Saturday, March 31, 2007

Learning not to forgive

March 31st. It is my least favorite day of the year. It is the day of the year I dread the most. It was on this date in 1991 that I experienced the worst day of my life. Since that date happened to fall on Easter that year, Easter has become a holiday I despise. A holiday I resent. It is a holiday that brings so much hope to so many. Christ was resurrected. Nevermind the fact that I don’t believe it, the general focus of this holiday – faith, hope, rebirth – fills me with seething anger. All because I lost someone I loved on Easter. All because fate brought a drunk teenager barreling down the wrong side of the interstate, ending three lives including his own.

Last year, on this date, I talked about my inability to forgive. How I felt that despite it all, I should try to find a way to forgive. I know now not only that I can’t forgive, but I won’t. Only two weeks ago, I learned that a good friend of mine from high school and college, who I had unfortunately lost touch with, had been killed by a drunk driver four years ago. A drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of .38. A drunk driver who already had two DUI convictions before he found his drunken way onto the road and slammed into my friend. Luckily, this man is serving the maximum sentence of fifteen years for killing Sherri, and he was denied his first parole, thanks to a phalanx of family and friends, along with the support of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. Still, it doesn’t seem like enough. No one has to drive drunk. And to think that there are people out there who have imbibed enough alcohol they can probably barely walk getting into their cars and driving away as if they are invincible. To think that there are people who do this repeatedly, get punished for it, and still don’t change their ways. I can’t forgive these people. I won’t. They don’t deserve my forgiveness. They have robbed the world of three young lives that were worth something, and for what? Simply because they have no common sense. I don’t judge them for being alcoholics. I judge them for driving while intoxicated. I wonder, would they change their ways if it was their son or daughter they had to identify, cold and dead on a metal table?

Perhaps I preach too much about this subject, but it is something that has permanently changed my life. It has changed my personality. Sixteen years have passed, and still it can seem like yesterday. The pain feels the same. The loss feels the same. Does the memory fade as the years pass? Of course. But I know I will never forget exactly what I felt on March 31st, 1991.

This Easter, if you intend to give a little more, consider donating time and/or money to the efforts of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. They are a tireless organization dedicated to eliminating drunk driving, and they assist grieving families in their fight to prosecute the drunk drivers who killed their loved ones.


Anonymous said...

Without even looking for the post, I remember the story perfectly.


deviousdiva said...

I remember it too. I completely agree with every word of this post. It is especially poignant here at this time of year given the number of deaths that occur over the Easter break.

Ginger said...

I share your pain. My dad was killed 15 years ago Sept. 17th by a drunk. This is his tribute on MADD's website:
Do your loved ones have one on there? If so, I would like to see it.

Sending hugs your way.
Ginger in Nashville

toomanytribbles said...

your suggestion is so much more meaningful than lighting candles. i'm sorry for your loss.

Christine said...

I stumbled across your blog while looking for accomadations this summer for me and my 3 year old daughter. I just wanted to comment.
I have two uncles who have had so many DUI convictions. At least 5 a piece. More? Who knows. I don't understand why they're allowed to drive at all. They've never hurt anyone (besides themselves) that I know of, but none the less, I think they should have their licenses permanently suspended and spend plenty of more time in jail if they're caught!

Then there's my uncle who did hurt someone (and it's fairly ironic since the love of his life died in her early 20's when they were slmamed into head on by a drunk driver.) He was on all sorts of things and got into a car accident. The girl who was with him went through the windshield and her throat got slit. Some how he stumbled home and my Nana found him covered in blood and passed out in the bathroom. Somehow, the girl lived. My uncle got in trouble for leaving the scene of an accident. He still has his license and is free to drive. If someone could explain to me how this is allowable and ok, I'd love to hear it. I don't understand it. At all.
I think it's ok to hold onto your anger in a situation like this. Anger ignites passion to stand against something, if it does nothing else.


melusina said...

EllasDevil and DeviousDiva, it means a lot to me that you remember the story. The message is especially important during holiday periods, but it applies always.

Ginger, I am so sorry about your dad. There are way too many stories like this out there. None of my friends have a tribute at the MADD site. =( My high school friend (the one who died 4 years ago) has an entire website dedicated to her memory and the fight to keep the man who killed her imprisoned at

Toomanytribbles, lighting candles is nice too. There are few organizations I'll endorse, MADD is one of them. I think their work is very important.

Christine, I don't understand this either. There has to be some way to keep people like your uncles from driving drunk. I'm glad the girl that was with your uncle lived. I don't know if it is that the punishments aren't severe enough, or what. It is an epidemic all over the world.