Open Wounds, Healing Hearts…

I literally feel sick…physically sick…just thinking about what’s happened. It still feels like some kind of sick joke…only it’s not. It’s real. What happened…it happened. And there’s no changing that. I keep remembering that 14-year-old girl I posted about last month, the one that was hit by a car and killed right in front of her family and friends. That was horrible but this…it’s unthinkable. Unimaginable. Surreal. Heartbreaking, more than anything.

That other girl’s death, while tragic, didn’t affect me personally. I didn’t know her. I felt sorry for her–for her family and friends. As horrible as it probably sounds, it was like her death was yesterday’s news. Another story took the place of hers in the news and Facebook statuses went back to normal. For everyone else…life moved on. In my post, I remember writing about how devastated I’d be if something like that were to happen to someone I knew…but I honestly never expected it to happen, especially only a month later. It’s just one of those things you know, when you tell yourself that it’ll never happen to you. It’s like when there’s a school shooting on the news and you tell yourself that something like that would never happen in your school or in your town. But as much as we might like to believe those things won’t happen…they do. They happen everywhere–small town or not. People die in car crashes every day, all around the world–just like what happened yesterday.

The girl who died…I knew her. We went to school together. She was a couple of grades behind me, but our paths had crossed numerous times–whether it was a matter of having mutual friends or hanging out at the same parties or whatnot. She was a beautiful person, inside and out. She was so down-to-earth, and always smiling. She was well-liked. Everyone loved her. She was loving mother to a beautiful little 3-year-old boy. He was her whole world. She just recently got engaged. She was so happy, by all accounts.

She had everything. And in the blink of an eye–in one wrong place at the wrong time–one missed stop sign–she lost it all. She was driving home from visiting her sister in Pennsylvania when it happened. For whatever reason, she went through the stop sign–driving right into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Her little boy was in the backseat. According to the news, there were 3 victims in the other vehicle–a mother and two teenage girls. Someone said that they were headed to a softball game and that one of the girls was in the process of changing into a uniform–so most likely not wearing a seatbelt–when the accident occurred. I don’t even want to try to imagine what happened next. I just know it was horrible. All three of the victims in the other vehicle survived and were airlifted to a major hospital, having sustained serious injuries.

Nicole, the girl I knew–her little boy was also airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries. What is probably the most horrific aspect of the tragic accident is that Nicole is said to have been trapped for several hours before being extracted from the vehicle by emergency crews on the scene. She never made it to the hospital. She died at the scene.When I think about it, all I can picture are these horrible images of her being trapped in there, hurt and probably terrified. Death, in general, is always tragic. But to have to suffer for hours–that’s beyond worse. That’s just plain cruel. I wouldn’t wish that fate on my worst enemy. It’s horrible.

With something as tragic as this happening–you’d think people would show a little kindness or empathy. And many have. But there are also some that clearly have no respect whatsoever. On Facebook discussions related to the accident, people are actually fighting with one another unnecessarily–which is not only disrespectful to Nicole’s memory, but it’s also just plain wrong. Public discussions and freedom of speech aside, some people need to just shut up. People are jumping to conclusions and automatically assuming that she must have been speeding, or that she might have been texting and not paying attention–which therefore caused the accident. Some really sick individuals are even blaming her and calling her an idiot for running that stop sign. One even said that she was probably high on “bath salts” at the time. I don’t get how people can be so cruelly cold and unfeeling. Whatever happened–it was an accident. It doesn’t matter how it was caused at this point. What matters is that it happened and that because of that one little twist of fate, a 22-year-old young woman lost her life. Her little boy, if he makes it, lost his mother. Her family lost someone they loved; a daughter, a sister. Those who knew her lost a good friend. And the world lost a wonderful person. Other families of the other victims are suffering as well. Even if the victims survive, and godwilling they will, they’ll never be the same. They’ll never forget what happened yesterday for the rest of their lives. And neither will the rest of us. She didn’t ask for this. And neither did anyone else. It was an accident, pure and simple.

I don’t understand why things like this happen. She didn’t deserve for this to happen to her. She didn’t deserve to lose her life so young. So many people are saying that she is in a better place, that she’s in heaven watching over everyone. That for this to have happened, God must have had a reason for taking her life. I wish I could believe that. But I just don’t know. I can’t accept that there’s a reason for a tragedy like this. I just can’t. It isn’t fair. And if there is a God and he is as loving as so many people believe–then why did he let this happen? Why did he let her die before she really had a chance to live? Why did he take her from her friends and her family? Why did he leave a little boy without his mother? Maybe I’m not supposed to question it or understand, for that matter–maybe I’m just supposed to believe and have faith. But I can’t do that. It’s too hard. It hurts too much.

I guess the only reassurance any of us have is knowing that she is no longer suffering, that she is resting in peace–and that she’ll be in our hearts and in our memories forever. Her memory will be alive forever in that little boy of hers she loved so much. Nothing can ever change that. Ever. If nothing else, I have to believe that as hard as it is right now and as much as it hurts…it will all get better in time. We will heal, but we will never forget. I have to believe that.

Rest in peace, Nicole, wherever you may be.
**NMD** 5/19/12



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