In June 2007 our entire town had a moment.
We live in a TINY town. We have a mercantile where little old men sit around drinking coffee in the morning catching up on the local gossip. Our school has less than 300 students even with a combined gradeschool and middleschool. Everyone knows each other. You brush past them at the post office, you see them again later in the day picking up your kids from school. You sit next to them at the games. You are friends, and your children are best friends. Mayberry. Little House. The town in the John Denver songs.
So content it is, that you forget that bad things can happen.
The morning of June 1st seemed lighthearted. GirlyDiva was happy. So was BoyGenius. They trotted off to the school bus without a care. And then, 2 hours later..
The "moment" began.
I called my good friend, whose younger son also attends our school. But before I even spoke, she said "Oh my God - have you heard?!" No... I hadn't heard. "Three girls were killed last night, One of them was in the 7th grade class!"
I was silent. My legs went instantly numb. Because *MY* GirlyDiva was in the 7th grade. And there were only 3 other girls in her class. And of those girls, ONE was her best friend in the world. They were always together.They'd been attached at the hip since 2nd grade. Without thinking I hung up on my friend. My hands began to tremble uncontrollably and I struggled to dial GirlyDivas cell number. I chanted out loud "Please don't let it be Lana, Please don't let it be Lana, Please God, Please don't let it be her." When GirlyDiva answered, she couldn't speak. All I could hear was her gutteral sobbing, and boys & girls in the background screaming and wailing. I didn't have to ask. I knew by the deepness of her sobs- It was Lana. GirlyDiva managed one shaky word: "Mamma."
I raced to the school in 8 minutes flat. There were kids and teachers everywhere, crying and clinging to each other as though it were a crime scene. When I got GirlyDiva in the car, she fell into my arms and wept for what seemed like forever. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to comfort such incredible pain. I couldn't tell her everything would be okay. Because I knew that for her, life would never be the same. I simply whispered "I'm so sorry" into her hair.
As days went by, the horror of the tragedy came further into focus. Lana's family had been driving to California to attend a WEDDING. They were driving on the highway at night, when they slammed into the back of a semi-truck that had pulled over to the side of the road, but not quite far enough. It's trailer was sticking out into the lane with the lights off. Lana's mother didn't even get a chance to apply the brakes. The entire right side of the vehicle was simply sheared off.
Lana, and 2 of her 3 sisters were killed instantly. Lana and Mandy attended 7th and 8th grade. The oldest, Charlene, was preparing to graduate highschool.
Lana's mother who was driving, and the youngest sister age 10, were sitting in the left side of the car. They both survived the crash with barely a scratch.
Imagine it. A little girl, who once had a home filled with the laughter of 4 young girls, is now an only child. Our tiny town grieved for them.
GirlyDiva still cries for the loss of her dear friend. And I cry for GirlyDiva, and the remaining family. I simply can't imagine losing any of my children, but THREE?
I had wondered what I was going to blog about to make up for the time I've been absent. And then today while picking up the BoyKing, I saw the memorial to these beautiful young girls- and I knew.
And then I went to read Lisas Blog. And then Natashas Blog.
And it all seemed appropriate, because it looks like their families are having a moment too.