Friday, July 22, 2011

Lucy Survived A Shark Attack, This Is How


Lucy in matching her stripes to those of Bodie lighthouse not far from Nag's Head

 I feel an urgency to get this down and out of my head.  Once again hoping to find repose to replace the reel that replays each time I close my eyes.  This is my third attempt.

[This is how it happened through my eyes]

On the ferry with my four, you can tell they've done this before.

.  Craig had a week of shifts in the ER there.  Tuesday, July 19, he had the day off.  The perfect day to take the ferry over to Ocracoke Island here in North Carolina on the barrier islands we have grown to love as the Outer Banks.  This is the third year we have spent time there each month in the summer.

Lucy, worried to leave us behind, going from the ambulance to the helicopter

Our family of six and some dear friends with their two young kids found the most bucolic beach on this remote island, home to a small fishing village.


We were trying our hand at boogie boarding.  Crystal clear water, the perfect temp, sunny skies,  and waves carrying us in and out of the splendor and depositing us on the shell-scattered sand.  

bravery

Lucy and Hazel were taking a turn on the boards, staying close to the shore.  I was standing maybe 10 feet away watching between them, Craig (further out in the waves), and Avery and Seth playing up near our things in the sand.

waving goodbye, a 4 1/2 hour drive (plus ferry ride) to Greenville, NC ahead of us

When I heard Lucy scream, I turned my head and ran towards her seeing the tail fin, white and grey, of what I immediately recognized as a shark, maybe 4 or 5 feet long.  She was in about a foot and a half of water. 

[At this point it hadn't crossed my mind that she was bit.  I only thought she was afraid and I only wanted to get her and Hazel out of the water]


Those beautiful beautiful toes in the PICU

When I reached her (this is all a matter of seconds) I immediately saw that her leg was completely torn up exposing everything that should never be seen inside her leg.  I began yelling at the top of my lungs to Craig for help.  He came over having only seen the smaller gashes on her foot, not dreaming it had been a shark or that the injury was as extensive as it was.

[My brain was busy trying to convince my eyes that this wasn't really happening and failing from every end in every way]

It did happen.  I knew this because I felt her leg, which I was trying to hold together with both hands, pulsing under my fingertips.  I knew it because I saw the horror on nearby faces that matched the horror in my arms.

Some passersby witnessed the scene and began to help gather our things while our friend, Matt, called the police who dispatched an ambulance.  He handed the phone to Craig who somehow knew the beach exit we had taken.  Exit 72.  Craig then took Lucy in his arms as I continued to hold her leg.  Lucy then sasked her Dad, "Could we say a prayer?"  

My friend Sarah took care of the kids while the three of us stood in prayer, still in our suits. Then, together in the truck and the ambulance but apart in the helicopter, Lucy made her brave way 35 mins by air to the nearest hospital with a level one trauma center in Greenville.  We rushed back to where we were staying, gathered a few belongings and left forgiving friends to clean up after us.  

The quick work of the police, paramedics, and the life flight crew got Lucy from the far end of the earth to a facility that could handle her grave injury.
Lucy, sleeping off the surgery

I sat in the back of the van between Hazel and Seth, Avery just in front of me to my left.  Dr. Gooch fielded phone calls from the front and I, questions from the rear.   So many questions from the rascals.  They asked until sleep overtook them.  Hazel was literally sick to her stomach with fatigue.  Heads began to bob and I cried and cried and cried while they slept.  Not sure what was actually happening.

We pulled in at midnight, met my parents in the waiting room.  They had seen Lucy before she went into the OR.  And she had seen them.  She had her own questions.  Like, how long had it taken for them to drive there (for she flew, you see) and where would they sleep that night...

Seth, Hazel and Avery then went with my parents with bribes of Dollar Tree treats "tomorrow".  Two hours later, we met Lucy's surgeon for the first time and were able to see her.  We felt...so many things, but mostly relief.

Relief that she was there, blinking her tired eyes.  Relief also that she had a leg left to repair. 

 her first swollen faced smile since being gnawed on by a shark 24-hours before

Each trip, after we load the car or climb aboard the plane, we have a prayer with the children.  We pray for our own safety, for the car we are in, and we thank our Heavenly Father for the life we have been given to live.

We are filled with hope as this new story unfolds.  From horror to hope in only a few hours.  Not bad.  I think our prayers have been answered.

There is so much more to tell.  But I am tired and hungry.  And this took me three days.

79 comments:

pintucks said...

Hi - I came over from Katy's blog and I am so sorry you guys have gone through this. My daughter (she's 4) and I are praying for you guys right now and will continue to do so...stay strong and brave mama, and much love and supernatural, divine, miraculous healing to your little girl.

Christy.

The Greys said...

We are so happy that sweet Lucy is all right. What a brave girl. Our prayers are with you.

LCFrohm said...

i have been wondering how ya'll were doing. i sit here in complete and utter disblief.
my heart hurts for you and your family.
prayers continued for your family.

assortedjoys said...

Oh my. What a strong girl, guided and helped by the Lord at each step of this process. She has been in my prayers and will continue to be, as well as the rest of your family. As a mom myself I had tears in my eyes as I read your post - I am sure her young, strong body will heal long before you will be able to get the sight of your little girl in pain out of the back of your mind. Keep writing, take every bit of help that family and friends can offer, and keep praying. We will certainly be praying for you.

hopolios said...

God bless you all. We'll keep praying for all of you. I'm glad she is doing so well.

will

Faun said...

You have been in our prayers since we heard about this. Lucy is such a brave girl. This is just so random.

Ingrid said...

Such great strength and courage fills that Lucy of yours. She is a very special girl, I have always thought so. May you all know how much you are loved. We will continue to pray for sweet Lucy.

annalisa said...

Oh, Jordan. I'm in tears. Lucy is so strong and brave. You are so strong and brave. I love the picture of you smiling at her while the paramedics work on her, keeping her happy and calm in the midst of the chaos. Not many women could stay composed through their own fear. You are a wonderful mother and Lucy is lucky to have you. I'm so glad she is healing. I've been so worried about her. You are in our prayers.

Jeni said...

I cannot imagine how you held it together. Shock? That's the only way I could have. After my shock passed from reading this I thought, "This will be such an awesome story to tell throughout her life. How many can say they so bravely fended off a shark attack, flew in a helicopter without their family and went through surgery at such a young age!?"

TX Girl said...

Lucy is my hero! Loads of prayers coming from us.

FYI best label EVER!

Trainer Momma said...

I've been scouring the internet trying to find more info about Lucy's ordeal. Thank you for the update, although I'm sure it's the last thing you felt like doing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Miss Lucy. Thank goodness for faith, hope, and those docs, yes? :)

Clara said...

Prayers sent your way when I heard the news. You have lived a parent's worst nightmare.

Jeni said...

This is the first time I have cried while reading your blog...let's not have any more reasons for me to cry while checking in on you guys, k? All our love and prayers are being sent your way.

Krisanne said...

Jordan, thank you so much for sharing this story. Writing our stories can be simultaneously healing and painful, I think. Seeing the pictures makes me cry. I am so glad Lucy is ok. So so glad.

Vhari said...

Jordan,

I have been thinking about you constantly over the last few days and praying for you and Lucy and your family. I so wish that I was in Durham so that I could actually be doing more than praying. I loved how Lucy asked if you could say a prayer. What a sweet, faith-full girl and what amazing parents who have taught her where to turn. I love you and your family and I stand ready to help in any way I can. Thank you for sharing your story and teaching me so much from your inspiring example.

madsta said...

I don't know what to say, your all awesome and I'm sending prayers by the bucket.xxx

Arbon Family said...

Lucy - You are so brave and so faithful! We love you. Austin said, "WOW, it looks like Lucy did not even cry, she is so tough". We are so happy your feeling better. You guys are such an amazing family, we love you all!

Robyn said...

Jordan, I came to your blog through my sister Jill. Just want you to know that your Lucy (and all of you) are in my prayers. Thank you for sharing the story- your faith is amazing! Bless your sweet family!

jenifer said...

sending prayers from oregon. we know "He'll strengthen you, help you and cause you to stand".

someday this will be a story you will tell... and today, this moment, He will give you and Lucy everything you need to endure. ugh. sometimes, life is very hard. our thoughts and hearts are with your sweet family.

Kaedi said...

My eyes get misty every time I have seen the headlines on CNN, MSN, ABC, and even the weather.com, so it is no wonder I bawled reading this post. We just love your family, Jordan. We're so grateful for answered prayers, and the protection of a loving Heavenly Father. We will keep praying for sweet little Lucy. Much love to you!!

Dee said...

that 3rd photo, of you smiling wide and true to bolster your scared daughter - even though you're terrified yourself.
to me, that picture defines a 'Mother'.

Dee
X

Randi~Dukes and Duchesses said...

Visiting from Katy's blog. I'm so thankful that you have this story to tell rather than one that could have been so much worse. That sweet child was truly protected that day. Praying that she will have a full and perfect recovery.

Karen said...

I could not agree more with Dee. Praying for your brave little girl and your family...

Erin Bigler said...

Oh my goodness. This is unbelievable, but I believe it. I'm so glad she's safe. Our family will pray for her speedy recovery.

emedoodle said...

Oh my! I just followed the link here from Katy's post... my heart goes out to you guys as you start the road to recovery! You're a strong strong mama and sometimes we're just strong because we have to be.... I'll be praying for you guys!

motherof5 said...

Warmest wishes to you from Australia.
I am going to go hug my babies.
May His love comfort you and give you strength.

About Muno said...

Jordan and Craig-thank you for sharing your story of dear little Lucy. My prayers have been with you and know the power of all the prayers and love com ing your way.
You ARE strong, and all will be well.
Hugs and love to you ~Patsy Darby

B.W. said...

Thank you for posting Jordan! My thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family the last few days! I have been a long time (quiet) follower of your blog and your extended family for a few years now... after reading on Katy's blog about what had happened, I have been "stalking" all of you guys in hopes of finding out how Lucy is doing (it's amazing how attached you can get to people you don't even know through the blog-o-sphere). I am SO thankful to hear that Lucy is doing well considering what happened! I can't imagine how much this has affected all of you guys. I will continue to send many prayers your way as you heal emotionally and physically from this ordeal.

Ann said...

Crazy, crazy, crazy. I couldn't believe it when Kim told me. I've been thinking of you and yours all week and my own girls are so concerned about a Lucy they've never even met before that she fills their prayers. God bless.

dswillis said...

It brings sweet joy to see Lucy's toes, Her leg bandaged and to know she was able to smile. So glad she is on the mend.
You have such an amazing family, your strong faith is such a great example to us all.

Jenny Dahl said...

Holy Moly Jordan. Praying for her and crying with you. Hang in there.

Jody said...

Unbelievable. What a courageous spirit!! We'll say an extra prayer for your family tonight.

ali said...

Sending many warm thoughts to you and your courageous little Lucy. She is a wonder.

buddens said...

I'm sure your head was swimming at the time, but I love that you are so composed in every photo with your daughter as you comfort her. Prayers will be sent your way tonight.

Britney and Kevin said...

Lucy, you are so beautiful. My heart goes out to you! I know you don't know me, but me and your mom have the same Grandpa! :) My oldest daughter is 6, I wish she could meet you. I think you two would have fun! It was wonderful to hear that when everything was happening and you were in pain, your first thought was to pray! (The things they teach us!) Way to go girl! Your story will inspire all! We are praying for you! ;)

jenn said...

My goodness. I am a friend of Olivia and Ben's and I will admit to reading your blog often. This is an unbelievable occurrence! So thankful for the love Heavenly Father had for us, mainly Lucy in this case! Sending thoughts and prayers your way! You are an incredible example of motherhood to me, someone you have never met. Thank you.

jenn said...

*has

Becca said...

Wow, this is a tear-jerker. I'm so happy to hear she survived. Our thoughts & prayers are with you.

Ali Holt said...

Oh my gosh! Just heard the scary story. Saw it on the news but didn't know it was sweet Lucy! We are so proud of Lucy for being so brave! We love your cute family! Keeping you in our prayers. Love the Holt family

Susan said...

My prayers for you and all your family. We also love the Outer Banks. So sad for this to happen in such a beautiful place.

Emily said...

Oh, my goodness. I have never met Lucy but I can tell from the photos that she is probably the bravest girl in the world. And I well up with tears when I think of what you have endured as her mother, watching her suffer and being sick with worry. I am so grateful your prayers have been heard and that her leg will recover. My kids and I have prayed for her today and will continue to do so.

2monkeygems said...

Keeping your family in prayer, what a scary experience for everyone, my heart just went out to dear Lucy as I read your post

michelle said...

Amazing, Jordan. The story, the photos. I can't imagine my little 6-year-old girl going on a helicopter ride without us! Not to mention being bitten by a shark.

A couple of years ago we were swimming in SC and saw those little sharks. My dad was able to get everyone out of the water before the kids noticed and got freaked out. Little did I know how much damage they could cause!

I will pray for you all.

Amanda said...

We live South of the Outer Banks right on the coast and saw this on the news. We will pray for your sweet Lucy. She is so very brave.

kathleen said...

Came from Katy's blog as well. We are praying for little Lucy as well as you. We thank the Lord that the surgery went well. Will pray for continued healing both in leg and the memories of that day.

Mrs.J said...

Came over here from TheDillSpiel, just want you to know I'm sending you prayers. You were very brave, and your girl looks so brave too!

Jessica said...

oh my goodness -- i saw a headline a few days ago about a shark attacking a little girl in the outer banks, but i had no idea it was someone who i (kind of) know from a blog. i'm so sorry this happened and we will keep your family in our prayers.

(you probably don't know who i am, but i'm from new orleans and grew up in the uptown branch. i'm the oldest of the hansen kids if you know my family at all).

Kate Giovinco Photography said...

Praying for Miss Lucy and your entire family, the surgeons, nurses.

Lucy is a brave strong girl with amazing resilience.

Holly said...

Linked here from the Bateman Buzz. I've been following this story on the Today Show this week, but had no idea this sweet girl was a friend of a friend! I'm praying for a continued recovery, and continued miracles for your family and Lucy.

Jessica said...

Oh Jordan! I cried reading this- thinking of Lucy but also the horror you experienced seeing THE shark and not even hesitating to run into the water to save your children then to find Lucy had been bit-makes me shake. I'm so relieved she is recovering and I hope your memories will be gentlex over time. Love you!

Jen said...

OH my heavens. my very worst nightmare...praying for your family!

Annie said...

Oh! This took my breath away. So glad to hear everything's fine. You're right; you never know when those (sometimes, for us anyway, perfunctory) prayers will call down blessings.

Amy Lynne said...

I am so glad she is healing. I am keeping your family in my prayers!

kera said...

i was in & out of sleep the other evening when my husband woke me to say that a little girl had been bit by a shark on okrakoce....we vacation in hatteras and have been to the tiny island many times. being a follower of your blog and reading that you guys have grown to LOVE this little island my mind INSTANTLY went to you. then quickly i thought..."nah what are the chances this happens to be a blog i follow"?? not big at all. just checking in for the 1st time in days and what do you know it WAS YOU GUYS and your sweet lucy. i am SO sorry. i do believe that all things happen for a reason and between you and your sisters you have masses of people following your blogs which equals masses of people praying and praying and praying for you!! i am one of those masses and i am praying. praying for healing of lucy's body but also praying for healing & peace of all of your minds. GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME....IN EVERY MOMENT HE IS THERE! BIG HUGS from chattanooga!!! kera

SuzyMcQ said...

Hi,
Over from Katy's blog as well. Sending tons and tons of prayers and well wishes for your sweet little girl and continued strength and prayers for you and your family as well. You are all so open and giving and you make us all better people with your messages of love and light.

Kelli Henderson said...

blessings and healing to you all. SUCH A BRAVE GIRL!

poppysmocks said...

I'm also over from your sister's blog, and you are all in my prayers.

Jesika Harmon said...

Oh sweet Jordan!! You are so amazing. And so good to record this...even if it is so hard. You have lots of love coming from the Harmon fam in AZ!

Jill said...

Oh Jordan, I just can't even imagine really living this situation! It sounds like you all came through it beautifully (and with photos!) but I have tears in my eyes as I read this. I'm so glad she is okay!!

Melanie Anne said...

Jordan,
I am so sorry to hear about your sweet Lucy's injury!! What a brave little girl and Momma! It sounds like you were watched over and there were some beautiful miracles!I will keep your family in my prayers! Lots of Love from Tennessee!

Lizzy said...

I can't imagine going through this Jordan! I am so sorry! So glad sweet Lucy is recovering. You all will be in our prayers!

XOXO
Lizzy

Andrea said...

Oh. My. GOSH!!!! I picked an interesting time to peruse your blog. I could not believe what I was reading. I am so relieved that Lucy is okay. I will keep her in my prayers for a speedy & complete recovery. Hang in there Jordan:)

Susannah said...

Thinking of you and your family!!

Just Coco said...

Hey Jordan-
It's been a while since we've talked... Stacie Lythgoe told me about Lucy's shark attack. So scary. July 19th is not my favorite day.... it's the day Mitch passed.
Glad Lucy is going to be ok and her leg will recover. Tough time... Lucy is pretty amazing to forgive that shark so fast! :)
Elizabeth Menlove Thomas

abby said...

I am in disbelief that this happened to you and your sweet girl. I'm so glad she's doing well!

chaksmix said...

I stumbled upon and have been following your blog for about 6 months. My family is preparing to go to OBX this weekend, and we heard of this little girl who was attacked by a shark. I logged in today and was shocked it was you!

My prayers with your lovely family for a healthy and speedy recovery.

Enjoying this beautiful life we've created said...

Hi there. Although I'm not a follower, I've read your blog for well over a year now and love it! I also live here in NC and recently heard of the "shark attack" I did't read into it or watch it on the news though, because I didn't want it to make me scared to go back to the beach, which I only live about 12 miles from. As I pulled up Yahoo this morning the sweet face of your little Lucy popped up and I immediately recognized her! I just wanted to tell you that I'm happy to see she is recovering just fine. What a brave little girl you have =)

the wrath of khandrea said...

remarkable story. i have taken such an interest in it as we were vacationing nearby at the same time. a friend posted a link to your blog on hers today, and i was surprised to see it was the same story.

so glad your daughter is on the mend, and things ended well. small and mighty miracles.

Jen said...

We are praying for you!

oh said...

I read your posts about your frightening event. I was in tears from the horror you went through and full of gratitude for the blessings you received.
You are a beautiful writer, and I wish your family the very best from down here in Texas!

Mindy said...

I saw your story on Deseret News and from there saw your blog! What a truly amazing amount of faith your little girl has! She must have been taught well by her parents! I know you have angels watching over you and your family. We will keep you in our prayers! Heavenly Father sends us special miracles every day and this is truly one of them! Thank you for sharing your story of bravery and faith. It has truly inspired me! Much love!

The Cook Family said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing with the world! Just more evidence that the Lord is in the details! You are very blessed!

Kellie said...

I have fallen in love with your family through Katy's blog and then Sweat Bread. Your entire extended family is so precious and have made me so homesick for my own.
Know that I am praying for you and your little ones as you recover from this shocking event. May the Peace that passes all understanding replace all of the fear and trauma in your hearts and minds.
Much love from the Arizona desert.
Kellie

Brandon Johnson said...

Thank you for blessing my life with this inspiring story. I can't imagine how hard it would have been to go through an experience like this. I am so impressed with your courage and the courage of your little girl, Lucy, during this ordeal. She is an awesome example of faith and courage and of having a great attitude through a hard thing! I have a six-year old too, and there is so much we can learn from young people. May the Lord bless you and your family with the strength that you need during this time, and may He bless Lucy with continued strength for a full and swift recovery.

Dee said...

I'm a long time lurker. I live in Virginia Beach and this was somewhat local news. I just had to come out of the woodworks to offer my thoughts and prayers to you and your family!

Ali said...

I can't even remember whose blog was whose and how I came about to read about your brave little girl. An incredible story of bravery on both parts. I love the comment above that said they loved the (3rd?) pic of you smiling down at your daughter whilst being totally terrified yourself and how that defines being a mother. I completely agree.

Hugs from Ireland for Lucy to have a speedy recovery.

Britta said...

I keep coming back to your blog and am so touched by how you write about your family. Although it may be hard sharing tragedy and sacred details, I appreciate that you're willing to be honest in sharing your "pearls" so I can glean from it. Thank you. Your blog is lovely!

Christie @ A Lemon Squeezy Home said...

Came here from you sister's blog (Katy). What a touching story, and so scary. Thank goodness everything is going well and the whole nerve thing is amazing. Wow. What a story. I'm so happy for your family and how things are going, and am reminded once again how wonderful Heavenly Father is!!

tfeffer786 said...

I just read all of Miss Lucy's story. What a brave little girl. I hope she (and your family) continue to heal. You are blessed to have so many caring friends and doctors. God bless.