They know that while the last year and a half have been filled with uncertainty, the two boys they’ve seen grow up are still here after both survived serious car wrecks.
“It’s going to be joy,” Rob said. “We’re certainly not going to dwell on what we don’t have. We’ll get together, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company and the love that’s there.”
In August 2011, Ben Masters was a junior at Coosa High School and beginning his first season as a starter on the Eagles’ football team.
But a one-vehicle wreck on Fosters Mill Road left him with fractures to his spinal column and damage to his spinal cord.
Then in May, less than nine months after Ben’s wreck, the Masters received word that their eldest son, David, had been involved in a wreck in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The 21-year-old had sustained a serious head injury and was placed in intensive care at a hospital in Pensacola, Fla., where he was put into a medically-induced coma.
“I still cringe every time the phone rings, especially on a Saturday night,” said Rob, referring to the time both incidents occurred. “And I don’t know if I’ll ever get away from that.”
Throughout both instances, both Rob and Karen said that the show of love and support that they received was immensely helpful.
When Ben was injured, the Coosa community came out in full force, hosting gatherings and benefits for the student and helping with both money and prayers that went far during his rehabilitation.
“We’re so thankful for our family and friends and the entire community,” Karen said. “After the outpouring of support that we have received, we feel close to people that we don’t even know.”
The Masters’ experience with David in Florida went from not knowing anyone to getting help from connections in Rome in the form of staying in a house while they were there.
“We couldn’t do it without faith, we couldn’t do it without friends and we couldn’t do it without family,” Rob said.
After spending six months in the hospital and going through four surgeries, Ben returned to class in February.
While he uses a wheelchair, he continues to work in hopes that he will one day regain the use of his legs, and he is on track to graduate in the spring.
Since his brain was swelling, a piece of David’s skull was removed following the wreck to help relieve the pressure. It was replaced in July and, while his dad says he still has some issues staying focused, he has improved week by week.
Karen said she has coped by taking it one day at a time and choosing to be happy throughout the sad times.
“We have little control of what goes on in this world,” Rob said. “No matter what happens, God is in control and you have to live your life that way.”
Last year on Thanksgiving the Masters were at Shepherd Center in Atlanta with Ben as he was recovering from his third surgery and preparing for his fourth.
“We’re definitely thankful to be home this year,” Karen said. “You don’t know how much you miss it until you don’t have it.”
Today will find the Masters getting back to the things that are listed as traditions for their family.
They will gather at Rob’s mother’s house with a big crowd and have Thanksgiving while watching some football on television and maybe getting outside to throw the ball around some.
“I think I’m going to have a peace about it,’ Karen said, “and know that everything is going to be OK.”
“We’re thankful that we’ve been able to get through it,” Rob said. “Not just the physical parts of it but the mental and stress aspects of it all.”
He said he is greatful that events of the past year did not splinter the family with stress.
“We’re thankful that we’re all together and love each other,” Rob said. “We’re all committed to do what we have to — just like we were before the accidents — to be there for our children.”