We just never know someone’s story.
Unless we talk to them.
Today we talked. And listened.
We sat at a ‘bar’. I ordered iced coffee. I ordered iced tea for my aunt and my husband, who wasn’t with us yet. Husband joined us, took a taste of the drink I ordered for him and decided he didn’t like the iced tea. We had been talking with Miss Renee behind the counter. But as of yet we hadn’t really met her. Miss Renee was intent on making sure my husband was satisfied before he left this counter. He was insisting he would just drink what I ordered him. I took the tea from him and gave it to my aunt, because she liked it.
I pointed out to husband that they had hot chocolate. He agreed and Miss Renee made him up a lovely hot chocolate. Finally, he was satisfied.
Then Miss Renee sat behind the ‘bar’. And she talked with us.
And we finally met her.
We were talking of the loss of life yesterday that we had all read about in the news. We discussed the circumstances and how the family must be feeling and trying to deal with this loss. We were all sympathetic. Miss Renee, however, was very empathetic.
Miss Renee told us how she could relate, she had lost a child in a very unexpected and horrible tragedy.
While Miss Renee was out of town for a basketball tournament her daughter was driving through a green light. At the same time a man was trying to avoid a traffic check point. He ran a red light and as a result, hit Miss Renee’s daughter. Killing her.
Miss Renee told us about the magnitude of the outpouring she received at the loss of her child. She was overwhelmed by the number of people her daughter’s life had touched. She shared with us the trial process of the man who killed her daughter. And she shared with us her coming to terms. She knows he did not act with intention that day. But her daughter is still gone. She knows he did not set out that day to hurt anyone, let alone kill someone. None the less her child is gone. Miss Renee said it’s been five years. And she’s trying.
Miss Renee told us she won’t get to plan or attend her daughter’s wedding. She won’t get to see and hold the grandchildren.
But what Miss Renee does have, is her daughter’s life, and her daughter’s purpose.
Both Miss Renee and her daughter believed in mentoring youth. Miss Renee plans on, as part of her healing, and her daughter’s purpose – to create a mentoring program for girls. To continue what they have both long believed in.
Miss Renee said she feels she is healing. She managed to tell us about her daughter without breaking down. Though her eyes got very bright, as did ours. There will be a day when maybe she can speak to the man who made a horrific decision on a day that greatly impacted the lives of many. Like she said, what would the consequences have been had he just stopped at that check point? He wasn’t under the influence. He didn’t have a license. Jail? Bonded out? A minor inconvenience in the great scheme of things. Instead, he sits in prison. His family and friends, how are they impacted?
Miss Renee and her family and friends? The impact is much different and never reversible.
Miss Renee’s life has been altered. There are things she can’t plan or do now that were taken away from her. She can, however, plan something different. Certainly not better. But different. She can plan to continue her daughter’s life – the benefits of her having been here.
Thank you Miss Renee, for sitting with us. Talking with us.
Letting us be part of your story.