November 15, 2012…
My dear family & friends… my heart is broken and my spirit weak… my baby, my angel, Dannica, was killed in a car accident last night. Please pray for us.
The previous evening, the nightmare began and last evening came full circle in a way; my dreams have returned. The first one I’ve had since November 14, 2012 was a lucid, vivid, colorful, motion picture nightmare. The events imitated the real events loosely but this time involved my husband. As I approached the stretcher where the EMTs were working on him I thought to myself, “This time, I won’t let them know I’m here.” I snuck around behind them and took his hand in mine and then awoke feeling socked in the stomach and unable to get back to sleep. I whispered to God, “You wouldn’t *dare*.” Knowing full well, God would dare.
The evening of Dannica’s accident, she had pulled herself up, dusted herself off, and though her own heart had been broken by the end of a year plus long relationship, she was going to see him one last time to return an item of clothing that, once comfortable, now hurt to have around. I didn’t want her to go. I asked her if she thought that was really a good idea and she responded with, “I’ll be fine, mom, I’ll go in, come out and come right back. I offered to drive her and she gave me her “look;” the one that says, “Ya *gotta* start letting me go…I am 18!” I felt a little knot in my stomach just like every other time I had to let her go.
An hour went by and she wasn’t back so I sent her a text message asking her to check in with me. No response. I called her; straight to voicemail. I texted and let her know that if I didn’t hear from her soon, I’d be sending her brother and a friend to see if everything was okay. Nothing. Then she called me back. She was crying and I asked if she needed me. She cried, “No,” and I told her I was going to come and get her anyway. “Okay.” I told her to stay where she was, in her truck, in front of her boyfriend’s house, I was on my way.
My husband and I got into the minivan and headed in her direction. It was so dark, cloud covered but only threatening rain. I turned into the subdivision and then turned again and soon realized I had turned onto the wrong street. I gave her boyfriend a call and asked the street name, feeling stupid for having forgotten it. Why didn’t I call Dannica? I should have called Dannica. I reoriented myself and turned onto the right street as a text message flashed across my screen, “Just left.” It was her boyfriend telling me she’d just driven away from his house. Why did she leave? She knew I was on my way!? I got to the end of the street and tried to figure out which direction she’d gone. I noticed a water pattern on the road. An arc of water drops turning to the left so I followed them. No more water drops, which way now? Left. To the end of another street. Right. To bottom of the subdivision where I’d entered it.
In that moment, something came over me. A silence. A palpable silence. I turned off the heater, turned down the radio and just listened. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes and then I heard it. A siren. Flashing lights flew by a block to the north. I turned and followed. I got to the stop sign and turned off the car and headed up the sidewalk to see what it was praying, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no…” with each step until I saw the heaps of metal. “That is a truck.” I told myself. “Is it red?” I don’t know. I walk into the street to look at the license plate…. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no…. ” It is her license plate. There are EMTs kneeling at the driver’s door. “Is she in there?!” I scream and they begin screaming, “GET HER OUT OF HERE! GET HER OUT OF HERE!” and I am dragged, gasping for breath from the street by a police officer who can’t figure out why I’m here right now or how.
I see my baby lying on a stretcher. I see the shattered windshield. I see her left arm fall limply off the edge of the stretcher. I can’t breathe. “No, no, no, no, no, no……” We are in the van again, heading to the hospital. I call Dannica’s dad and get his message. “Dannica’s been in a head on collision… come now!” I text my sister, “Pray as hard as you can!”
We reach the hospital to be told she’s been rerouted to the hospital in a neighboring town. A friend who is a doctor tells me this is because that hospital has heart doctors and neurosurgeons. “No, no, no, no, nonononononooNO!” At the hospital we are greeted by a chaplain. I still don’t see it coming. We are escorted to a small room where we are soon joined by a doctor. He’s upbeat and chatty… takes a deep breath and prepares, I assume, to update us on Dannica’s condition. With his demeanor my mind knows it’s serious but she’s okay. He fidgets a bit, bouncing his foot, clapping his hands quietly together, looking around the room, I almost expect him to tell a joke. He says irreverently,
I’m mentally slammed against the wall before my emotions can even begin to register the reason for my 21-year-old son suddenly curling up in my lap and crying, “No! No, no, no, no, no…” I clench my teeth, incredulous at the heartless, callous, insensitive excuse for a human being before me. I say, “Take me to her.” He asks, “Now?” Time to lose it. I yell, “Yes! RIGHT NOW!” His presence is insufferable. He says, “Let me tell ya whatchyer gonna see.” He says something. I’ve stopped listening. I am raging inside.
The last thing I remember him saying, following a go-team clap of his hands is, “Okay! I’ll go see where she’s hangin’ out.” He bounces out the door. I look at the chaplain, my husband, my son, his best friend and with wide eyes all I can say is, “Well *he* was a CHEERFUL FUCK!!!”
The next four hours were spent trying to absorb the shock that continued to simply shatter, with blunt force impact, every fiber of my mental, emotional, and physical being. All I could do was sit there numbly, shaking my head, “No, no, no, no…. no,” as I watched her beautiful, intubated, cervical collared body grow cold. The silence of her heart and her breathing was absolutely deafening. It resounded and echoed around inside my head. This is the sound of forever. I’ll hear it again and again and again for the rest of my life. Gone. Forever. “No.”