Stay with me. I remember those words as if it was yesterday. It was actually in 1996. I was out of the academy for about a year and was the chaplain for the sheriff’s department. I hadn’t had a lot of experience in giving people the last rites when they were near death. I had worked for Oklahoma City Public Housing. Someone was dying almost every night there. We had a county chaplain come in or someone from the local department would handle it.
On this night, another deputy and I were on patrol when we received a call of a traffic accident on a county road not far from one of the many casinos in my area. Casinos always bring alcohol with them and it is always bad.
We arrived on scene and saw what could best be described as a soda can with wheels. The car avoided a drunk driver only to lose control and smash into a tree. The drunk driver, as in many cases, was untouched. The driver was of the vehicle avoiding the drunk was ejected about 50 yards or so into the woods.
My partner and I began searching the wood line and my light hit upon a person who looked like a blood clump with clothes. It was the 17-year old victim. She was driving over to her parent’s house so that they could see their grandbaby. I ran over to her and yelled at my partner to tell EMT’s to speed it up.
She had suffered massive head and body trauma and she could barely speak. I tried to comfort her by putting my jacket over her to keep her warm. She told me her name was Anita. I told her my name was Kenny and that help will be there soon. In most parts of Oklahoma, we have volunteer fire rescue so it takes a while for them to get to a scene. She saw my hat that said police chaplain. Then she made a request that still to this day has me in tears.
“Would you give me my last rites?”
I couldn’t quite hear her, so I asked her to repeat herself. She told me again and I screamed at my partner to tell EMT’s to hurry it up. This girl knew she was dying. She wanted Christ in her life before she died. I reached into my back pocket for my Bible. Then she made another request, which was just as shocking.
She asked for her baby. I yelled for my partner to find her baby. The baby, sadly, was already dead. My partner couldn’t bring himself to do this, so I had to leave her and bring the child to her.
By this time I could hear sirens in the distance. I was doing what I could to keep her alive, but in reality she was dying in front of me. I read to her from the book of Romans 10:9-10. She accepted Him. She was gasping for air and I was telling her, “Anita, stay with me. Stay with me.” But she was gone.
I’ve often wondered what she would have looked like today. Her death also reminds me to ask, do you have that relationship with God now or will someone have to help you with the last rites at the very end like Anita? If you have not brought God into your life, I beg you to do it! Don’t let me be the one lying next to you saying… “Stay with me, stay with me.”