08 October 2009

A bad anniversary

October 7th is the anniversary of the day my grandmother was killed in a car accident. It was 4 years ago yesterday. It's strange, it is the event that has basically split my life into "before" and "after", and yet, I didn't remember til noon that it was "the day." Now, to be truthful, I was sick yesterday, so that probably played into it, but I think, after 4 years, it's easier to remember the joy of my grandmother's life and not the thoughtlessness that led to her death. How she loved pansies and dogs and how crestfallen she was when, at the breeder's, picking out my puppy, I told her we couldn't get Robbie because he was already sold; she liked him better than Chancey because his ears stood up while Chancey's hadn't quite gotten there yet. How she cooked to feed the third army; I never realized til I had my own home how much effort it takes to fry chicken and make mashed potatoes, and that was a normal dinner, WITH GRAVY. How she looked the night I walked in to find her feeding my new kitten from a bottle, and how absolutely delighted she was with him, and him with her. Most people have grandmothers who they only know as sweet old ladies who get their hair done; I knew my grammy made moonshine, but then again, that was a time when everyone had a still. I was blessed to be her grand-daughter; I hope she's proud of me.

Because of the way she died, and because it shattered our family, I have made it one of my goals to do what I can to keep any other person from having to go through this. Please drive defensively. It's fall, the leaves are falling and it rains, a cocktail for disaster. SLOW DOWN. If you feel your car start to skid, steer into the skid, not against it. Don't worry about your car. They make more. My grandmother died because the boy in the other car didn't want to hit a guardrail. He overcorrected, lost control, crossed two lanes of traffic, the median, another lane and his back end slammed into the car my parents and grandmother were riding in.

Since you can't really control how other people drive, the one single thing you can do to help in an accident is to wear your seatbelt, no matter where you sit in the car. Make your passengers wear one, no matter where they sit. Gramma was an unbelted rear seat passenger, no one ever wore their belts in the back seat, we figured the seats would protect us. If an accident ever happens, which we assumed never would. And then the sky fell down, and, all of a sudden, it seemed like such a stupid selfish thing to think. And maybe that's her legacy, so that people will know how much it damages a family to lose a loved one over a seatbelt click.

And most of all, cherish your family. Keep the memories of the good times in your heart. No one is ever gone as long as someone who remembers them lives. Tell them that you love them, every day, even if you're angry at something they did. You never know when it will be the last time you get to tell them that.

Saturday will be my grandmother's 92nd birthday. The last promise I made her before I left on the day she died was that I'd get her flowers for her birthday, and so we take her pansies every year. Purple ones, her favorites. HTB understands my need to do this. It's the closest I get to her on earth, and I feel her there. I can give her flowers, and I can hope to make her death a lesson.


Chiloe said...

What a touching story. People scare me and here we have more crazy drivers than in the US... Here it is the law to wear seat belts in the back as well and it has been that way for a long long time.


Suzanne said...

I'm really sorry for your loss. I have lost both of my parents, and it does get easier, but the anniversaries are always hard. Good reminders for safe driving. I didn't always wear my seatblet until I got thrown through the windshield of my it's the first thing I do when I get in.

Sew Wilde said...

I am so sorry about your grandmother. The pansies are a really nice way to remember her every year.


Eva said...

Your Grandmother is smiling down on you and proud of the lovely young woman you have become. Everything that you do in your life will honor her memory.


ohiofarmgirl said...

Losing someone you love is something you never get over but you can put some smiles with the tears as you remember her!! Dianntha

MsB said...

I remember your grammy.. and I know she is also petitioning for me up in heaven. She's just honery enough up there to get it done! :)

I shall watch my driving and pass the story on when i can so that others won't have to have a sister call her with news like you did.

Wub u my heart sister. I'm so thankful to get to share your life.. especially this coming year!


CindyMae said...

This post truly touched me!! I am sorry for your loss and even though it may have been 4 years ago, I am sure that it seems just like yesterday at times. I know that you grandmother would be very proud of you and your reminders for safe driving!!

Terri(TerriBoog) said...

What a lovely post. I am most sure she is proud of you and that she is delighted that you bring her pansies!

Kathy A. said...

What a wonderful granddaughter you are. Your grandma would be so proud of you. You honor her by your words and your flowers. I don't usually wear my seatbelt in the back seat because it digs into my neck but after reading this I promise I will.
Sending warm hugs

Pumpkin said...

Rachel, this is a very touching post since I consider my grandmother my best friend. I'm sorry that you lost her before you were ready to. I don't look forward to the day that I lose mine :o(

Thank you for reminding us about defensive driving and to wear a seat belt no matter what. Who knows when it will save you.

That's so lovely that you bring her flowers every year :o) ((((HUGS))))

I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls