There’s a long road ahead for three children whose parents were killed in a car accident on the way home from a family outing earlier this month, but their progress so far is miraculous.
Zachary Clemens, 5, Angela Clemens, 8, and Wyatt Clemens, 4, are recovering at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Texas after the April 7 accident killed their parents Jim, 31, and Karisa Clemens, 29, and their 2-month-old baby sister, Julieanna.
Saturday was the first time all three siblings had been together since the accident.
Their 2-year-old brother, Nicholas, who was also in the car during the accident, has already been released from the hospital and is staying with an aunt.
In a special moment, a photo of which was shared to the family’s fundraising page, the siblings hold hands as they sit in wheelchairs.
“We are not going to limit the resiliency of these children, we are just going to accept every day as a gift,” the children’s great aunt, Teresa Burrell, told InsideEdition.com.
The kids were all life-flighted to the Texas hospital after the tragedy. Angela suffered brain damage and broken legs and has undergone several surgeries.
Zachary suffered a broken back and internal injuries, while Wyatt suffered brain damage and was left temporarily paralyzed on his left side after having multiple strokes.
According to Burrell, another woman’s car went over the median while the family was driving and the woman’s vehicle flipped over and landed on top of the family’s suburban. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
“[Zachary] was actually conscious during the accident so that makes it really hard,” Burrell said.
The kids, however, have been able to find strength in family through their recoveries.
It wasn’t until two weeks after the accident that Wyatt and Angela saw each other for the first time. Unable to touch, they blew kisses toward one another.
"Angela just lit up and she just got so animated when she saw Wyatt and just grinned and they talked," Burrell said. "Even though they couldn’t touch each other, they were just right there to support each other."
And Sunday, all three siblings were able to visit with one another for the first time.
"A little while ago we had to tell them about their parents and there are different levels of accepting that and understanding that," Burrell said. “But they are all pulling together and that’s the beauty of this story.”
The siblings are expected to be in the hospital for months, and while they remain in critical care, they are all making great progress. Angela is talking, reading, and singing. Wyatt is no longer paralyzed and is walking around.
Burrell said the outpouring of support for the family has really helped.
A YouCaring page and Facebook fundraising page have jointly raised more than $130,000 for the family. She said she initially started it for the funeral costs, but the excess funds are needed.
"People just kept donating and donating," Burrell said. "[It’s] wise for them because it’s going to be a lifetime of help they are going to need, not just physically but emotionally... to lose half your family and your parents."
The children, once they leave the hospital, will be raised by their grandmother.
"We are going to keep them together," Burrell said.