It Was So Simple
Let’s go way back, long before the life-changing moment. Chris and Lori Coble built a happy life for themselves, having three beautiful kids together. They were like any other family, full of life. But this was all about to change…
Some Key Details
Loving mother Lori Coble was driving her three kids, Kyle, Emma and Katie home after having a fun day out together. They were still feeling in a celebratory mood after Kyle’s fifth birthday. They enjoyed all the fun things in life such as arcade games and Ferris wheels. Unfortunately, father Chris was at work, unable to join in on the fun. But fate turned its ugly head and something unexpected happened that would completely turn the family upside down.
Chris and Lori only have good things to say about their three angels. Let’s start with their little boy, Kyle. “Kyle was five, he was a very outgoing child,” Lori said. “He was loving and caring and he was friends with everybody.” Father Chris also shared his thoughts on Kyle, saying, “he just had this picturesque view of the world that, you know, was a beautiful and wonderful place and he was happy to be a part of it.”
Kyle’s sister Emma was unique in that she was a little more reserved than he was. “Emma was a little quieter than Kyle,” Lori said. However, Chris defended his little girl by describing her as having immense courage. “She was actually the brave one,” he said. And Lori agreed with his sentiment, saying, “She was. She loved roller coasters and she was up for anything. She would try anything.” But wait, there’s one child missing. Who did we forget?
Katie, Their Baby
Katie was the youngest of the three. At two years of age, she was loved very much by the rest of her family. And she had a particularly close bond with her mother. Also, Kyle and Emma were extremely protective of their little sister. “She was our baby, she was two, a mommy’s girl,” Lori said. But Chris was quick to praise Katie for taking to the world at such a young age. “She was out there and independent,” he said.
The Little Things
For Kyle, Emma and Katie, every day brought something bright and new. Each day, at least one of them learned something new, whether it was riding their bike for the first time or writing their first words. Moreover, they treasured every birthday they had and every Christmas was the highlight of their year. But it wouldn’t last and the time was nearing before they would no longer be able to share these little things as a family unit…
Family Day Out
It was May 4, and Lori rented herself a minivan after she decided to take her three kids on a fun day out. Kyle had just enjoyed his birthday the day before and was still feeling the excitement of turning five. So they went to a mall to enjoy all the amenities it had to offer. These included fun activities such as playing in the Arcadian and riding the Ferris wheel. But the fun came to an end, and they made their way back home…
The Way Back
After having a lot of fun together and even visiting a pet store, it was time to go back home. Lori made her way to the Oso Parkway exit with the three kids in the back seat. It was a drive she did many times previously. She planned on taking her kids home, reuniting with loving father and husband Chris, having dinner together and winding down for the rest of the night. So why would today be any different?
In The Car
Lori remembered vividly the car journey home. “They were behind me,” she said. “I know that Kyle was playing the Nintendo he got for his birthday and Emma was watching a movie. I could see Katie sleeping again. So I was grabbing her toes and telling her to wake up because she had to take a nap when she got home. And that was the last thing I remember.” But what happened next was an absolute blur for Lori.
Where Was Chris?
Meanwhile, Chris got on with his day and had a typical day of work. He was still in happy spirits after enjoying Kyle’s fifth birthday party the day before. He looked forward to seeing his family later that evening. But suddenly, out of the blue, he received a phone call. Someone informed that there was an emergency surrounding his family. Naturally, Chris had no idea what happened, but he got up and rushed out of the office.
Race Against Time
Chris jumped into his car and rushed to the hospital that gave him the emergency phone call. A million thoughts raced through his mind. Were all of his family at the hospital? What could have happened to them? Were they all OK? Chris drove as fast as he could without speeding too recklessly. But once he got to the hospital, the doctor told him some alarming news: not all of his family were in that specific hospital.
A Wave Of Emotions
Only Emma was at that particular hospital, and this put Chris in an awkward situation. He wanted to know where all his family was at that moment. But here he was and he needed to know how his girl was doing. When asked about what he went through at that moment, Chris struggled to contain his emotions, saying, “you can’t describe the feeling that hits you. I’m kinda feeling that weight hit me as I’m talking about it.”
It turns out that a truck holding over 40,000 pounds worth of electronics hit Lori’s minivan. The horrific damage led to paramedics arriving immediately on the scene, taking Lori and her kids to three separate hospitals. According to investigators, the driver didn’t stop in time and this was because he was driving too fast. And even worse, the family found out that the driver had a history with speeding. Therefore, whatever came the families way, it wasn’t Lori’s fault.
The Moment Of Truth
After waiting for a few hours, a doctor came out of the emergency room and handed a phone over to Chris. It was a phone call from Mission Hospital, where Katie was based. But nothing could prepare him for what he was about to hear. He recalled the doctor saying, “I’m sorry to let you know that Katie has expired.” The news hit Chris like a ton of bricks. He lost Katie. But where were the others?
So Much Pain
Then, the doctor followed up with more news. At this point, Chris wasn’t sure if he wanted to hear any more. But he took a deep breath and listened to what the doctor had to say. He was desperate for some salvation of some sort. Chris noted that “the first thing I said to him was, ‘Please don’t tell me Emma’s dead,’ and he said, ‘I’m sorry but Emma has expired.'” It seemed like all hope was lost…
Hope Was On The Horizon
Chris couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His two girls were gone. Naturally, he was completely distraught and he didn’t know how to get through the day. Maybe it was the protective instinct or the small glimmer of hope that Lori and Kyle were still alive. Then, the doctor informed him that paramedics took Kyle to another hospital. He needed to undergo brain surgery. But Chris needed to do one more thing before he could see his son.
Chris finally got the good news he was desperate for: Lori was still alive. Nurses took him to the bed that his wife was resting in and reunited with her. Amazingly though, Lori had no recollection of what transpired that day. One minute she was happily driving back home with her children, the next she woke up and opened her eyes to Chris in the hospital. But like Chris, she needed to know the fates of her kids.
Sadly, Lori woke up to the most terrible of news. The first thing she asked Chris was “where are the kids?” He apprehensively replied by saying “the girls are dead.” Doctors told Lori that Kyle was elsewhere undergoing brain surgery. She told her husband to go and see how their boy was doing. She was physically unable to go with, so she asked Chris to go on behalf of both of them. So off he went to see their son…
Putting Pieces Back Together
Chris once again jumped into the car and rushed over to Kyle and Katie’s location. He drove over to Mission Hospital, praying that things would work out for his son. So many emotions were running through him: feelings of guilt, desperation, anger, sadness, and hope, all at once. All he wanted was the damage inflicted on his family to be as limited as possible. Things were already so terrible, and in such a short space of time…
One Last Moment
Before he found out Kyle’s fate though, he made his way to Katie’s hospital bed and sat by her side one last time. “I got to sit with her by myself, hold her hand and brush her hair. She was cold,” he said. “I was sorry. She was a good girl. I held her hand and just wanted to be with her for a little bit.” After a quiet moment with his baby girl, he went to see how Kyle was doing…
It was finally time to see how Kyle was doing. However, what Chris would find haunted him for the rest of his life. Out of everyone involved, Kyle suffered the most from the crash and a life support machine was keeping him alive. He suffered severe brain damage and what he went through was virtually irrecoverable. Heartbroken Chris couldn’t believe the situation he was now in, wishing it was just a dream. Then he brought Lori to see Kyle…
Dark And Silent
The loving parents knew that they were in control of Kyle’s fate. It was something that they never wanted to make a decision for. “I looked over at Kyle and his eyes were open. And I remember looking around,” she said. At first, Lori was convinced that he was OK, but the harsh reality started to sink in that he wasn’t. “It became dark and silent, as we sat with him and held his hand,” Chris said.
For a while, the experience completely broke Lori and Chris into pieces. Nobody wants to bury their own children and here they were, burying all three of them. For Chris and Lori to be told that not one, not two, but all three of their kids were gone: they must’ve felt like someone took their kids away from them. “The day before the funeral, we did a viewing. We got to see the kids one last time,” Lori said.
Processing The Tragedy
During the funeral, Lori and Chris bravely stepped up and spoke in front of their loved ones about their beloved children, Kyle, Emma and Katie. “It was important for me and Lori to do that,” Chris said. “One of the underlying theories of grief is facing the hard things. In this situation, you just can’t sit back and let it consume you. You have to look in the face of the guilt and walk through the pain.”
Time Is The Ultimate Healer
It was during these depressing times that the couple sought to get justice against the driver who was responsible for the children’s deaths. Not only that, but they took action against the entire trucking industry. But as time went on, Lori and Chris grew strength and found many new ways to deal with the pain and the grief. Eventually, the couple came to an agreement and decided to take their relationship in a new direction.
Eventually, when things stopped feeling so raw, Lori and Chris felt the time was right to move on and have more kids. They were desperate to fill the void left by this horrendous event. “We always described ourselves at that point as ‘parents without children,'” Chris said. “I mean, when you have three children that young, your whole lives are dedicated to them and you love it.” So the couple tried in vitro fertilization, using 10 eggs in their first attempt…
The Results Were In
Great news came Lori and Chris’s way: three of the 10 eggs they used were fertilized, bringing them two girls and a boy. “We were only going to put two back in, but once we found out that it was two girls and a boy, we took that as a sign from above,” Lori said. Only a year after their hard hitting tragedy, Lori gave birth to triplets. The elated couple called the newborns Ashley, Elle and Jake.
Lori and Chris’s story is nothing short of miraculous. Sure, they faced the most terrible of tragedies, but their recent news completely turned their fortunes upside down. “I think it’s a miracle,” Lori said. “And I think Kyle, Emma and Katie had something to do with it. I think they helped us and they made this possible.” We may never know why things happened the way they did. But one thing’s for sure, Lori and Chris deserve it more than anyone.
Looking back on the whole experience, Lori and Chris find it difficult to let go of the past life they had with Kyle, Emma and Katie. They feel like someone snatched their three angels away from them and part of the couple refuses to forget them. This is why they have left the three kids’ bedrooms untouched. And although there are three new additions on the way, they feel like changing their rooms would be a disservice to their three firstborns.
It’s amazing what life can throw at us. And for Lori and Chris, they have seen both sides of the coin in such a short space of time. In one instance, they faced the most tragic thing parents could possibly imagine. But on the flip side, they were blessed with the prospect of having triplets. There’s something kind of otherworldly about this story. But whatever the case might be, the whole experience has made Lori and Chris so grateful for what they do have – life.