On May 3
, 1980, my daughter,
was killed by a multiple repeat offender drunk driver. Her foreshortened life now stands for something amazing. Hundreds of thousands of people have lived as a result of her death. Who knew that her death would spark a movement, a revolution really, against the way this world thinks about drinking and driving. This date will be forever etched in my mind, my life and my actions.
It was the catalyst for my founding MADD – and her life and that of my family continue to inspire me as I move forward with
We Save Lives.
While everyone celebrates holidays like Mother’s Day and Memorial Day I celebrate my child’s life and mourn my child’s death.
My memories of her bring both smiles and tears. Smiles when I think of my daughter, Cari on the phone with her friends giving everyone advice, imitating a teacher or classmate, swimming with her friends in our backyard pool and telling me how she was going to live with me
“had it made at home.
” She decided she was going to go into real estate with me (I am sure that would have changed a million times, had she lived,) and we would work together. This is when she wasn’t mad at me for something I did or didn’t do.
One of my favorite memories of her is when she had gained a few pounds and her father made an insensitive remark during one of his visits. This was after our divorce. She came to me in tears and I said, “you need to tell him.” She called her dad and asked him to come over and he did. She sat on his lap and in no uncertain terms informed him how much his comment hurt and he responded by apologizing and hugging her.
I will always have that image of my big 13-year-old, sitting on her father’s lap with his arms around her
She brought home every stray animal that came our way and she just always had such a sense of what was right and what was wrong. She was an
born 4 minutes before her sister, Serena, and she could be very bossy.
I tell everyone whose loved one was killed by an impaired driver that Cari is waiting for them in the afterlife and will immediately tell them what to do.
The tears come when I think of how short her life was on this earth and how much she is still missed and loved. We were so stunned by her death and we didn’t know anyone who could conduct her funeral. A friend of ours suggested a nondenominational minister who was wonderful. We are not of any particular faith but I had read the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and loved it.
I asked the minister to read my favorite