Stories

One Second

Ben & Ashley, and one second that changed their lives

CaringBridge was the breath of air that we needed after being trapped underwater.

One second.

That’s all it took.

In one second, the life that I loved was turned upside down and shaken out on to the cold, hard ground.

Ben, my boyfriend of 7 years, and I were ready to start planning our life. But on the morning of October 4, 2013, a car flew through the median at speeds over 70 mph and hit Ben’s Jeep head-on as he was heading to work, leaving him clinging to life on the highway.

Ben was in a coma for a month. He underwent countless surgeries, moved through two hospitals and one rehab facility where he had to relearn everything – how to walk, talk, eat, smile, all of the simple things that you and I take for granted. Ben has made incredible strides since that horrible day.

To hear a doctor tell you “this is as good as he may get” while he was lying in a coma only moving one finger, to watch him now laugh, sing, volunteer, ride his bike and prepare to drive, is a remarkable feeling.

I Remember Every Moment

Some say the first minutes, hours and days following a traumatic event can be a blur. Not for me. I can remember every single part of that day.

Everything from the gut feeling that woke me up that morning, falling to my knees in tears after getting the call from Ben’s mom informing me of the accident, the drive to the hospital, the agonizing wait to hear if he’s alive, the steps I took as I walked into his ICU room for the first time and seeing him so broken with machines, tubes and wires attached to him.

And I remember the moment I turned to CaringBridge.

Ben’s CaringBridge website came to fruition on the same day as his accident. The concerned calls, texts, emails and social media messages from loved ones were all incredibly overwhelming. There we were, trying to grab hold of the severity of our reality and going through the spectrum of emotions, while trying to explain to our support system what had happened, was exhausting.

The suggestion to start a CaringBridge website came from my mom. It took me almost 5 hours to complete the first post. Because Ben’s injuries were so complex, translating his condition to our loved ones outside of the four hospital walls was a difficult task that I never imagined I would have to do.

CaringBridge served us our original purpose – to get the word out – but it also quickly turned into so much more than that. CaringBridge became a community.

We connected with doctors, nurses, therapists and first responders who helped Ben along the way. We browsed other stories for answers and glimmers of hope. And we shared our story with those who were just starting the long journey known as traumatic brain injury recovery – encouraging them to keep their face to the sun.

We Were Not Alone

Guestbook posts, comments and page views from friends, family and complete strangers – they were a constant reminder that we were not alone in this fight. CaringBridge was the breath of air that we needed after being trapped underwater. If this tool did not exist, I am certain we would not be where we are today. The site is a necessary part for any traumatic event and health journey.

Many CaringBridge journeys don’t end like ours. The first days felt as though we were at the bottom of a canyon with no way out. And although some days were better than others – we have continued to climb the cliff toward a complete recovery.

And for that, I am thankful. I am thankful Ben is alive. I am thankful for the support we’ve received. And I am thankful CaringBridge was front and center carrying us through our crisis.

Nearly every 7 minutes, a new Caringbridge website is created. Please consider making a gift to CaringBridge – your donation will help families like ours feel not so alone in their fight.

Comments (7)

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Rana Arifud Doula Aug 14, 2015 3:33am
An amazing experience to read the story. Of Ben and her girl Friend Ashley. She did a great job to give caring & support during Ben's hospital days, when Ben was in life and death situation, fighting for survival. A friend in need , is a friend indeed! My hats off to Ashley. Ben you are lucky to get, so good friend. Rana Arifud Doula Skype: arifud.doula Date: Aug. 14th, 2015
Elisha DeWitt Aug 13, 2015 7:50pm
This Story really broke me into tears, I will be keeping Ashley & Ben in my thoughts & prayers! God Bless you Both & may you have the angel's protection over you both & your Family.. Please check out my page on here :)
Jeanne Webb Jun 20, 2015 11:15am
Ashley & Ben ~ Kristin shared your newest summer CaringBridge endeavors and I was anxious to catch up on your lives. I'm not sure we ever actually met but I know you, Ashley, as one of Kristin's Omaha Royals & Stormchasers baseball buddies :-) I was actually in Omaha having lunch with Kristin when she first learned about Ben's accident. Hearing the news about Ben and the uncertainty for all of you was heartbreaking for her. She mentioned your CaringBridge site that she was following and right away I also started following Ben's journey through your amazing posts. Ashley, you made every emotion so real through your detailed writing. You are both truly an inspiration of faith, love and commitment! Stay strong! Life is fragile ~ handle with prayer. Jeanne Webb (Kristin's mom)
Holly Tuell Jun 18, 2015 6:22pm
CaringBridge is incredible!!! I have a friend who is going through cancer and innovative treatment, and it is so awesome to be able to share his journey, and offer encouragement on a daily basis. It has meant so much to him to see how many of his friends and relatives are walking the journey with him, and the words of support and love are a fabulous thing for him. I donated to CaringBridge, and it would be my hope that every person who hears this story of your journey with Ben, will take the time to donate. If everyone did, just imagine what that could do!!! God bless you, Ashley and Ben....and may your lives be everything you wish for!!!
Shirlee Himes Jun 17, 2015 8:21pm
Ashley and Ben, GOD Bless the both of you for coming so far through your journey..There are so many that would of walked away from something like this because it was too much for them to take..Ashley the support you have for Ben is amazing. My heart tells me that he will be as good as new ..I think CaringBridge is a wonderful place to be when something like this happens...As for donating, it was my pleasure just to know that it went for a fantastic cause and would be helping someone that really needed the help..Ben, sending prayers your way for a speedy recovery...
Kathleen Conner Jun 17, 2015 7:39pm
I will keep both of you in my prayers. I know how hard it is to see your loved one attached to all those machines! I will keep you and your family and friends in my thoughts and in my prayers to my Heaven Father!
Deb Hopp Jun 17, 2015 11:36am
Having the opportunity to follow Ben and Ashley's journey, all of us at the magazine know how critical the Caring Bridge site has been to everyone who loves and cares about this remarkable couple. What you have just read is not even the tip of that particular iceberg, an iceberg we continue to watch melt way drip by happy drip. Thanks, Ash, for the lovely post.