Let me tell you a story. It’ll be worth it, I think. It’s a real-life example of how your life can change in an instant. On May 14, 2001, I left for work. It was my first day at a second job (I still freelanced).
We had one car and my then-husband was due to pick me up at 4:30 p.m. He was never late, but this time he was. My phone had been off all day because we were in training. Something told me — intuition, I suppose — to turn it on. At that instant, it rang. It was the police, telling me I had to come home because there’d been an accident. I panicked, thinking one of the kids had been injured. “I can’t,” I told them. “My husband has the car. He should be here soon.”
He wouldn’t be there soon, because eventually my hysteria forced the police caller to tell me that my then-husband, Gary, was dead from an accident. At that moment, my world turned upside down. Like in the movies, everything slowed down and seemed surreal. I ran back into the office, screaming. The entire place heard my shock and agony. And that’s what happened 14 years ago on this date in 2001.
That morning when I left for work, I had been married almost 16 years and had two children, ages 8 and 11. By that afternoon, I was a widow with two children and $160 in the bank…and no life insurance. I didn’t figure we’d need it because we were relatively young. Boy, was I wrong.
So, yeah. There are many other details and stories in relation to that sudden life change and how it affected our lives, but I think you get the point I’m trying to make. Actually, there are two: I want you to know shit happens that you never saw coming. Two, I want to acknowledge that this date will always be a sore spot for me and my children. You can’t erase the past or the pain. The wounds scar over, but when they get picked at, they hurt again.
Today is always a rough day for my kids, Brittany Elizabeth and Jonathan Porter. I want them to know that if I could take their pain away, I would. I lost my dad before I turned 7 years old. It’s hard growing up without a father. And having a mother who tries to be both doesn’t work all the time. I love both you guys more than life itself. It’s not fair or right. I would not wish what happened to our family on anyone else — not even my worst enemy.
Finally, I want to thank Paul T. Sninchak for becoming the stepdad to my two children ten years ago this year. It’s been a challenge for him, but he loves them so very much.
I adore my family. But I wish there are some things about history I could change. Life isn’t fair and it can — and does — change in an instant. Trust me…I learned that lesson in the worst way possible, and so did my kids. Nothing is ever guaranteed.