. From that moment on, everything changed.

The horse she was on, a tan gelding, reared into the air and took off. She had no clue what to do. I watched in horror as she slipped from the saddle and slid underneath the horse, her foot caught in the stirrup. Her small body swung turbulently back and forth, until at last she fell to the ground. My mom was screaming. Bent over, next to her still daughter, she yelled for me to call 9-1-1. The heavy boots on my feet felt like lead weights as I tried to run. No response came from my neighbor’s house when I pounded on their door. I took off down their driveway, which on any other day would have been long, but that day, it was miles. At my house, my father answered the door. I pushed past him, ran inside, and dialed the number. An operator picked up, her voice calm and tranquil, no match for my panic. Within two minutes, I was back in the clearing, flagging down an ambulance. Sweat pooled at my forehead, my hair stuck out at every angle beneath my hardhat. My mom was sobbing, and she shook so hard. The medics began to surround my little sister, still unconscious. There was blood, a lot of blood. The air was heavy with its metallic taste, mixed with the rotting stench of fear and horror. I had no clue what to do. I sat there on my knees, and rocked back and forth, forgotten. I can’t remember if I cried. I assume I did. The grass seemed so bright, so aching. The trees swam before me and the sun beat down so hard I could feel its rays pushing me into submission. A helicopter landed and flew my sister to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. My parents drove away. I was left alone in our home with my other sister, where we tried to pretend things weren’t as bad as they really were.

It’s been three years, and I still thank God every day for saving her life. She is far from recovered, but she’s alive. A month spent in a drug-induced coma, several spent living at DuPont. Brain damage doesn’t heal easily. I lived with my grandparents for some time, while my mom and dad alternated living at the hospital, sleeping on a chair by the windowsill. I started seventh grade without half my family. At school, people asked questions I didn’t want to answer, or didn’t have the answers to. Friends of the family bought us our school supplies, and, in wishful thinking, bought my little sister some as well. They sat there on the kitchen counter, in their plastic bag, a painful reminder of what should not have been.

The day she came home, there were plenty tears and hugs to go around. I distinctly remember her stepping out of the car, with the aid of my mom, and just looking around at everyone gathered there. Swim team members, classmates, and relatives, looked onward expectantly. Her face was blank.

She has come such a long way from that day. A freshman this year, she’s worrying about the normal things, like what to wear, friends, and boys. She’s my little miracle, the one I give a huge hug to, just to make sure she’s there. I think the band Counting Crows said it best with, “You don't know what you've got till it's gone.” Every day that she’s here with me and my family is another miracle. That trail ride, those years ago, signified an ending for me. It was the end of my naïve innocence, and my invincibility. Life is so fragile, and nothing but fate can preserve it.

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