Why, Jaime? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 17, 2012
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“What's going on?”

Chills run through my body as Aunt Lisa replies, “She's been in a car accident and they can't find her.”

Jaime is the oldest of my three cousins, the sister I never had. She filled the void I experienced growing up with two older brothers. She was there with me in every baby picture and home video, and our relationship forged into a tight bond as teenagers.

We called local hospitals, jails, and Jaime's friends in search of information. Speaking with her best friend, we learn that Jaime left a party with two friends, both of whom ended up at a nearby hospital.

Two hours later, and Jaime is still missing.

I begin thinking of all that she is to me – a best friend, a loving cousin, and a guiding sister. She smothers me with affection, always greeting me with consuming hugs and kisses. I realize how much I admire her ability to effortlessly resolve issues and forgive others. With her zest for life and infectious playfulness, Jaime is easy to love. Whenever I envision my future wedding, Jaime is the one standing by my side. Aware of the place she holds in my heart, I can't imagine her suddenly being wrenched from my life.

Although it's easy to speculate, we need more information. Looking for the accident online, we discover a brief article that leads us down a path we are scared to explore. The article states, “Two injured, one fatality.”

Trying to salvage hope, we ask Jaime's uncle to go to the coroner. I have never waited for a call so anxiously. The phone rings, and my mother's voice trembles as she repeats, “No, please, no.”

My body becomes numb, and I am overwhelmed with nausea. As my mother gives her sister the worst news a mother can hear, Aunt Lisa collapses with an agonizing moan. Witnessing a mother realize her child is gone is an unforgettable experience.

I feel broken, lost in the overpowering sadness. As more information trickles in, I become frustrated. Under the influence and possibly distracted, Jaime ran a stop sign and a semi truck collided with her driver's side, killing her on impact.

I am infuriated knowing that this horrific accident could have been prevented. Witnessing this tragedy is a revelation for me; I don't want any other family to have to experience the devastation of such a preventable, untimely death.

I will continue to share my experience in the hope that it might prevent just one person from making a choice with irreversible consequences. I will answer this unspoken call to service, and I am willing to be the voice of reason at the risk of making myself unpopular.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Ameretat said...
Dec. 26, 2012 at 7:44 am
I can tell immedietaly that this is a heart felt story. So sorry for your loss, keep writing.
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