A young woman died on a snowy highway, miles from home, buckled into her seat next to a friend. Why they were there I do not know. I know that knew her mother; a woman who is as kind and caring and loving as anyone I’ve ever met. I know this young woman recently graduated from university and I’m sure she was looking forward to a bright, exciting career in her chosen field.
I know they were in the wrong place. If only one thing had changed to accelerate or delay the timeline: a stop (or not) to get that coke at the rest area near Henryville, Michelle giving her mother one more/less hug and saying “I love you,” one more/less time, checking the weather one more/less time, or trouble packing the bags in the trunk (or not). If maybe Michelle thought, “Hey, this snow is pretty bad… maybe I won’t try to pass this semi.”
But none of this happened or all of it did and a beautiful life ended at the wrong place and in the wrong time.
My mother once bought a bedroom suite for us two younger daughters. Mom thought it was gorgeous; I thought it was hideous. My sister Amy and I slept surrounded by it for years. When the neighbor’s daughter had her girls, we were in our late teens and Mom was cleaning things out. Laurie needed a bedroom suite for her girls and Mom had one. I hope that Jennifer and Michelle appreciated it in ways that my sister and I did not. I hope they found it beautiful and took care of it (that it survived our treatment is a testament to how well it was constructed). I hope that Jen can continue to find her way without her sister and Laurie finds peace and strength to remember Michelle. For Mark, I hope that he can find a way to be strong for his girls and still deal with his own pain in a healing way.
Who am I to say Michelle was in the wrong place at the wrong time? No one, just someone learning that life is a crapshoot and sometimes the dice come up snake eyes. There are some who would say that Michelle was in the exact right spot and the exact right time, it was pre-ordained, destiny, her time to go. We take chances every day, we don’t have a choice, just waking up can be dangerous. We are so very lucky to survive each day.
“Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." – John Donne