Before you experience tragedy or loss, you are falsely lured into the idea you are immune. However once you have been struck, your mindset changes from ‘if I lose someone I love’ to ‘it’s only a matter of time’.
Perhaps this is why I suffer from one of my side effects from grief...nightmares. They don’t happen every night or even every week, but they have happened often enough. The specifics of my nightmares are never the same, but the theme always is. I dream of losing someone I love. The pain and anguish causes me to cry out in my sleep until my husband softly rubs my arm or my back to wake me up.
Saturday night I had one of these nightmares. I had dreamt something happened to my son. When I awoke I could not shake the feeling, and I could not fall back asleep until well after 2am. For a long while, even though I was awake I could not stop crying. The pain felt so real.
The next morning I woke to my alarm feeling unrested and exhausted. Although it was Sunday and I normally could have slept in, I wanted to wake early to see my son off before he drove back to school at Pullman. He’d spent the last three weeks at home for his winter break. On Sunday morning I watched him pile his bags into the already packed SUV of his best friend. Austin and three of his buddies were driving back to their lives at Washington State University.
Today, I read in the news that my nightmare was the heartbreaking and unfortunate truth for two WSU families. Two separate accidents, one on i90 and one on SR 26 took the lives of two young students. Between the hours of Saturday at midnight and Sunday at 5 pm there were over 150 accidents in the North Central Washington area. The snow made the driving conditions treacherous.
All you need to do is google ‘Highway 26 WSU fatalities’ and you will see post after post of the dangers of that specific roadway. State Route 26 runs 133.61 miles from I-90 east of Vantage, east to US 195 in Colfax. This two lane highway is dangerous in clear and dry conditions as there are no passing lanes and drivers like to aggressively pass one another. In snowy and icy conditions it is far more dangerous and deadly. The common consensus online is something needs to be done to improve the dangers of that highway, but there seems to be little answers how to go about doing that.
What normally would have taken my son five to six hours to travel from Redmond to Pullman, yesterday took him and his friends eight and a half hours.
I sat at home last night in my sweats watching the Golden Globes with remnants of exhaustion from little sleep the night before. Thankfully, I had been receiving texts throughout the day from my son’s best friend giving me updates on their travels. I was finally blessed with a text at 5:30pm they had reached Pullman.
My heart is so grateful they arrived safely, but it is broken for the parents whose children did not. I cannot stop thinking of the families who spent the last three weeks celebrating the holidays with their children only to say goodbye not realizing it was the last time.
My nightmare is the reality for those two families and the loved ones who lost more than anyone ever should.
My heart is heavy. Very heavy.
I ask you to pray for the healing of those who are suffering in the depth of their grief. I also ask you to pray for answers. How can we prevent more deadly tragedies from happening on a road that carries the beautiful hearts and hopeful futures of our children?