Drunk Driving: A St. Patrick's Day Tragedy

When looking at the topic of this week's HubMob, I was torn between writing a fun, upbeat hub about the St. Patrick's Day holiday, or writing one about a story of a personal tragedy in my family. I felt the need to write both. This one is more of a cautionary tale for parents of teenage children, and the teenage children, themselves.

All of what I write in here is true. It happened to our family, and similar stories have happened to others I know. All of it is painful, and this may be one of the hardest things I ever write. Mostly because I am so hesitant to do so, and it causes me great pain to revisit these memories. Please read this and know that this happened to my family, but it could just as easily have been your family, or the family of someone you know. It isn't about St. Patrick's Day, either. It could easily have been Independence Day, Christmas Eve, etc. Share this with others, so that this message gets out to as many people as possible. If, by writing this, I have saved one person from harm, then I have done what I set out to do.

My beautiful sister. photo by AMB
My beautiful sister. photo by AMB
My sister as a little girl. Photo by AMB
My sister as a little girl. Photo by AMB

The Story

Some parts of this story have been told to me second hand, as I was not there when all of this happened. Some of the events that occurred are known only to those that were there, and in truth, I may never know what really happened. I only know what I know; I know what type of person my sister was, what type of person she wanted to be, and what happened to our family.

My sister was a senior in high school. She was a bright, bubbly, and very talented young girl. She had her whole life ahead of her, and she had so much promise. I know, people always say that, but in her case, it couldn't have been more true. She was a dancer on the varsity pom squad at school, a recent winner of a regional beauty pageant, a courageous and dedicated member of a water ski team, and a talented singer. I could go on and on about how great she was. I often smile when I think of her, and sometimes I cry, as well. I can't help it.

On St. Patrick's Day, several years ago, her school let out early for the day. This was also to be her first day of work at her very first job. Apparently, it was planned that there would be a party at the home of a friend of hers. So, she left school and went to the party with her boyfriend.

As with many teenage parties, where the parents are not around to supervise, alcohol was involved. The alcohol was obtained through a friend of the brother of the girl hosting the party. As far as what happened at the party, I can't really say. Different versions of events have been given by those at the party, and I can only speculate as to what really happened. I find it strange that there have been several, conflicting accounts of what happened that day. I also find it strange that some of the kids at the party refused to talk about it without being granted immunity. Immunity from what? Despite the fact that my sister was a smart girl, and despite the fact that she knew she had her very first day of work at the same place where my mother also worked, she had alcohol in her system. That much is known. How it got there, however, is not known. As I said, different stories have been told, and even after all this time, no one really knows what happened. I know my sister was a smart girl. It doesn't add up in my head, and some of you may be thinking that I didn't really know my sister. Teens hide things, they keep secrets and do things they shouldn't. Trust me, I know this. I clearly remember what it was like to be a teenager.

At some point, she decided to leave the party, then dropped her boyfriend at his home, and headed off to work. Again, there are conflicting statements as to the timeline of this. Her boyfriend said she went back to the party, but it doesn't fit with the time that he said they left, or the time she had her accident. He later changed his story, and said she never went back to the party. I don't know what to believe.

At some point, she headed off to work. It was March, and the roads were still icy. The weather in the Midwest can be unpredictable at that time of the year. She was running late, and in a hurry to get to work on time, and lost control of the car as she was coming around a corner. Her car hit a telephone pole hard enough to almost split it in half.

Rescue personnel arrived at the scene, and a few minutes later, a car rounded the corner. This car pulled over. The driver of the car sat looking on in horror. The car that was wrapped around the telephone pole looked startlingly similar to the very car she owned, and that her teenage daughter should have been driving. The person that was pulled over on the side of the road, watching in horror, and wondering as to the people involved, was my mother. She pleaded with the police to give her some information. She gave them a description of the person in the car, things that would have been in the car, and the make and model of the car.

They told her it was very difficult to determine the make and model of the car, due to the amount of damage, but that the passenger did happen to be a young, possibly teenage, blonde, and that yes, the descriptions she provided as to what was in the car did match. It was my sister, it was my mother's car. The worst nightmare a parent could ever imagine was right in front of my mother's eyes in the harshest way possible.

Canadian Drunk Driving PSA

My parents have become advocates against drunk driving, and give presentations at schools
My parents have become advocates against drunk driving, and give presentations at schools
My sister after the accident
My sister after the accident

What Is ARDS?

ARDS, or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is when fluid builds up in the tiny air sacs in your lungs, think pneumonia, only worse. It tends to occur in those that are already severely ill, or have had devastating injuries (like my sister). A large number of people who end up developing ARDS, do not survive.

It can be caused by sepsis (massive infection), inhalation of dangerous substances (including smoke from a fire, or aspiration of vomit into the lungs), a very bad case of pneumonia can escalate into ARDS, or crushing injuries to the head, and/or chest (as in a car accident).

In my sister's case, it is believed that she aspirated some vomit into her lungs, and combine that with the infection she already had, that led to sepsis, and her already frail condition, the result was almost inevitable.

The Outcome

My sister, amazingly, did not die that day. She was very badly injured. She had broken her femur, her pelvis, and several other bones. She sustained a serious head injury. The doctors were unsure of her long-term prognosis. She was in the hospital for a very long time.

I flew out there the next day. My parents and I lived in the ICU waiting room for the entire two weeks that I was out there. It was all the time I could get off work. When I say we lived there, I mean it. We ate and slept in the waiting room. They allowed for it at that hospital, and even brought us blankets and pillows. Friends and family brought us food, and other comforts. Someone was always at my sister's bedside. She had surgery after surgery, but still, there was no indication of her long-term chances. I flew home with no more answers than I had when I arrived.

Over time, her broken bones and cuts all healed. She was in a coma for months, as her body struggled to repaired itself. The waiting was agonizing. Several months in a rehabilitation facility followed the few months in the ICU. Finally, she was able to come home. She was still minimally responsive, and in what the doctors called a partial vegetative state. She wouldn't talk, but she would make noise, and it seems as if she could see you when she looked at you. It was so hard to see her that way.

She was cared for day and night by my mother, with the aid of a visiting nurse. My mother traveled with my sister to her frequent therapy appointments, and attended to her every need. All in the hopes that little by little, she would return to a semblance of her former self. Months had passed, and she had done little more than open her eyes and groan. But, that was something! A glimmer of hope!! She was making progress. Every little eye movement, every little moan was a sign that she was still in there...somewhere.

They played music for her, talked to her, read to her, and held her hand when it seemed she was in pain. The months of agony for my parents went on and on. I can't imagine the heavy weight of sadness in the house with them. Sadly, I cannot tell you that this story has a happy ending.

Seven months after the accident, she was stricken with a fever, and had begun throwing up. My parents rushed her to the emergency room. It was an infection, and she needed antibiotics, is what they were told by the doctors. She was admitted to the hospital once again, and seemed to be improving, so she was sent home. For a short time, it seemed that this crisis had passed. Just a bump in the road. Then she started throwing up again. The fever returned. She was once again rushed to the emergency room, and once again admitted to the hospital. Once again, she ended up in the ICU. More aggressive antibiotics were given, and much was done to help her.

Then I got a call. "Please come home. Come home now. There isn't much time." I knew it was bad. I flew home the very next day, on the first flight I could get. Her condition deteriorated. She became septic. They called it ARDS. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. A thing that still makes no sense to me. It sounds like one of those things that they tell you when they don't really know what to tell you. Like SIDS. The answer when no answer is possible. I know that isn't really the case. I looked up information on ARDS later on down the road, so that I might understand.

After hours upon hours, upon hours of talking, my parents made the hardest decision a parent ever has to make. The doctors could do nothing for her. She had a very low chance of survival, and an even more diminished quality of life if she were even to survive. So, after eight months of struggling, my sister quietly passed away. She had a room full of friends and family around her as she took her last breaths. She was surrounded by signs of the love everyone had for her. There were a lot of tears, a lot of cries of pain and anguish. There was also a lot of love.

The outpouring of love my family felt in the weeks and months that followed was a true tribute to the great person my sister was. So, every St. Patrick's Day is tainted with a lot of sadness. I always wear a little pink (her favorite color) with my green in honor of my baby sister, whom I loved dearly. I see her everywhere, and feel her close to me when I need a guardian angel. I miss her so much, and though I know I will see her again, I am saddened because the world lost out on so much the day she passed away.

One beer is one beer too many

A Note to Parents

I wanted to include a small note to the parents and teenagers who may read this.

Parents, please, be aware of what your children do. I know it isn't possible to watch them every second of every day, but be aware of what they do. My parents are great parents, my sister was a great kid, and they had a great relationship, and this still happened. Don't assume you know what your child is doing at every minute of every day. Talk to your children. And, just as important as talking to them, LISTEN to them. Hear what they have to say. Keep an open and honest dialogue with your kids. Start when they are young, so they know they can come to you if they need to. A strong foundation of communication is the best way to prepare your children for those difficult decisions they will be faced with throughout their lives, and it is the best tool a parent has for protecting their children when they get to the age when they feel they don't need protecting.

Talk to them about alcohol and drinking and driving. Tell them that it's OK if they need to call you because someone was drinking and can't drive, or that they have been drinking and can't drive. Do not see this as giving them permission to drink. Trust me, if they want to drink, they are going to do it no matter what you say. But, it is far better to have a child who will be honest, and call you, asking for you to pick them up because they have been drinking than to have a tragedy like this happen, all because they were afraid of you getting angry with them.

To the teenagers out there. It seems like such a short time ago that I was a teenager, but the years have been slipping past faster than I notice them. I do remember what it was like. I drank when I was in high school, and I put myself into my fair share of bad situations, but I never got into a car with someone who was drinking, and I never drove after I had been drinking.

Even one drink, one beer, is one too many!!

I can't stress that enough. If you find yourself in a situation where the person giving you a ride has been drinking, call someone!! Call a sibling, parent, cousin, friend, neighbor, anyone!! Do not get into a car with that person. If you have been drinking, DO NOT DRIVE!!! Even if it was just one drink. Even if you don't get into an accident, you could get into serious trouble. Many states now have a zero tolerance policy for under-age drinking and driving. You could loose your license, be hit with huge fines, and other punishments. Please, if you have been drinking, do not drive! Call a friend or relative to pick you up. If you are afraid of getting in trouble, call a friend, or a relative you can trust.

Please remember to be safe this St. Patrick's Day, and every day!! The world is a much better place with you in it!!

© 2009 Anna Marie Bowman

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Comments 80 comments

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Anna Marie Bowman 4 years ago from Florida Author

Mr Archer-- So much pain in the world. It begins to get difficult to deal with. I hate to hear stories of the lives of people so young being ended far too soon, but at the same time, it serves as a cautionary tale to those that come across this, and read it. I could not imagine how hard it must have been to have to give out news like that.


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

First let me offer my heartfelt sorrow for you and your family. I have lost a brother in law to suicide. He was almost like a son to me. Still can't hear "Hero" by Mariah Carey without tears. It's been 14 years. I also had to inform some co-workers about a loss involving alcohol and one of our co-workers. She was 18, a high school senior, less than a month from graduation. She wasn't driving, but her boyfriend was. He was drunk also. Overturned coming off the interstate returning from a party. One of the most devasted people was a close friend of hers who worked with us also. I will never forget breaking the news to her. As management, it was my duty, but a tremendously difficult one. Another young lady, also 18 and had just graduated. Less than 6 months later, she too was killed. Not from drinking and driving, but from taking friends home from a party where alcohol was present. She delivered them safely home, then fell asleep driving on the same interstate her friend had died on a few months before. This one almost broke our store's heart. Two lively, young, beautiful lives snuffed out far too soon because of alcohol. One directly, one indirectly, but caused just the same. People, don't drink please! It will cause nothing good in your life, and will cause far too much pain to others.


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Anna Marie Bowman 4 years ago from Florida Author

truthfornow-- I hope that it does. Most teenagers think they are invincible, and it is hard to get through to them. I hope that this helps. Thank you!!


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 4 years ago from New Orleans, LA

This story will help a lot of people. Teenagers think nothing bad can happen. It is hard to get through to them sometimes. But your story proves that we must continue to try. Your parents are amazing for what they are doing to help others. You are brave for sharing your pain with the world in the hopes of preventing tragedy.


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Anna Marie Bowman 4 years ago from Florida Author

eye say-- Thank you so much. Years have passed since this happened to our family, but the pain is still so fresh. I am thankful that I have the means to share this with others, in hopes of making a difference on my sister's behalf.


eye say profile image

eye say 4 years ago from Canada

wow an amazing story that made me cry.

I am so sorry for your loss but grateful for your courage to write and share it. It must have been hard to compose, but you did a beautiful job.

You have shared very wise words that I hope are heard by everyone who reads and shares them.

Have a peaceful St Paddy's Day...


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Anna Marie Bowman 4 years ago from Florida Author

satice-- A strong relationship between a parent and a child is very important, but even with that strong relationship, things like this happen. Thank you so much, and God bless you, as well.


satice_j profile image

satice_j 4 years ago from via the Bronx, NY

Your story is a powerful testament to not only kids drinking and driving but to the relationship that should be fostered between a child and his/her parent. I agree it should start at a young age. Sometimes we wonder why a loved one was taken away, yet in all things there is a plan and so I pray and know your sister is in a better place and she is smiling down on you truly. My heart goes out to you and I will be in prayer that it only gets easier for you. God Bless you and yours, Anna Marie. God Bless.


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Anna Marie Bowman 5 years ago from Florida Author

Laura-- It really has offered me some peace. It helps me to know that I might have helped someone else. Thank you so much for your comment.


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Laura du Toit 5 years ago from South Africa

My heart goes out to you and your family and friends. Unfortunately no matter how much love we give to our children, no matter how much we educate them on the dangers of substance abuse we cannot make decisions on their behalf. It only takes one irresponsible decision to change evrything as we know it. I hope that sharing this story helped you to get some peace as you reached out to help others.


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Anna Marie Bowman 5 years ago from Florida Author

Exmoor-- Thank you for your kind comments. I can't help but cry every time I read this. I am glad that through this, you were able to get to know someone, even in a little way, who was affected by such a tragedy.

DTroth-- It wasn't easy, and still isn't. Thank you for reading!

Silver Poet-- They say time heals all wounds, but it is untrue...time only makes us forget...at least a little. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to write this, and that it is out there for others to read, because even if it only helps one person...it helped the world.


Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

Thank you for sharing your sister's story. I hope more people wake up to the dangers of impaired driving.

There are no words I can say that will make the heartache heal, but there is good being done when others are prevented from falling into the same trap. Voted up.


DTroth profile image

DTroth 5 years ago from My Little Hole In The Wall, HubPages, USA

Anna Marie,

I'm so sorry about your sister. ):

It couldn't have been easy for you re-living the pain of losing her while writing this. You are a strong person, my dear.

Thank you for sharing her story with us to try and help others.

May peace be in your heart...always,

Diana


Exmoor 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing. You almost made me cry. Don't take that wrong because I never cry when I read things usually. I was so close. My deepest condolences. Blessings to you for finding the strength to share this. Many teens like me hear the stories about drinking and driving, but it never completely reaches us because it is simply words. We didn't know those people. With your hub, you gave us a glimpse of the person your sister was, and then told us what happened. It wasn't a lecture, and it WILL make a difference in the lives of the people who read it. Thank you.


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Anna Marie Bowman 5 years ago from Florida Author

Anthony-- Thank you. I agree. I know I have done some stupid things under the influence of alcohol. I just hope that this story makes people think before they make a decision that could cause this much tragedy.


AnthonyJ.Langford profile image

AnthonyJ.Langford 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Thanks for sharing Anna Marie. What a terribly sad story..A parent's worst nightmare.. especially for your poor mother having found her..

Very sorry for you too.. a loss for everyone..

The problem with alcohol is that once it's in the system, rationality goes out the window..normally sensible people do foolish things..perhaps especially when young..

Thanks again..and so very sorry..


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Anna Marie Bowman 5 years ago from Florida Author

lorlie-- Thank you! I commend your courage to openly talk about your own issues with alcohol. I, too, know what it is like to live with an alcoholic. It really does tear your family apart. It's part of the reason my parents got divorced. I admire your strength for overcoming it, and for sticking by your husband. I hope he finds the strength you have found and makes a change in his life, as well.


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 5 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Anna, I am so sorry for your loss. Your sister was in a situation where young people, good young people, choose to drink. Sometimes their age blinds them to the potential consequences.

Though I have never known anyone who has died as a result of a DUI situation, my experience with alcohol follows: Alcohol killed my mother in 1988, almost killed me in 2008, and is currently killing my husband-whom I adore. The deaths and near deaths in my family were not the result of tragedies such as yours, but of alcoholism, plain and simple. The saddest part is that families are torn so terribly.

I became sober because I had no choice, and am enjoying my own sobriety, but living with active alcoholism is a nightmare. This hub points out the tragedy inherent in most alcohol related 'activities' such as driving...I am lucky to have survived-I drove drunk for many years. That is a confession I am not proud to make, but we who abuse alcohol need to take responsibility.

Your sister was a precious, lovely woman and I am glad you chose to share this story.

Thank you.


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Anna Marie Bowman 6 years ago from Florida Author

psychicdog-- It is a hard thing to read, even for me, even after all this time. I am glad you did read it, though.


psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 6 years ago

I had difficulty reading this...but to be an approachable parent is so important. Thankyou so much for reminding me of this.


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Anna Marie Bowman 6 years ago from Florida Author

vocalcoach-- Thank you! It's hard to believe it's coming up on five years since I lost my sister, and it's still so hard. It's hard to go back and read this, but the comments have all been so supportive.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Dear, sweet Anna Marie - There are no words to express how sorry I am for your loss. A terrible and tragic experience. You are such a strong and wise young lady. I wish you peace and love along with much success.


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Anna Marie Bowman 6 years ago from Florida Author

Sunshyne1975-- Thank you. It was a struggle to write, and still a hard thing for me to read. I hope it does reach people and help them. God Bless!


Sunshyne1975 profile image

Sunshyne1975 6 years ago from California, US

This definitely made my cry. Thank you so much for sharing. It is written beautifully. I hope it will make people think twice before drinking and driving. God bless you.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

IslandVoice-- I love reading about experiences and ideas other writers have had. I agree, so much can be learned from it. I do hope that this has reached people.


IslandVoice profile image

IslandVoice 7 years ago from Hawaii

Loved ones lost are irreplaceable. You are brave to tell this sad and tragic story about your sister. The reason why i love writings and writers who share their own personal experiences, no matter how painful they are, is because they touch a variety of chords among us who read. There are lessons to be learned, and in your case, who knows how many will be forewarned. My deep condolence to your family and thanks to you.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

wordscribe-- Thank you so much! I miss her every day. I hadn't read this in a while, and just re-read it. It still makes me cry.


wordscribe41 7 years ago

Anna, I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful sister. Thank you so much for sharing this heart wrenching story as it is a very important one. I have great admiration for your parents who've chosen to honor her life by educating others on the dangers of drinking and driving. Your hub had me in tears for all of you... And the many others who've been faced with this terrible tragedy.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

BP-- Yes, my sister was gorgous, and bubbly, and sweet. Thank you!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! That really means a lot to me!!


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

Oh Anna I am speechless. She was absolutely beautiful. I am so so sorry for you and your families loss. My heart is nearly beating out my chest.....I send all my love to you on this day my beautiful HP friend.....all the hugs my arms can give to you.....Love you heaps x0x0x0x0x0x0x0


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

AEvans-- Thank you! My sister was a beautiful, sweet girl, and I miss her every day. She loved penguins, especially Chilly Willy, so that's why I got the tattoo. Thank you for the info on ARDS. I know that the doctors explained it to us, and everything at the time, but I was so upset, and emotionally distraught, that it really didn't stay with me. I guess the injury itself wasn't the cause, but the infection later on, added to the fact that she was still in a partial vegetative state, and everything is what led to the ARDS and yes, sepsis. She didn't even look like herself at that point. I am sure, as a nurse, you understand what I mean.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

That made me cry and how sad as she was so young and absolutely beautiful, it is wonderful that your family are advocates and what a loving sister you are to wear the pink and the tattoo is adorable, this story touched my heart. I also have given you a briefing on what ARDS is as I hope this helps.

ARDS is a type of severe lung dysfunction which can effect one or both part of the lungs brought on by severe illness or severe injury and can progress to other parts of a persons organs and normally develops within 24-72 hours after the original illness occurs and is always high priority in hospitals ...ARDS can develop with Sepsis or from Trauma, Shock, Pneumonia as well as other causes, I unfortuantely as a Nurse has seen ARDS work on both sides as some pass away and others survive, it saddens my heart that you had to experience this. God Bless


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

MM-- Thank you. It really is incomprehensible. I went through that first week, waking and thinking she would be there, or that she was just off at school, and she would be home. It seemed to become real to me in stages. Sometimes, it still doesn't feel real. I hope someone reads this and thinks of getting a DD or a cab if they do choose to drink.


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Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Oh Anna Marie, I'm so sorry for your family's loss. It's incomprehensible that such senseless tragedy can snuff out the life of a beautiful, promising young person.

Thank you for sharing this cautionary tale about the dangers of underage drinking. Since St. Parick's day is traditionally about drinking to excess (adults as well), this is the perfect pairing of messages. Great hub!!


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Mrs Hozey-- I can only hope that they do.


Mrs Hozey profile image

Mrs Hozey 7 years ago

That's so sad. Thank you for sharing. If only people paid attention to real-life stories like this.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Mike-- I don't mind, not at all!! Thank you!! Interesting info on the descendent of Jacob!!! I think you could put together an interesting hub on the subject!!!


Make  Money profile image

Make Money 7 years ago from Ontario

Here's a site to learn Irish Gaelic Anna Marie.  They have a forum to ask questions too.

http://www.erinsweb.com/gae_index.html

If you like Celtic stories you might like the Milesian genealogies. Milesius was a descendant of Jacob (of Abraham, Issac and Jacob). Most of the Irish and Highland Scots are descended from one of the three sons of Milesius. I see my line from Heremon 84. Apparently we can trace our line back to Adam and Eve from this with a little research. The links at the top of the page are interesting too.

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~fianna/history/m...

The Milesians also brought Lia Fail to Ireland. You may have heard about it. It goes by a few names, Jacob's Pillow, the Stone of Destiny, the Coronation Stone and a few others. It was said to have roared with joy when the right Ard Ri (High King of Ireland) was picked to be crowned on it. A couple of months ago I had a discussion in the HubPages forums on the importance of Lia Fail today. It starts about half way down this page if you are interested.

http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/8543?page=3

I hope you don't mind me posting this here Anna Marie? There should be a lot of people looking at your hub between now and St. Patrick's Day that may be interested in this too.

Mike


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Either is fine. I can understand. I had a friend who's name was Ann Marie, and she prefered that to just Ann, as well. Yes, the kid in that video did look like quite the character!! Still, maybe I can get him to teach me Gaelic!


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Make Money 7 years ago from Ontario

Your welcome Anna or Anna Marie?  My sister's name is Anne Marie.  She doesn't like just Anne.  Stems from mom's rules. :-)

Yeah I've always wanted to learn Gaelic too. The young lad saying the Lord's Prayer looks like quite the character.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Mike-- Thank you so much!!! That video was great!!! The Lord's Prayer in Gaelic is really beautiful! I have always wanted to learn Gaelic.

Frieda-- Thank you. This was hard to write. I wish you the best of luck with your children, as they go through their teenage years and beyond. Treasure the moments you have with them!!

Shalini-- Thank you so much!! Please, do share this with your daughter!! The more people this message gets to, the more of a chance it has to make a difference in someone's life.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

Just noticed this hub Anna - can't think how I missed it earlier. Thank you for sharing your story - I can see from the comments how it's touched all who read it and after Dottie's comments, I knew I wanted to share this hub with my teenage daughter too as soon as she gets home.

It must have been devastating for your family - I'm so sorry.


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Wow, Anna. I don't know how you wrote this, but you did so freakin well. I don't know that I could have gotten past the tears. But this is a truly important message and I'm so glad you got it out there.

My kids are nearing their teenage years and I am terrified of something just like this happening. We plant seeds that they will hopefully remember when the time comes, but unfortunately I'm afraid they will do what they want no matter what at some point. When you have your whole life ahead of you, it's hard to imagine you could take that life away from you and others in a split second of time. That's all it takes. One split second.

Thanks for sharing.


Make  Money profile image

Make Money 7 years ago from Ontario

Such a sad story Anna Marie.

For you and your sister.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kZuBzY1iHc&feature...

God bless

Mike


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Dottie-- Your daughter's comment surprised me, as well. Thank you again for sharing this with your family. Your daughter sounds like a wonderful girl!! I hope she feels better!!!


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Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

I was checking out the St. Patrick Day Hubmobs and stopped in to see if there were any new comments, not really expecting to see one from my daughter Tracey since she has been home sick from college and sleeping most of the day, hahaha.  

Thank you Tracey for taking the time to read this message even when you are not feeling well.   Did you pass it on to any of your friends?  You never know when you can make a difference!  Keep the message going, girl and hang on to it tightly yourself, love mom:)


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Fenique-- I know that must be hard to have to do. I am sure he doesn't see how harmful what he may be doing now is, but be strong, and I am sure he will thank you one day. Thank you for sharing.

Tracey-- You are more than welcome. It is very great to hear from you, since your mother has mentioned you, previously. It is great to know that the message is getting out there. God Bless!!


tracey 7 years ago

Dear Anna Marie,

I am Dottie's daughter. I would just like to thank you very much for sharing this touching story. It was a great reminder about the dangers of drunk driving. I know never to get in a car with a drunk driver and to make sure my friends don't either. It is much better to be safe than sorry! take care and God Bless!


FeniqueS profile image

FeniqueS 7 years ago from Home

True you can't watch them 24/7 and at some point in time you have to let go and let them grow. But still check for bad weeds of so called friends. I have a 17yr old son that I am having to send away before he destroys himself or someone else or both. And he just can't seem to see it. He hates me now I'm the worst mother that ever lived. But, I do not mind at all. I'll be the worst with a son 6ft above the ground.

I condolences for you great losses, and also thank you for being a Fan.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

SweetiePie-- Thank you!! I hope so, too!

sixty-- Thank you for sharing your own story! You are right, it just isn't natural for a parent to outlive a child. It is heart-wrenching, and the pain never really goes away. Bless you! My heart goes out to you.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Losing of young lives is always a tragedy especially for parents and siblings. My son died in a car accident aged 24. Alone, late at night (early am actually) after a night out. He was the classic insurance statistic but he was also my son. Parents should not have to bury their children it is against the scheme of nature. Reading your hub brings back the pain which never goes away. Thanks for sharing your pain with us. Btw he died on march 27 (13 days after St Patrick's day).

Wonderful piece of writing, baring your soul for us. It takes great courage to do this.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Sorry to hear about what happened to your sister. Hopefully this story will help some younger people think about not drinking and driving when they go out to parties.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Envoy-- Thank you for your comment. I am very sorry for your loss. My sister's name was Jamie, as well. Thank you for contributing your own story.


Envoy profile image

Envoy 7 years ago from USA

I pray that the people whom read your story will take it to heart & pass on. Drinking & driving is never okay. Life is way too short. Your story echos my own families story. I lost my cousin Jamie when she was 19 years old. She had her whole life ahead of her. It was Easter morning. I will never forget it! Thank you for sharing it & reminding us all to take drinking & driving very seriously. Peace and Blessings to you & your family. I am very sorry for your loss.


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Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

naunette-- Thank you!!! I can only dream of this reaching that many people, as to be read in every high school english class. That would really be something!!! I can only hope.

Lupo-- Thank you. It did take a lot of strength to publish this. I debated back and forth with myself about it. I am grateful that this story has touched people, and gotten this message out in a more tangible way.


Lupo profile image

Lupo 7 years ago from Boston Area

This was a difficult story to read so I can only imagine what it is like to have this experience. I'm sorry that this happened to your sister and your family.

Your having said you what did in the beginning of this hub, about it being painful and difficult to write this, tells me that it took some courage to both write and post this. I think it is good that you did work through that. It seems from the comments that your telling this story is fulfilling your wish - to potentially help others think about their own situation and perhaps keep this from happening to someone else.


naunette morrow profile image

naunette morrow 7 years ago

This is such a upsetting stroy for me to read, I can not even imagine going through it. I am so sorry for you and your families loss.

But thank you for writing this. It really is powerful. A great reminder to be careful.

Should be read in every highschool English class.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Patty-- I am glad you don't mind!!

IMissHer2-- You still don't know how to type, do you?? LOL!! (This comment was posted by my aunt. I can tease her if I want to!) Thank you, though!!! I am so glad that this was so well recieved!! Love ya!!! YFN!!!


IMissHer2 7 years ago

Anna Marie (cute)

I am so proud of you and your story. It seems as though you have accomplished what you set out to do. Look at Dottie1 and her son. I pray that other parents and teens heed your warining. Life is way too short and fragile and worth much more than that 1 drink. Much Love and Blessings to you!

YFAK! :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Lovely graphic, ProCW!!!

Dottie1, if you all can touch any number of those 20,000+ students with this story, it's a miracle. it may even become one of those emails that is passed around to contacts - and it will be true.

And I'd be honored to be linked to the Party Page :) I like parties that are fun.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Dottie-- Bless you!!!! Thank you for sharing my story with your children, and hopefully your daughter will share it, as well!!! The more this message gets out, the more people who read it, the more of a chance it has to impact someone's life in a positive way. That is the message my family and I have wanted to pass on. Thank you!!!

Jerilee-- That is a sad story, but despite the outcome, I admire your daughter for having the smarts to hand over the keys when she had been drinking!! The outcome may have been far worse had she been behind the wheel. My blessings to you and your family!


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

What a powerful personal testimony.  My heart goes out to you and your family, it's hard to know what to say.  Still, we're all blessed by you sharing this reminder if it makes one teen think, or their parents more aware.  I raised five kids and this easily could have been one of them in that car.  My only daughter one time allowed a 15 year old unlicensed driver drive her first car -- because she herself had been drinking.  The girl rapped it around a tree in an Orange grove, totalled the car.  Life is fragile and precious.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

Patty - Truer words have never been spoken and thanks for the blessings. Blessings for you too!

Anna - Thank you again! I just hung up the phone with my daughter who is a freshman at UMass Amherst. I shared your story with her as I did with my son last night and sent her this link so she could read. I also asked if she would pass it on to her friends at college. UMass Amherst houses 20,000+ young adults. Let's pray that this tragic story will make a difference in many more by the ripple effects of your story. Thank you for the blessings and blessings back to you too!


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Patty-- Thank you for your Hub on non-alcoholic drinks!!! Drinking (among adults) is fine in moderation, and if done safely, but I do know that there are a lot of people who choose not to drink at all, for various reasons, and often, they are left feeling excluded at parties and other such events. I will add a link to your hub on my St. Patty's Day party hub!!! Hope you don't mind.

Dottie-- What can I say? I started to cry reading your comment. I wrote this, in hopes that it touched at least one person, that it made a difference for at least one person. To know that it has means so much to me!! There are no words to express this. Thank you, and bless you and your son!!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

To make a difference in a young person's life is the miracle of a parent and a friend, Dottie1. Anna wrote bravely and you shared.

Blessings to you and your son Dottie1, Irish and otherwise.


Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

So sad Anna, but thank you very much for your story and more than my words can express I am very grateful that you took the time to do so.  Let me explain...just as I began to read your hub my son came in the room.  He will be 21 in April and does most of the driving amongst his friends. 

Sometimes Anna, when parents try to talk with their kids it goes in one ear and out the other because we are always caught in the middle of and busyness of life that we just cannot always hear.  And to teenagers, when parents speak sometimes its just one more of those, ya ok I heard you but really didn't deals...

Your story came perfectly timed for me and my son.  This opened up discussion for us for a good hour, something that rarely happens anymore.  My son was so interested in the story of your sister that he kept telling me...wait go back...He wanted the whole story and I was grateful that you gave it to him.

Not only did he want to read your story but he wanted to know what everyones thoughts in the comment box too.

Thank you too Patty Inglish for your favorite non-alcoholic drink hub which he also wanted to follow and we read the whole hub all the way through. 

It is people like everyone here who will make a difference in a child's life and it could have just been mine!  ok well I need tissues now so thank you so very much again! This hub has made a difference! ~Dottie


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

Yes, unfortunately, I have seen college students die from alcohol poisoning. I keep coming back to your Hub, because it is important and haunting. I composed a Hub of my favorite non-alcoholic drinks in honor of your sister's memory today.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

UW-- Thank you!! It really is a tough story to tell, and I still don't know how my parents can tell the story over and over, out loud. I could never do it.

Patty-- Thank you for the comment, and for the point about college drinking games. I admit to taking part in drinking games, but only when I was able to stay where I was for the night, but I do know how it can be taken too far, and cause serious problems.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America

An excllent true story for people to see. Alcohol misuse kills many every year, if not directly by alcohol poisoning or auto accident, by the abuse some drinkers dole out to their targets.

In addition to your tragedy, I want to add that college drinking games are extremely stupid. What do some people think it's fun to be drunk? It's ugly.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Thank you for sharing your story. It had me in tears. It is very hard to lose a family member and under those circumstance it makes it so much worse.


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

All of you, thank you so much for your comments, your condolences, your kind words, and your friendship! It means so much. I do hope that others read this, that they are touched by it, and that it prevents at least one such tragedy from happening to someone else. I am grateful that my sister was the only one involved, and that other lives were not destroyed because of this. Thank you again!!


imadork profile image

imadork 7 years ago from St. Peters, MO

A lot of teens don't seem to realize that a poor decision (like DUI) can have tragic consequences for them or someone else. 

Anna, be grateful that your sister's decision did not involve the death or serious injury to another.  Take solace in the fact that this hub may be recalled by one of your readers when the decision to drink and drive is a reality.  Be proud that, just maybe, your sister's story you told here so lovingly will safe lives and prevent another family from going through the grief your family suffered.

Thank you Anna.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Anna, this is the saddest story. I'm so sorry that you had to lose someone you love in this way. A big cyber hug to you.


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Anna I am so sorry for your loss and for your parents and for all who knew and  loved your sister - it just isn't meant to happen this way - generationally it is meant to be the other way - parents then their children -  too hard really - very brave of you to share this with us...

ps what a lovely photograph you have put up of her...


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis

I know how difficult this was for you to write. You've done an admirable--and touching--job. You have always been a friend to me, and I wish I could be your friend now, but I'm sure you are past any condolences from the likes of me. Know that you have touched me and made me feel for you. I can only imagine what you and your family went through. I have almost the same story with my cousin, and that racked me up so bad, so a close sibling...well, I can't imagine.

My love to you, my friend.


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 7 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

This is every parents and families nightmare. Thanks for sharing this with us.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Thanks for sharing this, Anna, what a difficult and sad hub to write. I'm very sorry to learn about your sister, your family tragedy and your loss. I hope your story helps others.


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I'm at a loss for words. Would a hug do? {{{ }}}


Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna Marie Bowman 7 years ago from Florida Author

Thank you so much. It is never easy, whether it is expected or not. I lost my grandfather to melanoma when I was 17, he actually passed away on St. Patrick's Day, and while we knew it was coming, it was still very hard to deal with. Bless you so much for your kindness!


ProCW profile image

ProCW 7 years ago from South Carolina

Hey. I'm sorry for your tragedy! I lost my Grandmother last year to Leukemia and it was expected. I don't know what I'd do if I'd have lost one of my family members to a tragedy like this! Bless you, Anna Marie. I wish you and your family the best.

ProCW

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