Two Cars, Two Lives

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Last night, I could see in my head a mother, looking at pictures of her chubby-cheeked toddler, a girl full of smiles and pigtails. A girl like mine.

And the mother wondering: How could this happen?

On Saturday night, two senior girls from my husband’s tight-knit private school were driving and their car found a tree. The driver, one of my husband’s students, ended up in the hospital with broken bones. The passenger ended up in a funeral home.

Mr. V called me, heartbroken. How could he tell his class where their classmate was? How would he teach when she returned to school without her friend?

In an instant, I was transported back 10 years.

_____

The circumstances were not exactly the same. There was no passenger. There was no alcohol. The driver was wearing her seatbelt, on her way to her job as a volunteer EMT. No one knew for sure what happened, but she crossed the yellow line, collided head-on with another car, and lost her life, just after her 18th birthday and almost the exact same time of year: it was April 29, 2000.

On April 30, 2000, I was sitting in my bedroom when my friends Hannah and Marianne called; I assumed it was another of many calls about the upcoming prom. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I remember shock. Crying to my mother. Her making me get dressed and leave the house.

Monday at school. Our class was a mere 120 people, and none of us could do anything except sit in the field behind our school, using hands to make white origami cranes. My Chinese teacher suggested this ancient custom helped the grievers. And it did.

I remember signing out of school one afternoon and spending the entire afternoon playing board games with my Jen. Because it was something to occupy our minds.

I remember the funeral, over a thousand people. I still can’t listen to “Tears in Heaven”–I have been known to violently turn off a radio if it dare come on.

_________

So when I told Mr. V, “I know how hard it is,” I meant it. I grieve for all his students. For the dear parents of these two girls. I am sick over it.

Sweet Jesus, be near.

 

6 thoughts on “Two Cars, Two Lives

  1. Jess, I'm so sorry for your loss and Mr. V's school's loss. I don't understand why these things happen. I just don't.

    My friend Carrie died in a car accident our freshman year of college. I know how hard this is, too.

  2. No one understands why horrible things happen. I pray that Adam will be a light to his students. I pray that God will give him the strength he needs to be used in a mighty way at the school. I pray for those girls parents, families, and friends.

    I remember so many days like this when the shock of the terrible just hits you in the face: 6 years ago today, when Donnie died and I called to tell you. I remember you clinging to me and sobbing when your friend from school died in that accident. I remember Ashley crying and then the two of us going to Melissa's funeral. So many taken too soon (at least for us.) But God is in control. He hasn't changed from the day before the terrible happens. I pray that I can remember that the next time.

  3. That's a tough one, and we will certainly be praying. For some reason there always seems to be a rash of car accidents and deaths around the time of high school graduations. So sad.

  4. I have recently had the same experience – Being transported back in time. Two young men were recently killed here in NC on their way back to school from lunch. High school seniors – horseplay and speed involved. I was transported back 20 years when I lost my teenage nephew in a car accident about this time of year. I still don't know what God's plan for Jamie was exactly but I have come to trust that there was a plan and I have overcome my anger. I was so angry at God for allowing Jamie's precious light to be put out at such a young age.

  5. I have recently had the same experience – Being transported back in time. Two young men were recently killed here in NC on their way back to school from lunch. High school seniors – horseplay and speed involved. I was transported back 20 years when I lost my teenage nephew in a car accident about this time of year. I still don't know what God's plan for Jamie was exactly but I have come to trust that there was a plan and I have overcome my anger. I was so angry at God for allowing Jamie's precious light to be put out at such a young age.

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