Sometimes things happen that are just so much bigger than you are that you can't even comprehend the enormity of it all at once. This has happened to my family and we are all dazed and in shock. We lost a very precious immediate family member Thursday night in a horrible car accident. She was one week away from her 26th birthday. It's surreal. Wednesday she is full of excitement for her birthday party and Thursday she is gone. Forever. We have already been down this road, none of us expected to ever have to travel it again, but here we are. You have to face it, you have to live through it. But how? How do we do this again? CAN we do this again? I want a choice, I want to change it, make it so that none of it ever happened. I want us all to be whole again, all of us, I don't want any more people missing at family dinners and holidays. I want to take away her mother's pain and I can't. I know that pain myself, all to well. You never get over it, you just get through it. Some days are better than others, some are worse, either way you have no control over the emotions or when they are going to slam into you and bring you to your knees.
I want to tell her mother what's coming, I want to prepare her but then I think it's better she not know just yet. I know all the pictures running through her head right now, how desperately you try to remember every little thing about your child's life. I know how she is clinging to the sound of her child's voice and praying she won't forget it. But she will, it doesn't stay with you forever, it gently fades with time and the day you realize it's gone and you can't hear it anymore brings on another kind of grief. She will learn soon enough about the times she will hear a child's voice saying "Mom" in the grocery store and for a brief second you forget and turn to answer and then you remember and it's all too much to handle so you leave the cart full of groceries and walk away to your car to cry in peace.... She will learn the sadness that comes when you realize that out of habit you have written that child's name on the shopping list for Christmas and have to cross it out.... She will learn how horrible it is when no one wants to say your child's name in front of you for fear of hurting you never realizing that acting like your child never existed at all hurts even worse.... She will learn how angry she will get when someone, meaning well, says "I know how you feel" and they can't possibly know if they have not been there, losing a spouse, a sibling or close loved one is NOTHING like losing a child....In the overwhelming loss of her child on Thursday I again saw my child. It's been a long, emotional weekend on so many levels.
My heart is breaking for her, she is about to start a journey down a long lonely road that only those who have traveled it before her can understand. A journey with no navigation, you have to find your own way. A journey made harder by knowing there really is no destination or end in sight, only change. Those of us who have been on this journey ourselves can show her where the path is but we can't take the journey for her. I will walk with her as far as the path allows and then she, like the rest of us did, will have to travel the lonely road alone.
We live so far and wide that it takes many days for some of us to travel home so the viewing, funeral and burial will not be until Wednesday. That is a long time when your just wanting something to be over with, she doesn't realize the hardest part is going to come when all the shock wears off, the ceremony is over with and everyone has gone back home. Right now, in this minute, this is the hardest part for her. I don't have the heart to tell her that this is the easiest time.
Now let me leave a warning for all those that drive. This accident was not caused by talking on a cell phone, texting, drugs or alcohol. This accident was caused by a McDonald's french fry. She had just stopped by McDonald's on her way to work and was reaching to get a french fry out of the bag, the car swerved and she over corrected which threw her into the lane of oncoming traffic where she then hit another car head on. Fortunately her passenger and the people in the other car only had minor injuries. How many times have we all done that very thing without giving it a second thought? I know I do, as a matter of fact the very day of her accident I had stopped by Wendy's and grabbed a burger, eating it on the way because I was running late. I won't do it again.
Rest in peace sweetheart, know you were loved dearly and will be missed. When you get to heaven give Tanner a kiss and tell him how much I miss him.