On the 21st of March my life was altered. I had a bad day: got a parking ticket, had a serious conversation with my boss, argued with my boyfriend. All I wanted to do was go home and visit with my family : my mom and sister.
That evening I couldn't sleep. I sat up and wrote out a grocery list. Barely after midnight I was calm and finally went to bed.
Somewhere around 2 am my phone rang. I didn't want to get up and answer it. I let it ring. But it was my mother and she sounded horrible. I had to call her back.
I cannot remember how she led up to it or what she said first. All that I can clearly hear her saying is "There was an accident, and Ashley didn't make it."
The shock. It numbs your entire body, coats your stomach in nausea; it renders you helpless. No one ever tells you grief feels so like fear. You can smell it. You can taste it. It takes over your senses.
"I need you here," I heard my mom say.
I was prepared to leave that very moment, make the eight hour car trip in the wee hours of the morning. But somewhere in there my rational instincts shone through. I put as many things on order as I could.
It was about 4:30 am when I headed towards home.
At around 10 am I recieved another call. My sister's boyfriend, Michael, had died at the hospital early that morning. He was 12 weeks from his high school graduation. He and I had already talked about what we would do when he turned 18 in July.
My little sister was 16. She was hit head-on by a drunk driver passing someone around double yellow lines in a blind curve. She died on impact.
Unfortunately the drunk driver wasn't a stranger. He was someone I went to high school with, someone I have a personality for. A recognizable face took my little sister from me at 11:30 at night 7 miles from home.
And he wasn't just drunk, he was very drunk : 3 times the legal limit.