Written by Marie Bate
My mother died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash the evening of October 9, 2009. While my mom, dad and brother were heading to a pizza party at my sisters to celebrate their niece’s arrival home from Texas they were struck by a drunk driver. The impact was right where my mother was sitting. The driver that struck them was 3 times the legal limit intoxicated, speeding and had faulty under-inflated tires. My niece from Texas was literally driving by with the pizza and came upon the crash. That was the last image of her grandmother. My brother relapsed that evening, and shortly after the crash my daughter lost her pregnancy. My mom was rushed to the hospital with multiple serious injuries, non-responsive and died the next morning.
My mom was a kind and generous woman; a retired school teacher. She was a financial donor to many organizations, especially those involving animals. She also was an avid knitter and was always knitting for others – socks for sailors at sea, hats for newborns and sweaters for penguins being rehabilitated. She also baked bread and goodies for shut-ins and those in homeless shelters, as well as for those in recovery from alcohol. She loved her family, was a marvelous cook and spent countless hours enjoying her many grandchildren. She was a true beachcomber and filled all our homes with shells and colorful sea glass she found while walking the beach. She and my Dad, always enjoyed going out to eat and quiet time alone, and would often dress alike. My mom had over 200 people at her funeral, a true legacy of her relationships. I can’t stop crying while writing this.
As a result of this senseless death, we have had to celebrate holidays, birthdays and special occasions without her, and are forced to remember her painful death. We now have many more additions to the family, all that will never get to meet her and know her loving touch. We never got to say good-by, here today and gone tomorrow because of one person’s decision to drive drunk.
The experience we are still going through as a family is horrific, shocking and forever painful. A part of me is missing forever. No matter who we are on our path in life, tragedy can strike us or our loved ones. We cannot stop a hurricane or silence a storm, but we can prevent this crime. I can only hope that by my story everyone will choose to make the right choice regarding drinking and driving and prevent other families from this terrible suffering. My mom, my best friend is not here today because someone chose to drink and then drive a car. My message is that I want people to see the impact that driving drunk has not only on families, but on entire communities. Please get help before you decide to drive impaired.