When I was 13, my parents got divorced and my sister and mother moved to a separate house. My sister, Courtney, was six years younger and I found her to be annoying and spoiled. We had nothing in common, so, instead of going to see either of them, I would go out with my friends.
One night in January of 2006, I got home from work and got a phone call saying my sister was in an accident. I rushed to Primary Children’s Hospital not knowing what had actually happened until I got there. I met my stepfather outside of the room. He told me my sister had been ice blocking and was unconscious. I asked him what ice blocking was and he said, “Ice blocking is when you take a 25-pound block of ice, throw a towel over it, set it on the top of a hill, sit on it and slide down.”
My stepfather, Todd, told me that Courtney and some of her friends had gone ice blocking and at the end of the night, the boys in the group threw the blocks down the hill. They did not see her and one of the blocks hit her in the temple. She fell limp and had been unconscious since then.
I spent a week looking at my sister the right side of her face an ominous black with tiny cuts, her body motionless. She was only 12 years old. I didn’t want to lose her. I began feeling regret for how I didn’t have a close relationship with her. I wished I had spent more time with Courtney and let her know that I loved her. I vowed if she lived, I would talk to her more, take her out, and be there for her. I was lucky because she eventually did wake up and I could uphold my promise.
I began finding time in my schedule; I would call her up and take her for ice cream or come over just to talk. She started calling me to tell me when something worried her or if she was having a good day. I felt great knowing she was comfortable confiding in me. Courtney would ask me to visit because she missed me.
I realized in Courtney’s near death experience how much I took my family for granted. I had never thought about how much they meant to me. Her accident gave me time to reflect. I wanted to make sure my family knew that I loved them. I am glad I had this realization before it was too late. This is why I believe in the importance of making time for family.