Before and After, Day 2: The Search

(Start “Before and After” series HERE)

Collin Hanson (red jacket) at the search site

I remember a few vignette’s from the day, but very little of how I felt. Mostly I was numb.T he possibilities were too terrible to contemplate.

I wake up – How did I sleep – denial?

I am to facilitate a small conference call at 9:00 am, but I put off canceling it -surely he will be found by then.

Everything will be OK and we can get back to our lives. 

1:00 pm comes and I start the call,  but after fifteen minutes tell them I can not continue.

Donna in Virginia suggests I send an email to tell the Exec Level leaders so they can pray. I hate to tell them. I don’t want to “bother” them.  What that really means is calling others to ask them to pray lends too much reality to the seriousness of the situation.

I do call Patty Hanson – and it is the first she knows about it. She has been was wondering why Carol was not on her Monday Leader Call this morning. Patty & Collin, Gordon & Carol are good friends and he Collin immediately gets his gear together goes to join the search team. He is an EMT and it comforts me to know Collin will be there, searching for my brother. Leslie emails me to cancel our long – awaited scrapbooking day, scheduled for tomorrow and  I wonder why – after all, surely he’ll be found. What does she know that I don’t know?

Everything will be OK and I can get back to my life.

Around 1:30 PM, I am sitting in the living room in my favorite rocking chair when my cell phone rings and caller ID reads “Gordon L.” Excitedly I answer.
I picture him on a stretcher, being cared for, calling to tell me everything is OK and we can resume our life.  I am going to yell at him . . .Tell him he has scared me to death. And NEVER do that EVER again.

But it isn’t Gordon..

It is Paul – using Gordon’s phone.  There is no  good news.  The search team is coming he tells me.  What is taking so long?

It is over a year before I even allow myself to think of that phone call. I was afraid if I started to think about it, I would start to cry and never stop.

Patty Hanson goes to the search site to be with Carol and I am relieved. Late in the afternoon I talk to Sharon Wood, good friend of Carol and Gordon.  She will become Carol’s ROCK. She is one of the kindness peopleI know and hearing her voice is comforting. She is sure God simply needed some time alone with Gordon.  And that he will be found and have a wonderful story to tell.

Yes, everything will be OK and we’ll get back to our lives!

Someone suggests calling the prayer team at church.  Again, I hate to do it – makes it too real, but I call.  I am glad others are praying because I feel too numb to pray.  I know God can intervene. I also know sometimes he lets circumstances play out to their “tragic end.” Will this be one of those times?

I still expect Him to intervene,  but I feel more numbness than peace. Perhaps it is God’s way of keeping me from coming apart.

I can’t talk to Carol because her cell phone doesn’t work at the search area.  The day wears on. I hear that the search team has arrived by mid afternoon.

Yes, everything will be OK and we’ll get back to our lives! .

By evening, we are making plans to bring Mom and Dad here with us. Galen makes all the arrangements.
What would we do without him?
What will we do without Gordon?

What about mom. She has been so sick, just recently out of the hospital.
Surely this will still end well.

Everything will be OK and we’ll get on with our lives.

The evening wears on. We hear that he has to found by midnight or they will suspend the search until morning.  (as it turns out, that is not true, the team is determined to search until they find him.)  I go to bed sometime before midnight. We are all exhausted.

The phone rings at midnight.  (11:00 Montana time.)
Carol tells us he has been found, “slightly hypothermic, but he will be ok.”

See, I knew it. Leslie didn’t need to cancel our time together tomorrow
I lay back down and I go to sleep thinkingm “my crazy brother . . .”

See, things ARE OK and we can get back to our lives.

As I look back, I realize I did not have great feelings of elation.
The whole thing had been so unreal, even the “rescue” didn’t feel real.
But I sleep until 4:30 a.m. when the phone rings again.

continue reading as the story unfolds HERE in “Day 3”


2 Replies to “Before and After, Day 2: The Search”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *