September 10, 1998, my life changed forever. At 2:30 am three sheriff's officers stood in my living room telling me "there was an accident". "Your daughter is dead". My mind screamed, what? This can't be true, this isn't happening. She was just here a few hours ago, alive, happy, smiling. I hear myself saying "How do you know it was her?". The officer took out an envelope of her things: her bank card, her necklace, her earrings. It hit me: these are her things, she must be dead. I didn't cry right away. I want to know what happened. I asked the officers. They said, "We are so sorry". "It was a single car rollover. Speed and alcohol seemed to be the cause. The driver has a cracked sternum, he will be all right. There was a seat belt mark on her body. Your daughter was wearing a seat belt, but it broke. She flew out the window. She died instantly. She did not suffer, Mrs. Jonas." I heard myself say "what about the boy?" "He denies he was driving, ma'am." The sheriff asked "Did you see who was driving when they left the house?" I stammered; "No, I don't know, she wasn't driving, I know she wasn't, her truck is still in the driveway!" (Two weeks later, after a voice analyzer test, he admitted that he was driving.)
The nightmare begins. What do we do? Cry, call someone. We need help. This can't be happening to us! I walk in the bedroom to tell Savanna's sister, Kai age:14 her only sibling that her sister has been killed in a car accident. Shock, tears, grief. Our beautiful girl is gone. Why? My mind is so foggy, I can't make my body work. Get up, make coffee, call the relatives and friends.
The next weeks were a blur, funeral arrangements, accident investigation, visits, phone calls. Overwhelming sadness. My forgiveness of the driver turned to anger. Why would he lie about driving the car? Scared probably. Why was he driving so fast (up to 90 miles per hour). Why were they driving anyway, after drinking at a party. Why did Savanna get in the car? We may never know. Now it is really not important to dwell on the what-ifs.
What is important, is to honor her life. To share what a wonderful blessing she was to our family. She was so smart, so cheerful, so cocky. She was so full of life. She graduated from high school at age 16 with honors. She went to college. She worked full-time at Wal-Mart and was surely one of the youngest to be promoted to Customer Service Manager when she was 17. She bought a "big" truck, a 1990 GMC 4x4. She loved that truck. She listened to her country music, loudly while driving from here to there. She always had a place to go, someone to see, someone who needed her. Savanna was never afraid to voice her opinion. She called it like it was.
Savanna was engaged to be married on May 29, 1999. We started the wedding plans. We bought the veil, and put the dress on order. Her fiancÚ Wesley William Hunt is stationed in Japan and is in the Marines. My heart broke when I had to tell him Savanna was dead. The Red Cross was suppose to help us do that. There was suppose to be a chaplain there for him. He never got the message. He called Savanna to talk with her, and found out the news. There would be no wedding. There would be no children. There would be no future with her. He was now alone a world away from us.
My hope is that in sharing my daughter's life and death, it will help others to know we are not alone our grief. Sharing with others helps to lessen the pain. To talk with people who really know what the death of a loved one feels like. To be able to share and write about my loss here brings a small measure of healing to my otherwise sad existence. I thank the Lord for giving me 17 years, 11 months and 10 days with my beautiful child. He called her back to heaven and now I must let her go.
The ones we love are never truly gone. Savanna will always be a part of us. Her beauty and spirit will live on in our hearts. Her memory is a treasure that time cannot erase. Savanna's light will continue to shine through her many friends and loved ones.
You can send email to Sandy at: [email protected]
anniversary date 09-10-98
date of post 11-09-98