A dark wintry night. A crash. Properly installed seats. The passengers in the vehicle? Mom and two children. The youngest child admitted to the hospital for overnight observation is roughed up, but otherwise OK. Mom, the driver, was checked out at the hospital and released to spend the night with her daughter as she slept in her hospital bed. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to get any sleep herself as she was frantic with worry about her other daughter who was life-flighted to a different hospital out-of-state, a place better able to handle her traumatic injuries.
The injuries were great in this crash, but not all were directly attributed to the initial impact. There were related injuries: dad severely broke his leg jumping out of his truck after he came upon the scene and tried to run over to help. A family friend, stricken by PTSD from another crash which happened upon this same stretch of road right in front of her house–her parked van was totaled minutes after she and her family vacated it. This family friend heard the crash and helped pull the mom and girls from the wrecked vehicle and now has the visions of the aftermath and the injured children etched into her mind. Other friends, lives gladly put on hold as they flew to the out-of-state hospital to be a support system for dad as he sat with his gravely injured daughter, unwilling to let doctors operate on his broken leg until her condition changed more favorably. But it never did.
The group of friends that the family friend turned to for support after this terrible crash. They all worried about this little girl too, and worried about their friend. The little girl’s young sister–barely old enough to know that her sister won’t be coming back. The doctors and nurses who treated the fatally injured little girl: they have feelings too. The coroner who did the autopsy I’m sure must be affected as well. All the lives this little girl suddenly touched because of one night, one crash; all the lives this little girl touched throughout her five years on this earth. All the lives this little girl won’t be able to touch in the future. All that will never be is why we do what we do–so this doesn’t have to rip apart another family, leave friends grieving.
Would this little girl have died, or have been less injured, had conditions been different? Who knows? That’s not my point. It’s all just collateral damage for a crash that claimed the life of a little blue-eyed girl who loved pink and purple in a family just going about its daily business.