Just after noon on a spring day in 2006, aspiring singer-songwriter Hilary Williams and her sister Holly - the granddaughters of country legend Hank Williams and daughters of country music star Hank Williams, Jr. - were driving through Mississippi down a rural stretch of Route 61 on their way to their grandfather’s funeral. Suddenly, the front wheel of the truck became caught in one of the many deep ruts and gravel lining the road, causing the vehicle and its passengers to flip over several times, crushing steel and breaking fragile bones as it crashed. Holly was lucky. She only suffered a broken wrist and cuts and bruises. But when the Jaws of Life finally pried Hilary's shattered body free of the wreckage, she was in shock and barely breathing.
She had suffered two broken legs, several broken ribs, a ruptured colon, and bruised lungs. Her back, collarbone, tailbone, pelvis, and right femur were fractured. Her hips were crushed. It had taken nearly 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, and she had already lost a large amount of blood. Then, as EMTs scrambled to stabilize her in the middle of a muddy Mississippi field, Hilary Williams died.
But that was only the beginning.
This is a story of struggle and pain. But more so, it is a story of second chances, of love and resolve and recovery. When she was pulled back into life, Hilary’s world changed. It was the beginning of a long, courageous, and inspiring journey during which she would undergo 23 surgeries and years of therapy. Along the way, with her family at her side, Hilary has learned the meaning of strength, not only the strength to survive, but the strength to live with the legend, the talent, the burden, and the privilege of her place in country music’s most famous family.
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was better than I expected