Thursday, September 24, 2009
On October 25, 1969 my father was killed in a car wreck by a drunken driver who hit us from behind. A while later I wrote this in memory of him. He never called me anything but Nancy.
By Ann Roberts
Nancy lay in the hospital bed looking at the ring of keys the nurse had brought to her. They were her father's keys. Several hours before, Nancy, her mother and father had been involved in a terrible automobile accident. Her father was dead and her mother had been transferred to a larger hospital. She was alone. She had sent her husband with her mother to the other hospital so her mother would have someone with her when she regained consciousness and was told of her husband's death.
As she looked at the keys and carefully examined them, her thoughts were in turmoil. This one was the one to the house. The house her parents had paid for one note at the time until it was paid for and then improved one note at the time. Now that he was gone, what would her mother do?
She fondled another one. This one was to the office where he had worked for 50 years. He had kept the key as a memento after his retirement. He had still been welcome there.
The next one was to the automobile. He was so proud of it. He had saved his money until he could pay cash for it and it was now gone, along with him.
The accident happened one sunny afternoon in October 1969. He had wanted to take a ride and asked Nancy to go along with them. Her mother decided to drive.
They were all riding along laughing and talking when suddenly there was an impact from behind. The last thing she ever said to her father was "People should live with love and not hate".
It hit so hard the gas tank flew off into the road. The car careened down a fifty-foot embankment into a pine tree. Her father didn't stand a chance. The glove compartment flew open and was driven into his sternum. Her mother had multiple breaks and contusions. Nancy had a crushed vertebra. The doctor had said there was a chance she would never walk again and at best would always have to wear a brace. At this moment, this was secondary to what she was feeling.
The driver of the automobile that hit them so suddenly and cruelly from behind had no brakes and the driver was drunk. He suffered no injury at all.
As she kept looking at the keys and thinking, the thought came to mind "Is this all there is, you live, you die and someone hands you a ring of keys to signify that you were once really here." And the tears that she had not been able to shed until now came in a rush and she screamed out with the anguish and pain "Oh God, is this really all there is to life?"