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I was born in 1987 to two wonderful parents. They loved and cared for each other and we were all happy. 18 months later my sister was born, and then two years passed before my youngest sister was born. We moved a few times before settling in New York. Like most families, my parents had their issues and split for a while. Myself, my dad, and my youngest sister stayed in New York, while my mom and my middle sister went to Michigan for a while. I am unsure of how long had passed in between them splitting and eventually working it out, but we were all to meet in Maryland to get back together as a family. On December 26, 1991, my father received the most heartbreaking news possible—my mother had been in a car accident and was dead on arrival at the hospital. She was 22 years old, with a husband and three little girls. He made his way to Michigan for all the proper funeral arrangements and all, but was never the same after. My two younger sisters were too young to really know or understand what happened to our mother. It was not until I was 18 that I was finally given the accident report from that dreadful day. I, to this day, can still picture everything that I read in that report.
What follows may be upsetting, so proceed with caution.
I had went to go visit my grandparents and aunt in Michigan when I was 18 years old. While staying at my grandparent's home, my grandmother told me she thought it was time I knew what happened. She handed me an envelope and told me to read it. I won't lie, my heart was in my throat and I felt sick. As I opened the envelope and began to read it, I could already feel myself starting to shake and tear up. The report had stated that my mother had slid on black ice and ran head first into the pillar under a bridge. The impact had caused the steering wheel to be impacted into her chest and the dashboard had crushed her legs. The windshield had shattered, causing glass to impale her face. She was barley breathing but was alive. EMTs and the police arrived on the scene and began to work as hard and as fast as they could. They used the jaws of life to get her out, but by the time all that was said and done, she had passed away on the way to hospital. In the packet that was handed to me was the hospital report of the test they ran on her to see if she was intoxicated or on drugs. Thankfully, all were negative. They had also included a printout of her last heartbeat. When I was done reading this, tears pouring down my face, I became angry with my grandmother for never having told me this before. I know now that it was not her fault, and it was better to have waited until I was old enough to understand.
Within the past two years or so, some family issues had come up and the topic of my mother was brought to my attention. I was told two different stories from two different family members, one of which was what had been reported in the paperwork about sliding on black ice. The other was that she had committed suicide. Her oldest sister, my aunt, had come forward about what my mother said to her the night she died, as well as the days beforehand. I was informed that she had mentioned she was so depressed that she was going to crash her car into a pillar. The night of her death, she dropped my middle sister off at my aunt's home and drove away. My aunt had told me that she had begged my mom to not talk like that and to think about her girls and husband. My mother, the night she passed, said she was just going to do some late Christmas shopping. It is truly unfortunate that I, as well as the rest of my family, will never know the 100 percent truth as to what happen that night.
I am 31 years old now, with three children and one on the way. Not a day goes by that I do not think of my mother and all the what if's and should have, could have, and would have's. I suffer from PTSD due to her death (as well as being in two car accidents myself), and have been through several years of therapy sessions and trauma therapy. It seems to never get easy, just harder, knowing she is gone. She will never see all her grandchildren grow or get to hold them. Each year that passes, I sometimes think of how unfair it is—that I keep living and she is gone. I do know that as long as I remember her and speak of her to my children, she will live on in our memories.