“The Death of a Four-Year-Old”

Written By: Skylar Wallace, Aynor, SC

June 20, 2009, the day that changed an eight-year-old girl’s life forever.

May 6, 2005- Angelina’s birthday quote- “Cherish that which is within you.” – Chuang Tzu

June 18, 2009- Driving down the highway when a drunk driver swerves over into my aunt Delia’s lane and hits her head on at 60 to 70 mph with my cousins Angelina (4) and Cora-ly (3) in the car.  They were rushed to the hospital immediately, but only my aunt Delia was checked out by the doctors. My aunt suffered from internal bleeding, a broken leg and a few broken ribs from being submerged under the dashboard of the vehicle. Angelina (4) didn’t get checked out by the doctors and had a swelling in her brain which caused her to have seizures that caused her to pass away. Cora-ly (3) along with Angelina (4), wasn’t checked out by the doctors, but suffered from intense bruising across the chest where her seat belt locked up on her. The doctors told the family that the girls were fine and didn’t have any severe injuries, yet we still lost Angelina.

June 20, 2009- The story came to my home within the hour it happened. Everyone was crying around me and I just sat there quietly wondering what happened. I sat in my grandparent’s camper with my family. My older sister was hugging my mom in tears, and they were huddled together. My grandma looked at me and told me to come outside with her for a moment. Everyone was crying and I didn’t know what was going on. I sat outside on the steps of the camper while my grandma finally told me what had happened. She didn’t explain everything in detail. She told me that there was a car accident and Angelina had passed away. I didn’t understand how this could happen, and I was devastated. At that moment, I didn’t know who I was anymore.

2009-2015- Angelina’s death caused my life to fall apart. There was no more happiness in my family. Everyone ignored the signs of depression and kept ignoring it until it dragged me under water and led me drown. I didn’t know who I was and I was stuck in a constant cycle that caused me to have to go into a group session with the guidance counselor. We called it grieving group. It was based on getting us through the processes of grieving and getting through the tough times that were ahead of us in life. I became so close to the guidance counselor that when she left, I was devastated and I became isolated again.

During the summer of 2006, I remember taking a trip to San Diego, California to see my aunt Delia and my uncle JoeJoe. When we got to California, we went to the beach and it was so much fun. I also remember going to Six Flags and that my sister rode the Superman ride but my mom got mad at her because it was so dangerous. Those times were the best. We could go out and have a good time when I was so young and everything was about family and the love we all had for each other. I love my family and I will always be there for them but everything was great until we lost the angel that was Angelina.

May 5 2009- Before Angelina passed away, they had come to visit us from California. That was the best time in the world. I had gotten so close to Angelina and Cora-ly that I never wanted them to leave. I wished that I would have spent all my time with her. Angelina or “Bina” loved to tickle me and my family. She was an adorable little tickle monster. She loved being the center of attention and she also loved dressing up and doing little fashion shows. When all eyes were on her, she would have a smile that was miles wide. Angelina and her sister, Cora-ly, also were never separated. They were two halves that made one whole personality, and when they were together they would always rough-house and play around until one of them didn’t get their way. Cora-ly was the more outgoing one of the two, and she always had to have someone be right there beside her. Angelina didn’t like strangers right away but still had to have someone’s attention. They both were so much alike, yet so different.

2009- 2017- How this impacted my life throughout the years is that it made me take different paths to end up on the right track in life. I think that if Angelina was still here then things would be different. I would probably be more social. I wouldn’t have gone through the things that I have and she would still be here with me, tickling me and laughing about it. I miss getting to hug her all the time, and just want to see her again. I know I wouldn’t be the way I am today. What caused everything to fall apart in my life was the death of a four-year-old.

Today, I have come to accept the loss, and I know that the feeling of emptiness will never go away. Depression will always be there to drag me under at the most random times. The hardships of life have brought me to my knees at times, but I have always pushed myself to get back up.

The summer after my eighth grade year, I realized that I couldn’t let the loss of Angelina take over my life anymore. I told myself that I can’t let her death consume me. Even though, I am still an isolated person, I have learned to get through obstacles that get in the way of pursuing my future goals. I will survive. This is the memory that made me look back and say “wow, what a different person I have become because of the death of Angelina Dawn Marie Pittman.”

Quotes:

June 20, 2009- Angelina’s death date quote- “Thank you to life that has given me the strength of my weary feet, with which I have walked through cities and puddles, beaches and deserts, mountains and plains….” –Violeta Parra, “Gracias a la Vida”