I had the pleasure of taking on my first 5k this past Saturday. It was for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and I decided to take on this challenge not only for my weight loss goal, but also to keep my voice heard regarding this matter. We are all familiar with the loss of my father and I don’t want to keep hearing in the news about it happening again and again. I got something out of it that I never expected…
I knew I would probably exchange polite conversation with people there since I was an individual walking on my own and not part of a team. Boy was I right! I was one of maybe a handful that were walking without a team. I didn’t get to speak with too many people, but the ones that I did, it was life changing. Not only was I speaking with people who had lost friends or family, but I was also meeting people who survived the accident themselves. One woman had been hit while riding her bike; she has to use two canes for lengthy walks and has not completely retained her full brain capacity. But the one story that felt like a huge weight had been lifted and a veil had been lifted from my eyes was the story that was pretty much play by play just like my father’s story. She was riding with a friend that she trusted (who had too much to drink) and they decided they were invincible and decided to speed. They flew off the road, ejecting the girl from the car and the driver escaped with little injury. The following trial was tumultuous and left a bitter taste. It was like a mirror of my own experience.
I cried on and off throughout the walk as 300 other people carried their own crosses. But mine felt shared, finally, as it was empowering to see this particular group not brought down by sadness. They celebrated her life and made sure to have the same mission as me, keep our voices heard. I will never forget how awesome of a dad I had, but I will also never forget how it put that bitter veil over my eyes. I never want to see that veil again and I never want to see it cast over another face. But please do not think this is just about drunk driving; we all want to stop impaired driving. These are all preventable accidents and with Washington having 42% of all traffic related deaths being attributed to alcohol, we need to do everything in our power to help those we know are in trouble.
If you are someone who has been affected by such an incident, please know you are not alone. There is someone else out there that can set you free from your loneliness and help you gain control of the madness you feel.