Road conditions: dry
Time of accident: unknown
Who could ever fully appreciate the cost of a moment's distraction, a minor impairment of a couple of drinks, and too long a night? Who among us can appreciate the final and forever consequences of a few seconds' inattention?
Sometimes you don't get another chance.
To say good bye.
For one more hug.
To say, I love you.
My life was being Mom to Lee and Brian. Now half of that has been cut out of me, and I will never, ever be the same. There will always be a shadow around the edges of even the happy times.
Alcohol present: .133
Drugs present: No
A casual encounter, a friendly conversation with someone new always carries the treacherous territory of having to explain, and then the uncomfortable pall while everyone tries to think of some way to move on gracefully. Of watching them having to confront the yawning vulnerability that all parents usually manage to keep hidden, even from themselves; of the uncomfortable moment of having that fear exposed and borne fruit, in front of strangers. Of the irritation I then feel at having to comfort them.
Different but also something you guard against: seeing the strain of those dear to you suffering themselves, and suffering for you. Feeling everyone you know watching you for signs of cracking, waiting to catch you when you fall off the edge, and thus a constant reminder of how close the edge is.
Lee and I had angry confrontations over risky behavior ... too much drink, driving hours to a party and then driving hours back, and I would say, "I don't want to be one of those mothers tending a cross on the side of the road with flowers and teddy bears." And now, but for the fact that I refuse to do so, I would be one of those mothers.
I read in one post online, recounting the drunken aftermath of Lee's funeral, that "Lee wouldn't have had it any other way." I beg to differ. She would have been devastated to lose any one of you, and the shock and pain on your parents' faces would have made her think twice about visiting the same thing upon her own parents. If any thoughts crossed her mind at that last moment, I am quite sure that one of them was, "Oh God Mom and Dad, I'm so sorry."
There has been a lot written about living life the way Lee did .. taking chances, all out full speed, living life to the fullest, and up for anything. I'm not convinced that part of that wasn't about seeking out the fun and companionship she loved, without understanding that the excessive drinking wasn't where the fun and spirit and love between you all lived. She was beginning to grow tired of the bar scene, but hadn't figured out how to replace the drinking with something else without losing the fun. There is a difference between living without fear and living without sense. As hard as I tried, I didn't get that message through to her. I ran out of time, and she ran out of chances.
While we all hope she is an angel in heaven, this does not give her magical powers to overcome bad decisions. She can't save you from yourselves. For several hours on that long Monday, we did not know who the other person was in the car. I hope that the thought has crossed all of your minds that it could easily have been any one of you with her.
Look at your mothers' faces, and the faces of your friends' mothers. Don't put them through the visit from police officers to let them know you're gone forever. Don't make them go through the struggle of figuring out how and why to get up each day. Don't think you can drink shots all night and not be affected by it on your ride home.
Don't think you are the superhuman who can always handle the fatigue, the alcohol, the unexpected, and always come out on top.
Your mothers shouldn't have to face it. Look at their faces, and live your life differently. Don't go to them shamed and contrite and say "Never again, I'm going to do better," they don't need to know you've already taken chances you shouldn't have.
Just do it.
I love you all,