When we got into Colorado, I was shocked to see my daughter wiping a tear from her eye. Crying is NOT her style. I asked her what was wrong - and it took her a while to respond. She said that our vacation was over and she was sad about that. I wasn't happy that she was sad, but I was happy that the trip was that good for her. It was for me too. What a wonderful thing. We compared notes about what was the best part of the convention and the trip. I would have liked to have written about that tonight....
Then the traffic came to a dead halt. It was over 90º (which feels like about 60º in San Antonio), and I had a quarter tank of gas. I don't know why I insist on running my car low on gas, but I always have. Anyway, there was a road sign that said there was a crash five miles ahead and that we would need to leave the highway. It took a l-o-n-g time to get the five miles to the exit. It was now about the time when we should have been arriving home, and instead we were stuck in this mess.
When we finally got to the exit we filed off the highway along with everyone else, we stopped at the gas station, and then the grocery store. At the grocery store, my daughter and I both used the rest room. While there, we were chatting - I told her "we should be praying for the people who were in that accident instead of bitching about the traffic." My daughter agreed and said that she had been praying. When I exited the stall, there was a beautiful young girl standing there. She said to me: "That was my mom who died."
Oh my God! I cried, she cried, I wrapped my arms around her and asked her if she was OK. I asked if she was in the car with her mom. Then she told me her mother wasn't in a car.... she jumped off the overpass onto the interstate highway. Oh my. My daughter then asked her how old she is - she is 13. I asked if she was alone. Her dad was out in the car waiting for her. He stopped there so that she could use the restroom. My daughter was hugging her and crying with her. We asked her name. I asked her mother's name. I told her I would pray for them both. It was one of the most intense experiences I have ever had.
After she left and we got into the car, there was a part of me that hoped that maybe she was some little girl who made up a big story. In my heart I knew she wasn't, but I wanted to believe that she is not a little girl whose mother just threw herself 25 feet off an overpass into 75 mile per hour traffic. Not a little girl who no longer has a mom. Not a little girl devastated. The rest of our trip was virtually silent - and very somber.
When I got home and checked the news - and sure enough, a woman parked her truck along the side of that road this afternoon. She left a suicide note in it and jumped into traffic. A tour bus hit her. The interstate highway was closed for an hour and a half. And a beautiful little girl will have to pick up the pieces for the rest of her life.
I talked with my sponsor tonight, to let her know we got home safe and sound. I told her about this experience. She thanked God that he saw fit to put my daughter and myself into that little girl's path. She said this is an example of what happens when you turn your will and your life over to the care of God. I thank Him too if he chose to use us in that little way. I wish there was something we could have done beyond a hug and a tear.
Prayers. I can pray. Sarah's face will stay with me forever.
God bless that little girl, and her mother.