3 years ago on May 1, my cousin’s girlfriend Loren was in a car accident. They had 2 small boys. She was such a great mother, it just came so naturally to her. She loved the color green, gardening and flowers (tulips were her favorite), and being around her family and friends. Loren and my cousin had their first son at a very young age and the second one followed not long after. She put her dreams on hold to be a stay-at-home Mom. Not long before the accident she had finally just started back up with college courses. Loren was on her way to school the day of the accident. It was a Friday, mid-morning, and she was on a highway that had construction being done. The road had a lot of gravel and had a few curves. We’re not quite sure what happened, but there is a possibility she may have been texting while taking one of the curves. Her tires skid on the gravel and her car slid under a construction vehicle parked on the side of the road. She was wearing her seat belt but the top of her car was crushed as it went under the truck and she sustained severe head trauma.
My Mom called me around 11 am. We were supposed to be meeting up that day for coffee and to spend some time together. She told me that Loren had been in a car accident, but we didn’t know any more. 30 minutes later she called again and said that she was at Regions Hospital (in Saint Paul, MN) and that her condition was serious, I believe her exact words were “it’s not good.” We were asked to watch their kids while my cousins, aunts and uncles went to the hospital.
I could tell the children knew something was off, but of course no one had told them anything yet. A few hours went by, it seemed like days, before were called and informed that Loren was not going to make it and that my other cousin’s husband was on his way back to pick the kids up and bring them to the hospital to say goodbye.
As we were en route to the hospital it seemed surreal. I don’t think I started crying until I saw my cousin. I broke down when we hugged and I don’t think I stopped crying for hours. My cousin told me that the head trauma she sustained was so severe that she was essentially “brain-dead.” The doctors said that there was so much uncontrollable swelling that she would not be able to come back from the damage it had done to her brain. Apparently she had been dead on the scene of the accident and had to be revived several times. The car was so crushed that it took a while to get her out.
He and her family decided they were going to take her off life support.
I was allowed to see her before we left. It was odd because her head was so swollen that she was unrecognizable, but the rest of her body was perfect. I remember looking at the smooth skin of her flat belly that was sticking out from her hospital gown and seeing a little mole on this spotless surface. I thought of how beautiful she was even now. She was lovely not only on the outside, but she was also such a gorgeous person on the inside. I looked at her parents and siblings standing around her. I watched the 2 boys, so young and confused and scared.
The next day was a Saturday. It was the day I was supposed to be celebrating Vanella’s birthday at his mother’s house. We were having a big barbecue and playing yard games. In the morning I went to brunch with some girlfriends, but I could not eat much. My cousin called and said they were taking her off life support that day. I don’t remember much of the day or night except embarrassing bursts of uncontrollable crying.
My point in telling this story is that April is “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.” I don’t know that Loren’s accident was caused by texting or using her phone in any way. But I know there is a chance it was, and I do know that many other teens and adults have died because of this too. Is what you have to say really that important to risk your life for? Or can it wait until you can pull over or stop somewhere? I know that I am still guilty of doing this and even though I have gotten better in the last 3 years, I know I need to stop completely. I don’t want my life, or any one else’s, to end with “lol” or “where should I meet you?” It’s just not worth it. Please make an effort to stop using your phone while driving. I think this is a lesson, or part of it, that Loren would want to have left behind.