Anaiah Rucker saw her younger sister dash into the road as they headed to catch their school bus, she also saw something her sister didn’t: the truck coming their way. As their mother screamed, “No!” Anaiah ran and grabbed her sister out of the way- taking the brunt of the hit as the truck barreled into her body.
While her actions were certainly heroic, Anaiah left Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite with a broken neck, one remaining kidney, spleen damage and two broken legs. It’s the sacrifice she made for her sister, of whom Anaiah says, “I love her more than anything.”
Though much of the press coverage of the incident has hailed Anaiah as a local hero, there is a very real element to this extraordinary story. Anaiah’s left leg has been amputated after doctors found that region of her body was not getting adequate blood flow. At just nine years old, her body has suffered a trama that would have brought most adults close to death.
Listening to the local coverage, one line of the story really caught me:
“Anaiah has her good days, and then she has her bad moments where she suddenly breaks down into tears.”
It’s something that any woman can relate to. Anaiah has not only withstood the force of a pick up truck, but the pain and struggle of adapting to a whole new way of life. Though she says she would do it all again, I’m sure that doesn’t erase the pain of that sacrifice.
I don’t have an older sister, I am one- and for all our squabbles over missing make up and borrowed clothing, I would take absolutely take a hit for that little girl. But I am fortunate and blessed enough to have older Black women in my life who in crunch situations have taken on hits for me. Whether it was shielding me from disappointment or keeping me out of the snares of wrong situations, those women have shown nothing but sisterly instincts for me. And maybe because of their hero status in my head, it’s hard for me to imagine that they too have bad moments where they suddenly burst into tears.
Anaiah’s story inspires us because of the love her sacrifice shows but it also reminds us that even women who can take the hit of a pickup truck, still need lifting too. They are heros but human, extending above and beyond and often sobbing alone. Today, remember the women in your life who have been strong in moments you could not, realizing they can’t be strong for everyone always. Be grateful for those sisters who have dealt with damage and be a friend who’d give both legs to save them too.