Kiara and I met in Boston years ago. We were young mothers in our early twenties. She had a one-year old daughter and I had a two-year old son. We didn’t have cars and often wondered if we would reach the end of the month with food on the table. But we were healthy and always cheerful, particularly Kiara who could make any one laugh. By snow, rain or sunshine, we pushed our toddlers’ strollers to the bank, the supermarket or the post-office. We were neighbors and stay-home moms but I was also preparing a master degree in chemistry. Kiara often took my son to play with her daughter to allow me a couple hours of freedom to study in peace. We finally bought houses and moved away from the building. Each one of us had a second child and later my husband was transferred to Ohio. We would visit at Christmas time.

I had unlimited phone calls at work and regularly called Kiara on Tuesday afternoon for our weekly chat. When the phone rang and rang on that fateful day without anyone answering, I thought one of her kids had an emergency. I called later, again and again. I called the next day and the day after. Five days later I learned from a friend who still lived in Boston that Kiara had been in a bad accident and was in a coma at Mass General Hospital. My heart sank and I was in denial. I called her home late at night. Around midnight her twenty-year old son answered. He was crying as he told me the accident story.

I heard the nightmarish words: semi truck, drunken driver, wrong direction, head on collision on passenger side, crash. The car went under the truck. It was so collapsed they had to saw the car top to remove Kiara. It was a miracle that her son survived with only bruises. Kiara had no pulse. The paramedics had to resuscitate her. They moved her to the hospital by helicopter.

Kiara remained in the coma for three weeks while we prayed and prayed. Her injuries were extensive, broken leg, broken arm, collapsed lungs, fractured bones in the face and forehead, a hole in her forehead,… She stayed in the hospital for three months. The doctors performed a dozen surgeries. I was allowed to visit her when she finally went into rehab and had a shock when I saw her. She was wearing a boot to support her left leg, had a cone covering her right eye, a hole in her neck to allow feeding. She couldn’t smile or talk long because of the wires in her face. And we learned the terrible news. Kiara had lost the nerves in her right eye and would never be able to see with the right eye. But she was alive. After six months of therapy, she started the painful task of leaning to live again.

Ten years later, we both moved to Florida and she’s my neighbor again. Kiara has blocked out the details of her accident and never talks about it, but she often recalls the fringe benefits it brought her. Having undergone so many surgeries on her face, broken nose and jaws, she looks younger than before her accident, wears dark fancy glasses day and night, dresses in the latest fashion,… She drives, goes to the gym regularly, is on the Board of Directors of her building, has learned to knit and read all my books.

Kiara’s sense of humor is intact or has even amplified as she repeats, “I was given a second chance. I can’t afford to mess it up. We have to laugh and enjoy every minute of our lives.” She often throws lavish parties as she did last night and considers the anniversary of her accident her real birthday. “I was born again that day.”

Mona Risk writes romantic suspense for Cerridwen Press: TO LOVE A HERO and FRENCH PERIL and medical romance in the genre of ER and Grey's Anatomy for The Wild Rose Press: BABIES IN THE BARGAIN and Rx FOR TRUST. All books are available at Amazon.com

18 comments

  1. Nita // December 11, 2009 at 12:25 PM  

    What an amazing woman and friend to you. You are both blessed.

  2. Mona Risk // December 11, 2009 at 12:28 PM  

    Thank you Nita. I will tell her.

  3. Mary Ricksen // December 11, 2009 at 12:37 PM  

    What a touching story Mona, I am so glad your friend made it. She is amazing and her strength is an inspiration.
    You made me misty eyed.
    You must be proud of her and so glad to know her. Mostly you learned from her. And thank God you still have her in your life.

  4. Mona Risk // December 11, 2009 at 1:22 PM  

    Mary, I learned every day something new from each one of my many friends. :) wink

  5. Beth Trissel // December 11, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

    Mona, dear, what an amazing story. It gave me chills and goosebumps. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Mary Marvella // December 11, 2009 at 1:42 PM  

    Mona, I loved that story! We sometimes miss miracles when they happen, but I see one huge one for you and for your friend.

    We must not let ourselves lose track of our friends.
    Mama Mary

  7. Joanne // December 11, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

    Mona,
    What a beautiful tribute to an amazing friend. You are both blessed.

  8. traveler // December 11, 2009 at 2:46 PM  

    Thank you for this amazing story about your friend and this enduring friendship. Kiarra certainly has determination and the love of life.

  9. Scarlet Pumpernickel // December 11, 2009 at 4:59 PM  

    Amazing story of a very courageous woman! You are both bless to be neighbors again. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Mona Risk // December 11, 2009 at 6:49 PM  

    Hi Beth, aren't the true stories the most difficult to believe?

  11. Mona Risk // December 11, 2009 at 6:51 PM  

    Hi Mary, I mentioned to my friend that I wrote this blog. She stopped by and said she started crying while reading.

  12. Mona Risk // December 11, 2009 at 6:54 PM  

    Hi Joanne,

    It's difficult to have friendships surviving that long but I am glad ours did. She and her husband came with us to Florida when we were looking for apartments. Six months later they bought one and settled permanently too.

  13. Mona Risk // December 11, 2009 at 6:55 PM  

    Hi traveler, I am glad you found this blog. I guess we all have a special story of determination to talk about.

  14. Mona Risk // December 11, 2009 at 6:57 PM  

    Hi Scarlet, Kiara shows courage every day. I admire her for driving safely with a one-eye sight.

  15. Barbara Monajem // December 11, 2009 at 7:51 PM  

    What a lovely story, Mona. Thanks!

  16. Lynne Roberts // December 11, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

    What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing, Mona.

  17. Mona Risk // December 11, 2009 at 10:58 PM  

    Barbara, Lynne, thank you for stopping by.

  18. Anjalenna // December 12, 2009 at 1:45 PM  

    It is friends like her that is worth being called a friend indeed. Such a friendship is the connection that God places together. How much more love can one take and you are that link to that love for her...how so very bless you both are!! Thank you for sharing the joy, sadness and the miracle of this dear sister!!