Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Passing of Canyon McKay Copa

The passing of Canyon McKay Copa
On February 7th as we were talking to Carleton to wish him a happy birthday we saw there was a call coming in from Kimberly.  We answered the call from Kimberly and she informed us that Canyon had been in a skiing accident in Park City Utah and that he was in the Park City Medical Center.

Kimberly said that she and Eddie were just leaving to drive up to Park City.  We called the Medical Center and were able to speak with the doctor in charge.  He informed us that Canyon was in very critical condition. After having arrived at the Medical Center with no heart beat the trauma staff worked on him for a long time using electrical shock and were finally able to get a slight pulse, giving us some hope that he would survive. This is where the doctor was sitting when we were talking with him from Brazil.
 Having the heart beating again they called in their trauma surgeon to see if they could repair some of the damage to stabilize him enough to be air evacuated to a hospital in Salt Lake City.  This is the Surgery area where he was worked on.

Kirk and Jodi had just gone out to dinner when Kimberly called to tell them of the accident.  Kirk and Jodi immediately left their dinner to head to Park City.  Kimberly and Eddie arrived at the Park City Medical Center followed shortly after by Kirk and Jodi.  Destry and Matt had been informed of the accident and they also soon arrived at the Medical Center.  While Canyon was in surgery the staff would not let Kirk and Eddie in to give him a blessing, but when the surgeon saw the amount of damage and knew that no blood had been getting to the brain she allowed Kirk and Eddie to dress in scrubs and go in to give Canyon a blessing.  They could tell by how cold and white he was that the situation was very serious.  The surgeon then came out and told Kimberly that there was really no hope to save him and that Kimberly could go in to say a final good-bye.  We had again called the doctor and he informed us that the Canyon's brain had been without blood and oxygen for over an hour and was dead.  They could keep the respirator going but there was no hope of recovery.  We told him that neither Canyon nor us would want him to live as a vegetable, so we authorized the doctor to end all efforts to prolong his life.  The staff then let all the family members be with Canyon to say their good-byes.  They were able to be with him as the machines were turned off, and they saw the heart monitor go flat.  This is where he was when the machines were finally turned off.

Everyone that worked to try and save Canyon was so helpful to our family.  The day after the funeral the Ski Patrol at Park City took 19 members of our family up the mountain in a Snow Cat to the spot of the accident so we could see where it all happened. 
Canyon's friend Chris Dixon was skiing with him at the time of the accident.  He rushed over to Canyon and had another skier call the Ski Patrol.  This is the sign that Canyon hit and where he was lying when the Ski Patrol got to him.


We could tell that the Ski Patrol members were all touched by having gone through the trauma of the accident, especially the lady ski patrol member that was the first on the scene.  She could tell that it was a very serious situation and immediately called for the life flight helicopter to meet them at the bottom of the hill.  She told us that she held Canyon's hand and spoke comforting words to him just before he lost consciousness and passed from this life.  She met with us when we were there and gave us lots of hugs.

As soon as possible the Ski Patrol loaded Canyon on a toboggan and took him to the bottom of the hill.  By the time they got there the helicopter was waiting but his heart had stopped and they had to start CPR.  The helicopter was not big enough to do CPR while they flew him, so they had to take him to the Park City Medical Center in an ambulance while doing CPR. 

After touring the accident site with the Ski Patrol, our family went to the Medical Center to thank the staff that worked so hard to save him.  They told us that because he was so young they tried desperately to save him.  They worked with him for hours but it was not possible to save him.  We could tell that they were also traumatized by the experience.  We believe Canyon's spirit left while he was still on the mountain.  Although the medical staff were able to get his heart beating again, we don't think his spirit came back to his body.

We know that Heavenly Father needed Canyon on the other side at this time. There were just too many things that had to happen at the exact split second of the accident for it to be fatal without it being part of Heavenly Father's plan.  Canyon was an excellent skier and for him to hit a sign post in the middle of a big open area was not just a coincidence.  The medical people that treated him said that his heart had to be in just the exact split second of its beat when it was at its fullest, and the blow of the post had to be in just the exact spot on his body for his aorta artery to be ruptured. If the blow had been just a centimeter above or below on his body it would not have caused the rupture.

After hearing of the accident late Saturday, Heidi and Ken were able to book international flights and flew out of Porto Alegre Monday through Rio de Janeiro and on to Houston.

We saw this sign for Copa Airlines but did not fly with them.

From 1976 to 1979 Heidi and Ken lived by the small end of the race track shown below.
In Houston Cordell and Laura joined Ken and Heidi on the flight to Salt Lake City. The proud grandparents were able to meet baby Grayson for the first time.

We were met at the Salt Lake City airport by several family members and a huge "Welcome Home" banner. 

We also had the opportunity to meet Eden, our granddaughter that was born in October 2014 when we were going to the MTC in Provo.
We are so blessed to have amazing children that had jumped right in for the funeral planning, arranging a mortuary, a grave plot and preparing a draft of the program.  After arriving we were able to go with them to make the final decision on the burial plot seen below with a magnificent view of the mountains.



We then went to the mortuary where the four brothers were able to dress Canyon in his temple clothes.

We had a viewing the night before the funeral and were amazed at the number of people that came and the overwhelming display of flowers people had sent.  This is just a tiny portion of them.


 The siblings had set up a beautiful display of Canyon's mementos.
This was a chance for the family to be together again.

 The Funeral was a chance to celebrate the life of Canyon with excellent talks, music and fun memories
 Following the funeral we went to the grave site for the final ceremonies.

After the burial the family was given a beautiful lunch put together by Canyon's Young Single Adult Ward.
The next day we had a family gathering at Kirk and Jodi's home with lots of pizza and good food for everyone.

In deciding on a grave stone we all felt that Canyon would want a natural rock marker.  We just happened to find one in front of the house Courtney had just rented.  The owner gave us the stone and we took it to the mortuary to be prepared with the engravings.

From all of this we know that the Lord needed Canyon for some mission on the other side.  We also feel that one of his assignments is to watch over our family.  We have all had many “heavenly hugs” (crazy amazing miracles) that we feel are from Canyon.  We know he is happy and busy, and that we will all be together with him again someday.