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  • Writer's pictureTim Maylander

What Really Matters

Updated: Jan 13

*The above photo is royalty-free stock and not a picture of the accident described below.

I still have the voicemail on my phone. See, that day I was charging my FitBit, so I wasn't getting wrist notifications like I usually do, and I had my phone set to vibrate as per standard Millennial procedure. So I had missed the call from the Emergency Room, as well as five or six calls from my Uncle. It took just a quick glance at my call history to know I had missed something major, and the transcription of the voicemail confirmed it:

"Hi Timothy, this is Rachel, a social worker in the Emergency Room. If you could please give me a call back my direct number is..."

With my wife holding my hand I called back. My parents had been in a serious auto accident and were in the ER. Dad was still in surgery. Mom was being treated. With hesitation I asked how bad it was. Pretty bad, Rachel replied. I asked if they thought I should get there right away. It wouldn't be a bad idea, Rachel said. I asked if dad was going to make it.

"I don't know" was the answer I got.

My next call was to my Uncle letting him know I got in touch with the hospital and making sure he would be there for my folks until I could get there. The next call after that was booking the airline tickets, but of course by that time it was too late in the day to get a same-day flight, so leaving the next day had to suffice.

That gave me more time than I wanted to think. Sometimes thinking is a good thing. When you've got an important decision to make, you should always think it through, getting as much information as you can in the process. The problem with a crisis though is that either a) there is no time to think, you need to act or b) all you can do is think because there is nothing to act on.

Given that I now had 16 hours before my flight left and my wife was arranging people to pick me up from the airport because she didn't want me to be alone or driving (thank you, love), I was definitely in the second category. With her holding my hand and hugging the tears away, I began to think about what really matters to me.

My family was at the top of the list. Really, my family & friends (who are akin to family for me) are the list. Sure, my new business was important to me, my volunteering for Meals on Wheels matters and I have hobbies like board & video games that I enjoy. But the things I love with my whole heart are my wife, my fur baby kiddos, and extended family & friends.

Time passed and I was able to talk to Mom that night, and for the first (and probably last) time in my life I actually knew more than her because she was a patient and therefore couldn't get immediate updates on Dad like I could. I let her know I'd be there as soon as I could and Mary & I loved her with everything we had.

Also that night Dad had brain surgery, and I found out in the morning it had gone as well as could have been expected. He was obviously still sedate and unresponsive, so there was no way of knowing his outcome.

After the flight over, the best man at my wedding picked me up from the airport I flew into and drove me the two hours to the hospital. There, I was met by one of my best friends who did a reading at my wedding and her husband, who was also a groomsman. It was a somber reunion, and there were tears shed amongst anxious glances and small talk that we all knew was irrelevant.

I saw mom, and although I couldn't give her a big hug because of her injuries, she knew instantly how much I loved her and how relieved I was to see that she was mostly okay. Her process will be a mobility-based one, and I'm planning on being there every slow step of the way for her.

I got to see dad, too, and that was the hardest. He was hooked up to a vent, not yet able to breathe on his own, and he looked... well, he looked like he had just been hit by a truck (which in his defense, he had). His head was still heavily bandaged and his leg was cast; he had broken his tibia in addition to the skull fracture.

Getting Mom to see Dad (which took multiple days due to my mom's blood pressure issues) has made this miserable process bearable so far. She absolutely glowed when she got to see him and hold his hand (I prepared her for what to expect).

Mom has improved to the point where she's at a Skilled Nursing Facility now, getting the therapy she needs to eventually return home. Dad has gone from opening his eyes to non-purposeful movement (shivering, etc.) to purposeful movement to responding to basic commands to limited speech. He recognizes mom, Mary & myself, and although he's not back to 100 percent or even 50 percent yet, he's still my Dad and has given some of his "dad-isms"/one-liners. He's still in the hospital and will be for some time.

As for what all of this means for the business? I don't know. For the foreseeable future I'll be taking care of my folks, and while I can blog/work on my website from afar, I can't construct my studio or record demos where I'm at. Needless to say, things are on hold for Maylander Vocal Productions at the moment. But I'm taking care of what really matters, and I appreciate all of your love and support as I do.

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