Momlogic's Lindsey spent the weekend consoling a long-time friend. But how do you comfort a man who's just lost his 4-year-old daughter and mother to a drunk driver?
When you hear stories in the news about someone dying from being struck by a drunk driver, you probably say to yourself, "I will never get behind the wheel after having even one drink," but time and time again, people still do.
One American is killed by a drunk driver every 31 seconds--but you never truly know the effect it has on someone's life until you see a person you love and care about suffer from the actions of a selfish, irresponsible human being.
On Saturday morning at 1:01 a.m., one man made the decision to get behind the wheel of his car after a night of drinking. He drove southbound going towards oncoming traffic. The first person to see him coming was lucky enough to swerve out of the way, hitting the center divider and remaining unharmed. But Ryan, a 27-year-old dad, wasn't as lucky. Ryan was driving with his two beautiful daughters (Reagan 2, Delaney, 4) and his mother when they were struck head on.
While the drunk driver was able to survive this crash (because for some reason they always do), the innocent victims, 4-year-old Delaney and her grandma, had to suffer--leaving Ryan to live without his mother and little girl.
When Ryan called me on Sunday to tell me this news, my heart broke into pieces. How does someone ever recover from the death of a child, and the death of their mother at the SAME TIME? How are you ever the same? How do you help a friend get through the most devastating thing that will ever happen to them? These were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head when Ryan first told me.
When sitting with Ryan, he talked about taking Delaney to Disneyland last week and showed me pictures and videos from their trip. He talked about signing her up for gymnastics and how excited she was for it, and about her funeral and how he wants everyone to play her favorite games and celebrate the four amazing years we had with her.
Delaney was an energetic, loving little girl who didn't get a real chance at life because someone decided they wanted to get wasted and then get behind the wheel. This single individual was able to change the lives of so many people by taking away a loving mother and an innocent child. My heart aches for my good friend Ryan, Delaney's mother Julia, and the rest of his family.
It is so important that we talk to our kids about the effects of drunk driving and the consequences of what can happen, even if it's just getting into a car with someone who has been drinking. I can say that I'm guilty of driving with someone who's had a few drinks, but said they were sober enough to drive. How stupid was I? Seeing first hand the effects it has on a family--it's something that will stay with me forever.