Stephanie Weeks of Blacksburg was one of many who sent wishes for recovery last year when a motorcycle accident left me with multiple broken bones, severe facial injuries and a brain injury.
Stephanie, who graduated of Floyd County High School 30 years after I did, contacted me after my release from the hospital and during my trips to the New River Valley Valley for physical therapy and rehab. She told me about an accident she and her husband, Trey, suffered in South Carolina in 2003. The crash left both with serious injuries and Trey had fought back from brain trauma.
Both surprised doctors with their recovery. Their experiences helped me cope with the long comeback road I faced. We talked at length about what it takes to recover.
She wanted to know if I intended to get back on a motorcycle. They did, going to a three-wheeler because of limits to Trey after the 2003 accident, and both loved riding. I said my return depends first on recovery. Balance issues currently keep me form getting a clearance to ride again and if, and when, that is resolved, I will make a decision.
Despite the hardships they faced, both has an incredible optimistic outlook on life. They planned a trip this year to Myrtle Beach, their destination when the accident occurred in 2003.
On Friday, Stephanie was riding with Trey northbound on the U.S. 17 bypass when something happened and the motorcycle went off the road, through the medium and into the southbound lane, colliding with an SUV.
Trey, 42, died Friday, Stephanie, 36, passed in the hospital on Saturday. The two occupants of the SUV were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
When I heard about the accident from Floyd County Sheriff’s Department and pastor Jeff Dalton Saturday, I drove over to Rakes Mill Pond on the Blue Ridge Parkway and sat by the pond with tears steaming down my face. I kept asking: “Why?” They faced the horrors 10 years ago and survived. Why again?
Stephanie talked about the struggles to relearn things that used to be automatic in life. Her face had to be rebuilt, as did mine, and we faced often daunting trials and tribulations of recovery.
Now they are gone. Since coming home from the hospital late last year, I have seen too many friends and acquaintances die without warning and too often without reason. The doctors told my wife that I would probably die from my injuries. They were surprised I didn’t and still express surprise today that I have recovered to the point I have.
Stephanie and Trey were fellow survivors.
Stephanie provided much help and support when it was needed. I hoped to pay her back in some way for that help in the future.
Now she’s gone.
Godspeed Stephanie and Trey. Maybe, someday, I can find a way to help those left behind.
It is a debt I owe to you and one that will be repaid.