I am not going to talk about my own kids today. With the upcoming prom and graduation seasons I am compelled to write about someone else's child.
Last week we buried one of Sofi's closest friends. A girl that had spent some time with us while they were in school. She was killed when the car she was riding in rolled several times ejecting her from the car. Yes there was alcohol involved. The driver was well over the legal limit at a blood alcohol of .16 according to published reports. Legal limit in the state of Nebraska is .08.
I have been reading the comments attached to the online articles at The Kearney Hub website. The exchanges have become heated and have gone back and forth but the following comment triggered a need to write: "Sad.......the focus is lost here.....4 lives were changed that night".
I beg to differ, MANY lives were changed that night. I will even say that communities were changed by the decisions of 4. The consequences for these actions will linger for the rest of the family's lives and the lives of the survivors, of which there were 3. Rebecca was the only casualty.
For those that knew Rebecca they would know that she was a force to be reckoned with. Her personality was larger than life and the theme that came up over and over during the last week of pain was that she loved life, she loved to make people laugh and she loved to laugh. She was beautiful. Her parents and siblings were able to tell stories of Rebecca and how she was such a comediene. It was easy to see where Rebecca got her strength from. She has a very strong family.
She died on March 31. April 1st was her 19th birthday. Last year on her birthday the community sang as she was crowned Prom Princess. This year the community sang as balloons were released in her honor.
The class of 2011 is a very tight knit group. I never dreamed last year as I sat watching them cross the stage to get their diplomas that less than a year later I would be attending a funeral for one of them. I mean when you're 18 you're pretty invincible right? What a wake up call for these kids and a horrible way to grasp the concept of mortality.
Rebecca was brighter than the sun and there aren't enough words to describe this girl's power to make people smile. When the song You Are My Sunshine was sung at the service it was so very approriate. The number of flowers was incredible. She touched MANY lives. I'm not sure there are any Gerber Daisies left in northeast Nebraska. They were Rebecca's favorite. After the service and before the burial, a number of pink, green and purple balloons were released one more time for her. Sofi says that Rebecca used to say when she died she wanted 1000 balloons released at her funeral. I don't suppose any of those kids realized how soon that they would be called on to do just that.
I am heartbroken for this class, my daughter and most especially her family.
I am hoping that something good and positive will come from this horrible tragedy. If even one kid chooses not to drink, not to drive when drinking or not to get in the car with a drunk driver because they remember how Rebecca's too short life ended than I feel that she will not have died for nothing.
I do not know how I feel about the driver. We were all 20 once. We have all done some really stupid things and I don't imagine that any of the 4 thought the night would end in such a terrible way. I want to be angry and place blame but the sad fact is, is that all 4 people and their decisions contributed to the end. Again, hopefully this sad, tragic story will make people pause and think. Please let Rebecca's death be your lesson.
I am going to end with a piece written by Rebecca herself. She was pretty special.
Born This Way
Last night while writing this I had the most difficult time trying to think of what to write. I took stand up comedy into serious consideration and realized that I didn't have a clue what to do it on. Then, I thought of the song "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga and wanted to somehow relate it to that. Finally, I thought of the perfect thing to write about and that was my imperfections.
I know what you are all thinking "How could somebody like Rebecca Fischer have any imperfection"? But it is true, I don't have many, but there are a few. The imperfections have been a part of my life forever and at times have given people, even a few of you, a good laugh or two. They sometimes make me self-conscious and uncomfortable but just recently I have come to except them and realized that they are what make me, Rebecca.
First, I think the most obvious one and the one I get made fun of the most for would be my pinky toe on my left foot. It sits on top of my #4 toe and just hangs out up there all day long. I never thought of it to be a problem until one day I was in the house with sandals on and my dad asked me if I put it up there on purpose. Once I told him no he got really concerned about it and told me I could go and see if a doctor could fix it. I told him no because I liked it up there. To be honest I'm just afraid to experience the pain.
The next thing would probably be my ears. I have never noticed how small they actually were until someone pointed it out. I always just assumed they were normal sized. Although when the subject comes up I get really self-conscious about them I just realized not to long ago that I would rather have small ears than big ears that stick out like some peoples.
Finally, my last imperfection would have to be that one dangly thing in the back of your throat. Most people have one, but I however have two. When I went to the doctor for itshe was surprised to see it because she has never seen one before. This made me feel super special until last night when I Googled it and it said that it's caused by the soft palette not completely fusing during embryonic development. Once I found that out I no longer had that special feeling inside.
These are all minor deformities that make me up. I'm glad none of them are serious, medical, or painful. These are all characteristics of me that over time I have come to except. And, although I may get made fun of for them it doesn't bother me that much because I know they could be a lot worse. Everybody has something they feel uncomfortable about. I'm just glad that I have become close enough with the people in this room to share these things with you. I hope that when you meet new faces and people you don't judge them on what they look like or what they have wrong with them. I hope that you get to know them on who they truly are, because you never know they could have been born that way.
Rebecca Jo Fischer
April 1, 1993 - March 31, 2012