Confession: Newspaper and social media pictures of car crashes unravel me. And if I discover that the driver was a teenager, I become enraged at the insensitivity of the news-makers and gossip-spreaders. How could a human being with even the slightest bit of decency not understand that seeing pictures of demolished cars or sheets draped over dead bodies in the street propel bereaved parents (and especially younger siblings) back to the most devastating moment of our lives? Why would anyone choose to be so hurtful? Money? Notoriety? An award-winning headline? … Really?!?
Even now, fifteen years after Joseph died in a single-vehicle car accident, I cringe when a car crashes on TV, even though I know it was just part of a script. I turn away when someone shows me a picture of their demolished car after a wreck. And I pray most fervently when I pass an accident on the road, begging God not to let another mom have to bury her child.
And so I struggle—and I search for some good to come from the horrific, insensitive reminders of the day of my son’s car lay demolished beneath cedar trees and his life on this earth over.
As bizarre as it sounds, we refer to Joseph’s wreck as a “clean” one. He was wearing his seatbelt. He was not drinking. He was not speeding. He was not texting, taking a selfie, or talking on a phone. It was not irresponsibility that killed him. And yet our lives were still blown to bits!
Friend, DO NOT DELIBERATELY DO THAT TO YOUR PARENTS, SPOUSE, OR CHILDREN!!!
Don’t be a reckless driver! Don’t let your irresponsibility and stupidity be the reason your parents, spouse, or children have to identify your cold, colorless, naked dead body in a morgue. Don’t be that selfish!
And so what am I trying to do now when the sight or sounds of car crashes send me reeling back to the horrific moment I learned my seventeen-year-old son died? — I’m going to ask you again and again to make a commitment.
I beg of you to commit to doing the following:
– Wear your seat belt and require each passenger in your vehicle to wear one as well
– Obey the speed limit
– Never drink and drive
– Don’t take selfies, text, or post on social media while driving
Will you make that promise today?