I don’t know why I felt the need to call Jonah that Sunday, but I did it anyways. I don’t know why I didn’t think about the consequences or the dangers or why something like this had to happen to someone like Jonah, but it did, and I wish I could understand it. Looking back, I wish I could change a lot of things. I wish I wouldn’t have suggested a Snow Canyon adventure on a Sunday, I wish that when he asked me if it was okay to bring his longboard I would’ve said no, I wish that I wouldn’t have driven him to the top of a hill and let him ride down it without even thinking about what could possibly go wrong, and, above all, I wish with all my heart that this didn’t have to happen to Jonah.
I hadn’t seen Jonah in about a month and I just had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to call him just to see how he was doing. We then made plans to go to Snow Canyon to climb on rocks and whatnot. While we were there, we just had such an incredible time. He was so full of life, and so much like the Jonah we all know and love. The entire time, the boys were doing Australian accents and acting like they were on “Brock’s Nature Show,” and messing around like how boys typically do. We all felt like we were eternally in that moment, like nothing could go ever go wrong, like life was meant to always be fun and full of Jonah’s giggles.
When he asked me to drive him to the top of the canyon and follow him behind in the car, I didn’t think anything of it. We were all just having such a good time and we clearly felt invincible. He started to longboard and he was doing just fine. He was going at a steady speed, leisurely gliding by, but then the hill began to get steeper, his speed picked up faster than anticipated and he began to lose his balance. At the parking lot of the upper galoot, Jonah had completely lost balance and stepped off his board and rolled across the road like a tumbleweed, landing in the brush on the side of the road. He was going so fast and was so completely out of control of his body, like he was just a crash test dummy being abused by the asphalt. He had the worst case of road rash all along his sides and arms and had blood all over his body and right ear. He was choking on his own breath, gasping for any bit of air that he could and wasn’t responding to any of our questions. I had never seen a face so contorted in absolute pain and agony and he couldn’t even tell us what was wrong. I felt entirely helpless.
Fortunately, there are angels and miracles that happen in all situations. Right where Jonah crashed, there just happened to be a group of hikers in the parking lot who rushed over and were able to give him the immediate help that he needed. They were all trained in some way to respond in emergency situations and knew the protocol that had to be taken to ensure Jonah’s safety. None of us had service and we were unable to contact the police from our phones, but they happened to have a radio phone and were able to get him the help that he needed. I know that these men were not there by chance and that God was watching out for Jonah at that moment. If it weren’t for them, I don’t believe that Jonah would have made it out of there as well as he did.
I didn’t really know how to respond to any of it. It was all so surreal. I just kept thinking, “It’s Jonah. He’ll be fine. He’ll snap out of this at any moment,” but the ambulance came, then life flight, then he was strapped to a board, still gasping and unresponsive, and was flown away to the hospital. It all happened so fast and it simply did not feel like real life.
Every time I close my eyes, this scene haunts me. I keep seeing him being thrown across the road, I keep hearing his choking breath, I see his face, twisted in pain and the look of absolute destress and fear on his mother’s face at the hospital, and it all hurts me so much. I felt like this was my fault, that I was making stupid decisions and saying and doing things that I know I shouldn’t have and God was punishing me by hurting Jonah and that I was the one to blame because it was my idea to go in the first place. What I thought was a friendly phone call to an old friend turned into a nightmare for an entire community. I just felt the strongest prompting to call him at that moment and I felt like I was doing a good thing, so I didn’t understand why I had to call him if this was going to be the outcome. I know all of these thoughts are not true, but I can’t help but to feel responsible for this, especially when I see how much pain his parents are in, how many tears his siblings have shed, and how hurt and emotional everyone is. Jonah has effected many people. Everyone loves him so much and I just feel so horrible that I have aided in the cause of their grief.
I just wanted to tell his family and friends, and Jonah as well, that I am sorry that this happened. If I could, I would switch him places. I know that all things happen for a reason, but for that reason I’m not sure. It could take a very long time to manifest itself, but I know that Jonah is going to be okay in the end. One thing for sure is that Jonah certainly knows how to bring everyone together and that God is with him. I have never seen a waiting room so full or a line so long to see someone in a hospital. It just proves how wonderful he is and how much we all need someone like Jonah in our lives. I can’t wait to hear his laugh again and to see his eyes scrunch up when he smiles. So, Jonah, do us all a favor and just wake up already.