I remember the day like it was yesterday and yet it seems like a lifetime ago! Granted, 22 years is 2/3 of my lifetime, but something like this you never forget. It was the summer of 1992 and I was 11. We lived out in the country and my brother and I stayed home the majority of the time by ourselves. He was 4 years older than me, so it wasn’t a big deal. A couple afternoons a week I would go to a neighbors house who had a college aged girl and she would “entertain” me, so I wasn’t so bored at home. On this particular summer day my mom was going to pick me up (early, if possible) so we could go shopping as school would be starting soon. She was, at that time, the Director of Nurses, at a local care center and worked a lot of hours, so when she showed up much earlier than normal I was amazed. Amazed and excited and the thought of getting to spend extra time with her. She picked me up and said we had to run home, which was literally just minutes away. When we got there she sat my brother and I both on the couch and told us the news.
My grandma and two of my cousins (they were 7 & 9 when they passed) had been killed in a car accident that day! I couldn’t believe her, my ears rang, and I curled up in a ball on the couch. I remember telling her she was lying and thinking it too. I remember not allowing her to touch me. This was a lot to process at the age of 11. I didn’t want a hug, I didn’t want to be comforted, I wanted to be told that it was a big mistake and they were all ok! But, it wasn’t and they weren’t.
The next several days were a blur. Everything blurred together, I felt like a robot going through the motions of what was going to become our new life. My grandma was only 60 when she left us. My cousins only 7 & 9. It seemed like a cruel joke to lose any of them, let alone all of them at the same time.
I still don’t understand it and I know I never will and I guess that’s ok. I can’t even being to explain how this one day 22 years ago changed our entire families lives! Nothing is the same as it was and never will be. Not just because of the holes in our family because those three aren’t with us, but because of the impact that something like this has on people and how it changes people.
Sometimes I wonder if my pain on this day is because of missing those three and wondering who my cousins would be today at the ages of 29 & 31 or because of the changes and events that came after it. Either way, this day is always a day I struggle and a day that will always be etched in my memory as the day that everything changed for me. Hold your loved ones tighter tonight and pray to our Lord above that you have them!