Friday, May 4, 2012

My Sister Danielle

My beautiful youngest sister Danielle was killed on Monday, April 30, 2012.  It was her husband Bob's birthday.  A woman driving drunk ran a stop sign and fled a police officer when he attempted to stop her.  She ran because she was not only drunk, but driving on a suspended license.  She ran because she didn't want to go to jail.  She reached speeds of 90 MPH and came into an intersection and hit the van my sister was traveling in.  Then she jumped out of her vehicle and attempted to flee on foot.  My sister died at the scene.  Her husband Bob is still in serious condition in the hospital.  He's already had two surgeries and is facing at least two more.  Their daughter Annabelle was treated for bruises and abrasions and released.  Bob's dad was also treated and released.  This woman left Bob without his life partner and left Annabelle without her mommy.  She left my brother and I without our sister.  She left my natural father and step-mother without a child.  She left a multitude of people without a friend.
Danielle with her Annabelle
I've been so touched by the outpouring of love and concern from my friends and family and from Danielle's friends.  Her church family is planning a candle-light vigil in her memory and have set up a fund for future expenses for Bob and Annabelle.  She was so loved by so many and the fact that she touched so many lives is a blessing to me.
My sister was all about living and I'm determined not to let her death be in vain.  People continually ask me what they can do to help me and the short answer is honor her memory.  And you can honor that by living.  I'm not talking about breathe in, breathe out, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed kind of living.  I mean LIVING--
  • Do something you've never done before.  Do something you've always wanted to do but been too scared to do.  Skydive, bungee jump, ask out the pretty girl in accounting (or whatever).
  • Take the day off.  Check the kids out of school.  Go to beach, the zoo, the park, lay in the backyard and watch the clouds go by.
  • Try a new food.  Wear a new color. 
  • Learn something you've always wanted to learn.
  • Tell the people you love that you love them.  Tell them often.  Tell them until they're tired of hearing it and then tell them again.
  • Be kind to someone you don't want to be kind to.  You never know what sort of grace they need extended to them.
  • Be yourself.  Don't conform to what you think you should be.
  • Ask someone what you can do to help them and then DO IT.
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a hospital or anywhere else where they could use the help.
  • Make a donation to a favorite charity or several charities.
  • Pick a cause and devote some time to it.
  • Believe what you believe for a reason and not because someone tells you to.
  • Be the change you want to see in the world.
  • Be inspired.
  • Don't let your time come and be filled with regrets.  Don't get stuck on auto-play.  LIVE.
This list is just for inspiration.  Only you know what it would take for you to live a better life.  And I know that none of this will bring my sister back.  But I CHOOSE to focus on the positive impact of her life.  If she could inspire you to do anything in her passing she'd want to inspire you to live a better life and be a better person.  But don't do it for her.  Don't do it for me.  Do you it for you.
Choose the life you want to live...and then live it.

Peace and Love, Jen