A Family Tragedy

I received a rude and tragic reminder this weekend of how short life can be and how suddenly loved ones can be snatched from us.

I returned home Sunday from a overnight trip to Brookville PA where I attended a Pennwriters Board of Directors meeting to find my husband waiting for me with the news that my cousins had been in a traffic accident.

My cousin Patty was raised by my mom and dad from the age of six months to the age of six years. She is more like a big sister to me than a cousin. We used to play house. She introduced me to rock music and taught me how to do the Twist when I was a little tyke. Plus she and her husband John have lived next door to us for 30 years. John helped build our house. He did all the remodeling jobs on our house and my mom’s house. He used his Bobcat to plow our driveways and I paid him in banana bread. He had a quick and easy laugh.

John was pronounced dead at the scene. Patty was airlifted to a major hospital in Pittsburgh where she is in critical condition in a coma with a crushed and broken body. Her crushed and broken family waits long hours to get to see her for a few minutes a couple times a day.

Click here for the newspaper account of the accident.

My mom is devastated. So am I. Patty sat vigil with us only a little more than a month ago on the night before my father passed away. She was my dad’s little girl as much as I was. Maybe more. I never minded sharing them with her. I was the one who insisted that her name be included in my dad’s obituary along with my mom, my brother and me as “survivors.”

I’m going to venture into the city this morning instead of writing. (I was going to proclaim the start of a new Word Watchers Challenge here this morning, but that’s been postponed). I know I won’t be allowed in to see Patty. In our hearts we may be sisters, but not by ICU standards. But I can give her daughter the hug that Patty can’t right now. Maybe later this week I can take my mom to see her.

As for what happened to them…they had been shopping and were on their way home. An SUV coming the other way on a four lane highway, crossed the grass median, went airborne and crashed down on top of them, rolling over their car. A pickup truck following them then smashed into the passenger side where John sat. The driver of the flying SUV was also killed in the crash and it has yet to be determined if he had a medical problem or if it was a mechanical problem that caused the SUV to careen out of control. I’d like to know, but it really doesn’t matter. The end result is the same.

So hug your loved ones a little tighter today. Don’t send them out the door without reminding them that you love them. None of us knows what’s waiting for us just down the road as we go about our daily routine.


Mary Louisa said…
Annette, I am so, so sorry to read of this tragedy. My thoughts are with you and your family.
baabaanne said…
I read your blog via google alerts, and am saddened to hear of your tragedy. Please know that you and yours are in my thoughts and prayers.

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