Monday, June 15, 2009

A Long and Hard Week

Some of you have heard that we lost two young women from our ward last Tuesday morning. They were part of a group of YCL leaders that were heading up to girls camp a day before the rest of the girls were to go. The ward Beehive leader, Jessica Whipple, the daughter-in-law of President Alma Whipple, was driving her Excursion with four girls in her car, and another car was taking another group up. Jessica blew a back tire just going into Mesquite, which sent her car, full of camp gear, into a sideways skid. It swerved her back into the median and flipped the car 5 or 6 times. Everyone was wearing their seatbelt, except for one of the girls, who is in the hospital now. She was critical all this week until Saturday, and is improving a little each day. She will most likely be in the hospital all summer. Another girl walked away with very few scratches on her left arm. Jessica dislocated her shoulder and is home recovering. But we lost these two girls. Heather was thrown from the vehicle, even with her seatbelt on, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Lysha was kept in the vehicle after it had rolled, but was also pronounced dead. These were girls who had just been in Relief Society opening exercises the Sunday before...Lysha had played our opening hymn, "Choose the Right." The stake decided to still head up to camp, also wanting our grieving ward to go too. We met the night of the accident at the stake center with our bishopric and stake presidency. They asked the girls and their parents if they still wanted to go to camp. They decided that they did, so they took off the next morning, with some of the parents driving their kids up themselves. I, in the meantime, was busy organizing dinner to go into the families, as our RS president was in the hospital visiting our critical girl. We spent every day either preparing food, visiting with grieving families, or preparing for the funeral and luncheon for the families. They ended up having a combined funeral for the girls and a separate luncheon for each family. We enlisted the help of each of our 13 wards for the luncheon and the visitation the night before the funeral, including our sweet singles branch, who provided help in the nursery during the funeral. It was a long, hard week for many people, including myself, but such an outpouring of willing people to help was wonderful. Our ward in mending, Sunday services were teary and spiritual yesterday, but the spirit was definitely there. Some of the girls and leaders talked about camp and how special it was for all. We will miss Heather and Lysha, but they will always be part of us and will be closer than we think.

4 comments:

Karena said...

I'm glad that things are beginning to wind down and that everyone is beginning to recover. That has to be the worst part about being the R.S. President, but I could think of no one better to help the families and the ward to heal after such an ordeal, than you.

Connie said...

Very sad. I hope Jessica and the families are doing well.

Camie said...

My mom told me about this incident. It really brings things into perspective and helps you realize just how fragile life can be. I'm glad that so many people were so willing to jump in and help.

RedefinedPossibilities said...

My heart goes out to you and your ward family. It will continue to be hard the next two months-so hang in there with lots of support and love.