Judy Wiebe is best remembered for her role as the Reverend Mother in the knee-slapping comedy, Nunsense, but those days of singing and performing on the local stage are a thing of the past for Wiebe, the survivor of a horrible motor vehicle accident in 2009.
The accident took place as Judy, her husband Ben and son Aaron, were on their way to Edmonton. They entered the mountains in the Robson Valley, on a slippery road that saw an out-of-control car spin its way into Wiebe's oncoming car, resulting in her near-fatal injuries. Her son and husband were also hurt seriously while the two young women in the car that crossed the centre line were killed.
The accident, on Jan. 30, 2009, has left scars inside and out.
Wiebe suffered a major concussion causing her brain to swell. She broke several ribs and her lungs collapsed lungs. It was not initially detected by MRI and CT scans but she also had a broken neck. A razor-thin speck of tissue in her C1 vertebrae was all that kept her from death.
It's taken years to heal as best as she will get, but Wiebe will never sing again and the physical comedy she excelled at years ago is now a cherished memory held dear by her fans.
Wiebe was forced to retire from her work in an orthodontist's office, retire from her vocal lessons, and now enjoys her family and friends, with the occasional cruise to enjoy with her family.
"Life is definitely different now," said Wiebe, who is toying with the idea of directing a play in the future. "I am a completely different person now and I am trying to get to know myself again. My personality has changed - I used to be capable of snap decisions. My physical abilities have changed - now everything takes so long. For the last four years I have been trying to get to know myself again. I guess it's a grieving process, letting go of who I was, but with that being said, to have the security of having faith, family and friends, it has made the process doable."
You have to look outside yourself, be ever grateful and remind yourself that whatever you're dealing with, there's always someone who has it worse, she added.
"There's always something to be grateful for," said Wiebe, who has grandchildren who have been born in the years since the accident and she is happy to be here to enjoy them. The next grandchild is expected in October. "It's nice to be able to be here to enjoy this next stage of my life."
Wiebe said a verse from the New Testament kept her going during her recovery. She still has it framed and on her wall as a reminder.
"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen," reads 1 Peter 5:10-11.