Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Survivers Day Marcus

30 years ago today my brother Marcus and I decided we wanted to go to church revival with my Grandparents. We lived in Cartersville at the time and the revival was at my Uncle's church in Powder Springs. The drive was a good 45 minutes - to an hour.

My brothers and I were always in church. If my parents didn't take us, my grandparents did! We lived next door to my grandparents and so, for them, taking us places was sometimes a must. Any time we heard their car crank all of us kids would rush over to see if we could go. Those days - the early 70's - are some of the best memories of my life.

(My Granddaddy and Mammy in Lakeland, FL at church camp)

My grandparents were my world. I was the first grandchild to Tom and Sarah Martha Chapman and they were my neighbors. I would sometimes sneak over to their house have my Mammy call my mom to see if I could come over. It is so funny -- now, I live ne

I would sell Avon with my Mammy. I wanted to be so much like her. She was a Saint in my eyes. She taught School, was president of the Women's Missionary Society, and a friend to everyone. She taught me how to sew on my Holly Hobbie sewing machine, how to crochet, and how to cross stitch. In the fall she would sit up all night with me when I had bronchitis and nurse me with a honey and lemon concoction and a peppermint stick. She was a prayer warrior. How many times did I hear her call my name while she was on her knees talking to God?

My Grandaddy gave me his love. He also gave me his love of collecting writing pens, coins from his collection, and his ability to carry on a conversation with anybody!

But, 30 years ago my family's lives changed dramatically.
My mom was pregnant with my youngest brother, Thomas. She was with her best friend who was home recovering from surgery when she got the call that her parents and two of her children were involved in a car accident.

Just a little over halfway to our church revival, a woman who had her three children with her in her car, reached to the backseat for her purse and ran a stop sign. She t-boned us on the driver's side.

In 1981, seatbelts were not mandatory. So none of us were wearing one. We were riding in a two-door blue pinto station wagon. It had two bucket seats, a middle row, and at flat bed in the back.

(Me at a wedding with my grandparents, me with my grandaddy and brother Robby - I was always with them.)

I was sitting in the center of the middle row and Marcus was playing with his little cars in the back. When I woke up after the accident, I remember trying to get out of the car. Someone down the road had heard the accident and came running out and gave me a sweater before I passed out again.

When the ambulances finally got to the scene they put me in the front seat beacuse I was not hurt as bad and put my Grandaddy in the back. I think that Marcus was in the back, too. I remember trying to jump out of the ambulance because I could not figure what was going on.

When we arrived at the hospital, I was able to give the doctor my home phone number and they finally got in touch with my Dad. Dad hurried to picked up my Mom and they drove to the hospital.

When my parents arrived they were told that Marcus and I were going to be okay, but that my Grandaddy was in serious condition. My Mom could not find any information on my Mammy. Finally, after much asking, a woman coldly told my mom that she was dead. WOW! What compassion! Such a gentle way to learn your mom had passed away!

My Grandaddy had broken all the major bones in his body but was still alive. Marcus needed some stitches in his head because his head had gone through the side window and the metal rim had wrapped around his neck.

I stayed in the hospital for a few days. I remember crying so much and thinking how my Mammy had been making me an Easter dress. Now, I wouldn't have one for Easter Sunday. But a very sweet lady from our church bought me one and brought it to me at the hospital.

After many tests I was released to go home. Weeks later, it was found that Marcus had glass in his head and was having some bleeding. Thankfully, that issue was addressed and taken care of.

On April 14, seven days after the accident, my Grandaddy went to be with Mammy (and Jesus). My entire world changed in one week. I guess that was some big stuff for a ten year old.

My grandparents were my world.

But, because of that accident, a man that was keeping my cousins so my uncle could be at the hospital, accepted Jesus after seeing how - as a family - we were able to get through the tragedy.

Marcus is now the lead High School teacher at a Christian school, the Associate Pastor and Youth Pastor at our church -- the exact same church we headed to for that revival.

I work the multi-media at the same church.

God welcomed home two saints that week long ago, but also spared two lives...(and four lives in the other car). I even ended up in a highschool class with one of the girls in the wreck and she never knew it.

Here I am now, so much like my Mammy and talking so much like my Grandaddy!

PS... I am so proud of my mom!! She has endured so much heartache! She is the strongest woman I know and I am so blessed to be her daughter.
What a legacy they have left!! I miss them so much.


  1. I am so thankful that I have you and Marcus in my life. You mean the world to me and, although I may mot understand God's hand in taking your grandparents, I thank Him everyday for choosing to leave you and Marcus here for us. I love you dearly...

  2. And I could not be happier that Marcus has you!! Just remember I loved you first!!

  3. wow i never knew that.... just want you to know that i love every one of you Butlers! and i couln't be happier that jen married Marcus Butler! Love you Tara!

  4. Wow! I've heard references to the accident, but never exactly what happened. Thanks for sharing. Your family is pretty amazing!

  5. What is sad is that Marcus remembers the whole accident and I only remember bits and pieces from going in and out of conscienceness. For years I lived with guilt of not knowing how I got out of the car. I was so scared that me trying to get out of the car that I was the one that hurt my Mammy. The car was only two door and I had to get out of the back.

    I am so thankful for my family and support!!! I have an awesome family!

  6. I wish I had words to honor this the way it should be, tara this is the most beautiful meaningful post I have ever read. I am honored that you linked it up on my site. You are such a blessing, glad to have you in my life

  7. Oh my goodness, Tara. I have known about the accident but never the details. I am writing this with tears running down my face.
    So thankful you and Marcus came through that terrible ordeal and I'm amazed at Martha Ann's strength. Only by God's great grace.