Oklahoma Woman Writes Powerful Book About 'Transforming Tragedy'
TULSA, Oklahoma - An Oklahoma wife and mother is using her incredible story of survival to share a very powerful message.
News On 6's LeAnne Taylor met a little girl named Heather at the Alexander Burn Center at Hillcrest 30 years ago. Now they're reconnecting on a story about how Heather's Transforming Tragedy.
It's hard to get a word in with all the chatter around the Meadows family; mom Heather, dad Brandon and 4 very talkative children. There's an energy you can feel when you meet them. But this wasn't the life Heather saw early on.
“I didn't really see happiness in that and the fulfillment of that in my life and I think that's why it was so unexpected as that unfolded for me because I just assumed the sadness I knew as a child would just be my life,” said Heather.
It was April 27, 1988 when then 7-year-old Heather and her 9-year-old brother Jon were on a motorcycle on a patch of road in Wagoner County. It's paved today but back then it was gravel and dusty.
They were behind a pickup and that motorcycle they were on went left of center and hit another pickup head on. Jon died at the scene. Heather's body was on fire.
“I felt like my face was very hot ... and I could see the blur in the flames. You know if you look at a fire you can see the blurriness and I remember someone grabbing me underneath my arms and dragging me back,” said Heather.
Heather was rushed to the hospital with burns over 87 percent of her body.
“My nurses that were able to give me comfort in those scary moments because I think people always picture your family being with you or a parent being with you but they couldn't be so I was alone ... so much ... so very much,” Heather said.
Heather said she was a people pleaser and never wanted to disappoint so after more than 100 surgeries and countless hours of therapy, she fought to live but it was a struggle.
“I had such deep depression but I didn't want people to know that because everybody had labelled me as a strong little girl and they were proud of me and I wanted them to be proud of me but it didn't take away the darkness I had to deal with,” Heather said.
In high school, she met a young man who saw past her scars and brought Heather hope for a new life. They married right after graduation and together planned for their future, both wanting a big family.
The pregnancies brought challenges with her scarred skin but Heather was determined and now they have Brooklyn, Jaron, Caden and Gavin. Besides being a wife and mother, Heather also works part time as a NICU nurse at Saint Francis, providing care for the littlest patients.
She remembers her time in the hospital and the care she received.
“Even the journey through the hospital ... there were great memories there. Terrible, excruciating painful memories but happy ones too because people were there,” Heather said.
Heather has written a new book about her life, sharing intimate details about her journey as a burn survivor.
“This story right here that I never wanted to share with anybody. That I never told my mom, that I've never told my husband and that I've never shared with a soul. I'm going to put it in print? And I just felt like yeah, yea, you are because this isn't about you. This is about the story God entrusted me to carry,” said Heather.
Heather and her family got the chance to go to Hawaii and while they were there, they took family pictures on the beach. Heather got the idea to make a bold statement and be photographed in a two-piece swimsuit, showing her scars.
“I was a little girl with burn scars, I'm a mom with burn scars, I'll be a grandma with burn scars and I'll be telling my grandkids the story of what happened like I've told my children and like I've told so many other people but it's a great story of overcoming,” said Heather.
If you would like to to purchase Heather's book, visit her website.