How a Broken Leg Filled our Hearts with Love


-by Tracey Shepherd

Four kids screaming with horror and running towards my back door are a vision and sound I will not soon forget.

My children were jumping on the trampoline with neighbor kids when my 7-year old daughter, Harper, snapped both her tibia and fibula (the bones in the lower-portion of the leg) in half. An ambulance rushed us to the hospital. Our next-door neighbor cared for our two older children while we spent the entire night at the hospital, anticipating surgery the next morning. Even though I was exhausted from an emotional day, I didn’t mind that my phone was blowing up with texts from friends and family checking on our girl and offering good wishes and prayers.

Knowing that people were concerned was an encouragement to my husband and me as we comforted our dear daughter in the hospital room that night.

The orthopedic surgeon was able to set the bones in Harper’s leg in place, thus eliminating the need for surgery. We were elated with the good news, but it did not dampen the shock of seeing our little girl in a hip-to-toe cast! After spending the remainder of the day learning to use crutches with a physical therapist, Harper left the hospital in a wheelchair, clutching her crutches and a fierce determination to get home.

As we drove up to our house, the first thing we noticed was a huge “GET WELL” sign with colorful balloons tied to our fence. Some of our friends had taken a poster-board to school that day to have all of Harper’s schoolmates sign it. We carried a very happy Harper inside the house. Within minutes of walking inside the door, our neighbors – the ones who had taken care of our other 2 kids - brought over a warm homemade dinner with get-well cards.

Harper wasn’t able to return to school for several weeks. During a slow and painful recovery, her “love bank” was full due to constant reminders of love. Her grandmothers flew in from out-of-state to help. Her friends popped over after school with games, crafts, and books. Distant friends mailed her packages. Harper’s darling teacher visited after school one day and brought her favorite frozen yogurt. My list doesn’t stop here… the LOVE shown to Harper (and me) was ENDLESS!

What we may consider a small gesture can mean the world to someone else.

Take a look around you. Is there someone in your life that needs to be touched by an act of loving care? Reaching out to those who need it makes them feel valued and important. An encouraging word, a phone call, flowers, or a handmade card can be just what someone needs to get through a difficult situation.

I’ll always remember the broken leg incident, but I will equally remember how overwhelmingly loved my family felt during that time.

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