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A Night to Remember
I was there, once again, for the third time, for the same reason. We sat there on the cement bench at the end of her grave, thinking, crying silently. 10: 43, every December 23rd, we were there to mourn and reflect and for once realize that she was never to return. And every time, the same memory popped into my head, the night I was never to forget.
It was a normal night in my house hold. There was running, shouting, and the sound of the washing machine. I was trying to get my clothes together because, of course, it was Christmas Eve at Grandma’s and I had nothing to wear. I ran down stairs in a hurry to be first to the washing machine. I was instantly startled by the sudden vision of Hannah and Emily with a pile of clothes in hand. I took them, knowing there was no way out of doing their laundry. “I swear I’ll give you something later. Kay Tillmill?”
“Fine, whatever but it better be something good, like coffee or something.”
“Okay, but I gotta run, me and Em have to be at Joe’s house in a couple minutes or I won’t get to surprise him.”
“Well, I’ll try to have it done in the morning.”
“Love you, Bye!!”
And before I knew it, they were already outside and inside Hannah’s red Chevy Cavalier.
I had finally finished all the laundry for the next couple of days, and lay down on my bed next to Grace’s. We turned on the TV and slowly fell asleep.
At about midnight, I heard someone say, with a shaky voice;
“Girls, I need you to come downstairs and sit on the couch.”
I groaned and went downstairs and sat at the couch like I was told. As Grace and I sat there, wondering what was going on, tears fell from mothers face, worrying us of what was yet to come. I held on the one side of my Dad, with Grace on the other, and waited. Waited for what seemed like a half an hour, to hear the most frightening words of my life.
“Hannah and Emily were in a car accident.”
There was a pause.
“Emily was airlifted to the hospital. Hannah...”
I burst into a river of panic. Questions ran through my mind, the questions of a 10 year old.
“Hannah’s dead.” hit me like a knife in the heart leaving me with an excruciating pain. I didn’t know what to feel, or say for that matter. I heard the wails of heartbreak from my little sister, wanting to relieve her of it.
“What are we going to do?” I asked.
“Pick an older sister to stay with for awhile.”
Me and Grace discussed and settled on Rachel. A couple minutes later, Rachel came into the house. I ran upstairs in a hurry to pack some clothes, and rested on Hannah’s clean clothes that lay on my bed. Once packed, I turned the corner into Hannah and Emily’s room. I looked around, realizing that this was the last night that Hannah ever laid peacefully in her bed, and would forever lay in a new bed in Heaven. Rachel came in behind me looking at the pillow where Hannah’s head should have been and whispered,
“Rest in peace little sis, forever and always in my heart.”
A tear dropped from my eye as I touched her bed and looked at the pictures of the smiling face I was never to see again.
The car ride to my brother Fritz’s house was silent. I still didn’t know what to think of this whole mess. I wasn’t even sure if it was actually happening, it was like a nightmare that I never really woke up from. We got there in about 15 minutes, from my house to Fritz’s. Rachel got out of the car, followed by me, and finally Grace. Fritz opened the door to his house, and we came trailing in. Our job was to tell Fritz the news, but we could tell he already knew. He walked over to the couch, as I did. I sat on his lap, laying my head on his chest and started to cry. He put his big arms around me, and also started to cry on my shoulder, as I did on his. I sat up, not knowing what to do next.
“Well, we need to get going. We still have to go tell Kurt.”
We hopped in the car, and all you could here from the car ride to Kurt’s were sniffles and crying. Before we knew it, we arrived at Kurt’s. I was first, walking up the cement steps to their porch. The door bell rang. There were voices. And then a light flashed on. Sharon, Kurt’s wife, came to the door. She could tell something was wrong, and then invited us in. She led us in to their bedroom, as Kurt was sitting up. Grace and I leaned against the door frame, looking at Kurt with a sympathetic stare. Rachel started,
“Hannah and Emily were driving home earlier tonight, and spun out of control and hit another car. Emily is at Harbor View Hospital, and Hannah died instantly. Kurt swore under his breath, not knowing what else to say.
“Is anyone with Emily right now?” Sharon asked.
“Yes, Colette is there.” Rachel replied.
“What are her injuries?” Kurt asked right after.
“She has a broken Fibula and cracked Tibia in her right leg, and lost one tooth but 2 were about to fall out. She has various scratches and cuts, but nothing more serious than her leg.”
They both sighed. Rachel went over to both of them, gave them a hug, and told them to take care and that we should probably be leaving. She grabbed our hands, one on each side, and took us to the car.
I didn’t sleep well that night, on the floor of my baby nephew’s room. I stared at the ceiling, and finally drifted into a soft sleep after being bored for hours of just thinking and worrying and not knowing what was to happen to my family.
I woke up late that morning, to the smell of something in the kitchen. In an instant, I remembered the whole night over again. I walked into the kitchen to greet Rachel and Connor. I sat down, not willing to believe that my sister had died, just that night.
“Can we go see Em today?” I heard from a voice behind me. It was Grace, snuggled underneath a blanket watching TV in the living room.
“If you girls want to. I don’t know if we’ll be able to see her yet because she might be in surgery for the remainder of the day. I’ll call mom, okay?”
“Fine with me.” I said, “What’s for breakfast?”
“Pancakes and bacon are on the counter.”
I got up and got a couple of each, and sat back down. When I was finished I went and changed my clothes, and got ready to go to the hospital.
We walked into the waiting room, and what I saw was people. A whole community of people to help ease our pain, and to comfort my anxious mother and father, were all here. We tried to make the best of it, laughing when we could. An hour into our stay, brother-in-law Ryan pointed out an old lady who seemed to have fallen asleep in her soup!
News soon came that we wouldn’t be able to see Emily because of the pain antibiotics she was on, so we left.
It wasn’t until that day that I realized that people actually cared. They cared about my family in a tough time, and it was taught me to do the same for my friends. Even though this experience was the worst thing that had ever happened to me, but it also impacted me the most in my actions and thinking. A few months after she died, we found out that Hannah had been drinking and driving and that was the cause of the crash.
I think of Hannah everyday, not failing to release those couple tears. But I also like to think about how lucky my family is to have met her, and to still have Emily to tell the story and prevent other teens from drinking and driving.