This is not my normal “flowery” article. No, this is me getting on my soap box. So I’ll apologize here if it’s not what you are expecting and will not hold it against you if you decide not to continue reading. However, it’s because I’m angry, scared and downright blessed that I am writing about this subject. This weekend I was at a party surrounded by work acquaintances, friends and family. I was truly having a wonderful time. It’s a fantastic group of people and I loved seeing everyone interact with each other and the kids all playing so well together, even though they had just met.
Late into the evening most people had left and I was just speaking with close friends, when my phone rang and I saw that it was my friend who had left the party not that long before. I thought she was calling to let me know she got home safely. Anyway, what I got instead was her sobbing on the phone and telling me that they had been hit by a drunk driver. I was stunned and momentarily paralyzed. She’s crying and all I hear is her telling me about her car. So I finally tell her, I don’t care about the car…is she and her husband and daughter alright? She tells me yes, but that she hit her head on the steering wheel and is waiting for the police and ambulance. I ask her if she wants me to come up and get their daughter or meet them at the hospital. Whatever is needed. She tells me no. All the while, I’m trying to figure out how I’m getting to them because I had been drinking, the people I was currently with had been drinking and both of my parents were home sick with bad colds. But she said she didn’t need me, that she just wanted me to know what had happened. So I stayed at the party.
I cannot tell you the extreme relief I felt when I found out they were OK. However, after I hung up the phone with her…of which I stayed calm throughout the conversation…I lost it. Deep wracking sobs of relief and also of the “what ifs”. It’s still hard to think about. How much different that phone call could have been. How I could be mourning the loss of a sister-of-my-heart and the little girl who calls me Tia Kim. People I would put my life on the line for. I cannot tell you how many times, since 11pm Saturday night, that I have heard that phone call go differently in my head. All because someone was selfish enough to drive while under the influence.
So here I am on my soap box with a plea. This is the holiday season and there is frivolity all around. I ask that you please be responsible. Not only when you’ve been drinking but any time you are behind the wheel. This isn’t just your life you are putting in harms way. You are putting innocent people’s lives at risk. You could be the cause of a wife or husband loosing a spouse, a parent losing a child or orphaning a child. Think of how your mother or father, husband or wife would feel if they received a phone call like I did. The call I received turned out to be ok…but I’m still traumatized by it…just think if they had been seriously injured or had died. It’s not difficult to arrange for a taxi or car service. It’s easy to assign a designated driver. It’s even easier to not drink at all. What’s not easy is to see a loved one bound with a neck brace on a stretcher and blood running down her face (and yes, she sent me a selfie). What’s even harder, is to identify a body at the morgue or go to a funeral during the holidays.
I know, I’m being somewhat harsh and over dramatic, but frankly I don’t really care if this offends you. Because if it does, then you are probably one of the people that should be reading this.
I would like to think I am pretty darn responsible when it comes to drinking and driving…or should I say not driving. If I know I’m going to be drinking, I arrange for a ride home or stay the night somewhere. Most of the time, I don’t drink and I’m the DD, because then I’m taking the responsibility out of someone else’s hands and putting them back into my own.
Honestly, I don’t think you should have more than one drink if you are even thinking about driving later…much later. I know people who drink for hours and then stop a hour before they leave and think they are OK to drive. Think again!! That one bottle of water that you have sipped at for a hour isn’t going to sober you up after drinking 6 glasses of wine or having 7 beers. I truly think this is one of the most selfish acts someone can perform. To think you can drive safely after drinking is a selfish act, because you are only thinking of yourself and not those life’s you will affect.
Since the holidays are for giving, I’m asking this of you. Give Life. Make the choice to not drink and drive. Please.
May you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season.
Much love to you all – Kim
PS – while I do not know what happened to the driver and passengers in the other car, I do know some were injured though no one lost their lives…thankfully. I hope whomever was hurt recovers fully and I hope the driver of that car has learned their lesson and will never get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated.