My daughter, My love, My friend

Jorge Oliveira

"On August 22, 1994, at 2 am our daughter Rita, was badly injured in a traffic accident. She was in a summer resort in the south of Portugal, outside of a bar, with some friends when a motor-cycle speeding towards them struck her. I never wanted to know exactly what happened but it seems that the driver's helmet was responsible for the fatal injuries to her head.

Ironically the only gift I had always refused to give her, was a motor-cycle, because I was afraid she might get hurt or even die in a accident!!!

At 4 am the phone rang and I immediately thought that something bad has happen? I start shudder? My wife was talking with my nephew, and all I could hear was?oh no?no? I was numbed, completed stunned, shaking and incapable to react.

My wife called the Hospital and talked with the Doctor, the information came as a blow: our daughter was in a coma, with a severe head injury and had to be removed to a main Hospital in Lisbon because there was nothing they can do for her there.

You can imagine what we have gone through afterwards. Our daughter was 200 miles away, fighting for her life and we could not be there, holding her hand, has we did so many times, and tell her how much we loved her and beg her to stay alive.

We manage to get an helicopter to transport her but they have to wait for the sunrise.

The waiting was the most traumatic, terrifying and anguishing experience of my entire life. It was like a permanent torture during 4 hours and although it is the first time I write and even think about this experience 18 months after it happen, I can still feel the emotions involved.

I remember sitting in the waiting room of the emergencies department, with one hand holding my wife's hand and the other holding a picture of my dear daughter close to my heart? hoping that she could make it.

Then a friend entered the room and came towards us and before he could say a word I knew by the expression of his face that we had lost our only child our daughter Rita.

What happens afterwards, unfortunately you all know by experience.

Life without her was something I could not even imagine, I wanted to die too. My daughter was a wonderful girl, full of life, good student, never gave us a problem of any sort. Since she was a little girl she wanted to go to bed late, as if she knew that her time was too short to be wasted sleeping. I want to share with you something she wrote :

"Live each day, each hour, each minute and if possible each second as they come. Take the most out of them. Forget the past, live the present and postpone the future. Death awaits you, it is just a matter of when and how it will strike you."

I am not a religious person so I could not turn to religion for support, I fell in a deep depression and had to seek medical help.

I could not bear the idea that she was gone forever. It was impossible for me to go on living with that thought. She had to be somewhere, all her power, her energy could not simply vanish.

My grief has been long and painful and I believe that I will grieve as long as I live. I start to believe that maybe death is not the end but the beginning of something and maybe I will meet my daughter again, WHERE EVER SHE IS , and hear her say again? Dad give-me a kiss? simple words that I miss so much. That and the precious help of my dear wife, who gave that beautifull daughter, has given me the necessary strength to keep on living besides the pain, the sadness and the emptiness that are always with me.

Jorge Oliveira

You can send email to Jorge at [email protected]
mail welcome

date of post 3-23-96
email update 03-09-00

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW