Strength To Carry On9 Sep 2011
The Coble family was a typical American family, living in California, living out their dream. But in an instant, their world came crashing down around them, changing their lives, forever.
While Chris Coble was at work, as a software engineer, Lori Coble, who was now a stay-at-home-mom, took their three children to a local shopping mall, along with her mother.
The Coble's eldest son, Kyle, just turned 5 years old, the previous day, 3rd May 2007, so Lori wanted to take the kids somewhere fun to continue the celebration. The particular shopping centre that they went to had a ferris wheel and other rides for them to play on. Lori enjoyed watching her three beautiful children, Kyle, 5, Emma, 4 and Katie, 2 and a half, playing and giggling together.
Lori decided that it was time to head home, as it was nearing closer to nap-time for the children. With Lori behind the wheel, they began driving home on a major freeway in California, they came to a stretch of freeway that was typically banked up near their exit, so Lori began to slow down.
Lori turned around to glance at her precious children, Kyle was playing on his new computer game that he got for his birthday, Emma was watching a movie, and Katie was dozing off to sleep. Lori squeezed Katie's toe to wake her, since they weren't far from home, she wanted her to be able to sleep more soundly, once she was in her own bed. That's the last thing Lori remembers...
Without warning, a large truck, travelling at around 100 km/h, carrying 40,000 pounds of electrical equipment, came slamming into the back of the Coble family's minivan, striking the back seat, where all three children were seated. During the impact, Lori was knocked unconscious, but her mother, Cindy, who sustained broken ribs, remembers the whole incident.
The two youngest girls Emma and Katie, died almost instantly, just moments apart from each other, Kyle, clinging to life, was rushed to one hospital, while Lori was taken to another with a severe concussion.
Chris was called at work and told to come to the hospital, but wasn't given any further information. When he arrived, the doctor advised him that both of his little girls had passed away. With Kyle lying in another hospital, alone, in a critical condition, Chris rushed to see him. His eyes were partially open, but doctors said that his brain wasn't receiving any oxygen and advised that they turn the life support system, which was keeping him alive, off.
Chris wanted both him and Lori there, for Kyle's last moments on earth, so arrangements were made for Lori to be transferred to where Kyle was. They sat together, with their son, while he took his last breath, with Chris's hand on Kyle's chest, feeling the last beat of his little heart, before he slipped away, to join his little sisters in heaven.
The driver of the truck, 37 year old, Jorge Miguel Romero, was charged with vehicular manslaughter, and sentenced to 364 days in prison, and five years probation, during which time he wouldn't be allowed to drive commercial trucks.
Jorge was allegedly speeding and talking on the phone at the time of the crash. Jorge, who had driven along the same stretch of freeway for the whole week, would've been aware of the usual traffic jam that was likely to occur, where the accident happened. It has been reported that with today's pressure for truck drivers to get their delivery's done on time, they are driving for more hours, without sufficient sleep, than they should be. With claims that some truck drivers are even doctoring their driver log books, so it looks like they've stopped and taken mandatory rest breaks, when they haven't.
Stricken with grief, Chris and Lori didn't want to go on, but through their pain, made a pact not to leave each other. Three months since the family tragedy, Chris and Lori decided to try again for a baby, as they always wanted children, and now having none, was just too strange for them.
After their youngest daughter Katie was born, they decided that they weren't going to have any more children, and took steps to ensure there would be no more pregnancies, so in order to conceive again, they required assistance via in-vitro fertilisation, which proved successful in the first month.
Almost exactly a year, to the day, since the tragic loss of the Coble's three little angels, Lori gave birth to triplets, two girls and a boy. They feel so blessed to have had a second chance, with three new little miracles. Chris and Lori named the triplets, Ashley, Ellie and Jake, and as a tribute to their older late sibling's, they each have one of their older brother and sisters' names as a middle name.
Lori and Chris say that the triplets will never replace their first born angels, but will certainly give them something to look forward to in the future, and believe that they were heaven sent, with a little help from Kyle, Emma and Katie. They are also working hard to get a law passed, that will require trucks to be equipped with on-board computers, which will record their moves, in hopes to avoid tragedies like this in the future.
This isn't one of my typical ‘disability' stories, but it does show you the incredible courage that is possible after such tragic circumstances. No matter how bad life is in the present, there is always an opportunity for it to improve. Time doesn't heal all wounds; it's what you do with that time that will give you healing, so make the most of it while you can.
I urge you to watch the Coble's story that was featured on Oprah; it's a four part series that captures the strength and determination, of this family, and the ability to carry on.
Please copy and paste the following links into your internet browser to watch their story from their own words.