This is a man who I had never met, but it seemed like the most appropriate thing I could do. I would like to have him and his daughter over for dinner when they are up for it. These first few weeks are going to be hard for them if they go through anything similar to my experience.
Last night, J and I were the guests of some old neighbors at the annual fund raising stage review for the local school district. It is a very hammy show where all of the participants are teachers and is guaranteed a sellout audience for the three nights of the show as students and their parents come to clap and cheer as the normally reserved classroom instructors offer themselves up in the name of a good cause. It is amateurish and cheesy, but everyone loves it in spite of, or perhaps, because of that.
It was one year ago that J and I were returning home from the same review that my cell phone went off and I picked up a call from a shaken wife and mother explaining that our 16 year old daughter had just been involved as a passenger in an SUV rollover accident as she and seven other girls were headed for a school dance.
I hurriedly dropped off my son at home and headed for the accident scene. I arrived to the flashing lights and surreal atmosphere of a major accident. There were ambulances and many squad cars. The SUV was upside down in the ditch with the roof caved in right over where my daughter had been sitting. I saw that before I saw her. She was standing in the middle of the road talking to the parents of the girl who was driving. She was bleeding from several minor cuts and had a wild and far away look in her eyes.
After ascertaining that she was not severely injured and declining an ambulance ride to the hospital, I took her home with me. It was the best birthday present I had ever received.
Of the eight girls in the SUV, one was thrown from the vehicle as it rolled. The rest were either belted in or were lucky. They were ALL lucky. No major injuries. Cuts and bruises. I still don't understand how they all walked away. The girl who was thrown out the back hatch landed in a mud puddle - breaking her fall. Last night, they had a reunion as they all headed off to the same dance. This time, they went in more cars.
Tomorrow is another anniversary of sorts. Tomorrow is my birthday and the ten-month anniversary of C's departure. So many things to think about, to be thankful for, and to reflect on. I think that I will plan for a quiet day.