words were said but not many...
mainly just "why?" and the such...
i'll keep the very intimate details to myself.
i will, however, share some of what we knew
chase was at a going away party for a friend who was leaving the following week to work as a page for the us senate in washington dc.
chase called home at 7:30 to tell his parents his girl friend's dad had come to pick her up and he would be home in about an hour.
chase was alone in his vehicle, wearing his seat belt, and on his side of the road when the accident occurred between 8pm and 8:30pm.
a 56 year-old man was driving a large pick-up truck traveling in the opposite direction, crossed the center line, and hit chase's car head-on.
the news report and rumors about chase having had a passenger hadn't been accurate. it was the driver of the truck who had had to be cut from the wreckage and flown to the hospital.
i understood that at around 9pm, randy received a call from someone who told him chase had been in a wreck (i don't know how much more information he received at that time).
it was also my understanding that randy called a state policeman (i think a neighbor). the neighbor made some calls then returned randy's call unofficially notifying randy, it was true... chase had been in a head-on collision and had not survived.
chase's parents sat waiting for nearly 3 hours after the accident before there was any type of official confirmation.
when the detective, the coroner, and a state policeman arrived, i gathered katherine, jacob, and barrett. when we walked outside, i saw the three officials walking, heads down, toward the house. they had had to park their vehicles on a different street because there were so many people who had gathered on chase's street (the number of individuals lining the street had probably doubled or tripled in the hour we had been in the house. chase was loved!).
katherine, the boys, and i got into the jeep, and i started the engine. there weren't many people right there in the cul-de-sac, so, i was able to get my jeep turned around in the street's end circle. slowly i drove. the people, mostly kids and friends of chase, respectfully parted allowing me to make my way down the street.
through the tears in my eyes, i recognized many faces but one caught my attention. sarah. sweet, sweet, sarah... there she stood with tears streaming down her swollen face. she had been at our house many times over the years. she, too, had been friends with chase for many years. i stopped and rolled down my window to give her a hug.
bless her heart...
while we were hugging, she saw that katherine was sitting beside me, she asked me to wait there. she went around the front of the jeep to katherine's door. when katherine opened her door the interior lights came on in the jeep.
what happened next was so surreal.
kat and sarah embraced and both began to openly sob. trying to keep a little bit of composure, i looked away from them. when i did so, i noticed that the crowd around us seemed to have all their eyes fixed upon my backseat. the light allowed them to see who was in the vehicle with me.
in slow motion, i turned toward katherine just as sarah noticed over katherine's shoulder that jacob was siting in my back seat. "OH.MY.GOD! OH.MY.GOD!" sarah screamed as she pulled away from katherine. "JACOB! OPEN.YOUR.DOOR!" he did, and sarah grabbed him loudly sobbing, "WE ALL THOUGHT IT WAS YOU! WE THOUGHT YOU WERE WITH CHASE!" sarah held him tightly, and they cried and cried.
everyone around us openly wept...
tears of GREAT sadness...
tears of GREAT relief...
for some reason only God knows, katherine and jacob were tired and had decided not to go to the going away party. hannah had made plans to go out with another friend prior to being invited to the party (so she did not go). finally, barrett had just forgotten about it and had instead chose to stay at home that night. otherwise the five would have likely all been together just as they had been the previous night and the whole day of the horrible tragedy.
love and God's blessings,