Today my eldest would have been 32. It is hard to believe 12 years have passed, hard to imagine what might have been had she not been at that spot on that freeway at that moment when that driver who had been drinking came up the wrong side and struck her car, killing three of the five college sophomores headed to New Orleans to volunteer in a grade school over spring break – and shattering the lives of many.
Would she have been tucking in a child tonight? Would she have been laughing on the phone with her sister? Would she have been consoling her mother who grieves her mother? Would she have been on stage? On call? Writing? Singing? Dancing?
And what of the lives that would have been touched by the others in that car?
Who knows how the world would have been different had they not made a wrong turn out of the gas station when they last stopped to switch drivers. Those few minutes would have put them safely past the scene – but who, then, would have been the victim?
What if the one person not drinking among that group at the tavern had been ready to leave when that young man asked for a ride? What if no one had taken him back to his car?
What if we didn’t live in a society unwilling to hurt the bar and restaurant business with strict rules on drinking and driving. Better yet, what if we lived in a society where people wouldn’t even think of endangering others by drinking and driving?
I do not know what would have become of my daughter. I know only that she was a remarkable human being and the world is poorer that she has been taken from us.
Yet the world was richer for the 19 years we had.