Samantha never spoke on the phone when she drove. Ever. I guess that was the first indicator that something was wrong, though Charles just wouldn’t hear me out on the particular subject. He thought it was easier to write it off with a simple hand gesture and, “It doesn’t matter what caused the accident – it just matters that she’s going to make it through.” I warned him that something was wrong, but he just never listened. His failure to communicate always ended in issues when it came to us. But, please, let me back out here and write it out for you so you, too, can understand what went wrong with Samantha…
Our little girl was different from other children. Yeah, every parent can say that, I know, but to actually mean it? To know that they will never fit in with the rest but be completely beyond them in intelligence, classic beauty, and patience?
Well, that was our Samantha and we knew we had something special. Charles and I spent twelve years of our lives together before we decided that a child was in our best interest, even with all the pushing from family that we would have a ‘beautiful child’ and ‘we wouldn’t regret it.’ They were right in both ways, which we would have never known until we fused DNA and found out for ourselves. And thus, we bring Samantha into the picture.
The early days of Samantha’s life are somewhat irrelevant aside from the fact that she brought us the utmost of peace. She gave us a reason to work toward our goals and shoot for the sky when it came to our professions and what we did outside of work as a family. We bought the house of our dreams to raise our little girl in; we worked together like a union to never be broken.
As Samantha aged, she turned into something we could be proud of right in front of our very eyes. She worked above and beyond the rest of her class, taking home grades simply unheard of in comparison with what her father and I achieved when we were her age. Family simply found themselves asking her, “Where did you get those smarts?” Typically, we would have been offended, but this is what we strove for as parents. We wanted her to be everything and more.
When peer pressure dissolved the lives of her best friends, Samantha did everything in her nature to move on. It was ninth grade when she found out her best friend Felicitee was using cocaine at parties and, aside from the fact that it was the hardest decision she ever had to make in her life, she took responsibility and told her best friend that she couldn’t be around her anymore. It was tenth grade when she got her first boyfriend and brought him home for supper with us. When he didn’t so much as thank us for the food we had made for him, we overlooked it as a kid being a kid.
When Samantha turned seventeen, she didn’t ask us for her first cell phone, which was something most children growing up with her had since they were fourteen years old (even though it was clear that their parents were the ones paying for their technology time.) No, Samantha took initiative, went out, and worked long hours at a local pizza shop while simultaneously attending school and after-school activities as well. Did her father and I think that a cell phone was a bad idea? Not at all.
Samantha was strong, independent, and responsible above all. We knew her time would be spent on the important things, and we were right. Even when she obtained her cell phone and made her monthly bill payments, she never allowed it to get in the way of family time. We never had to tell her, “No texting at the supper table” or “I think you’ve had enough hours on that phone today. Why don’t we spend some time together?” We barely ever saw her cell phone. She continued to throw the pigskin with her father after he got home from work and do dishes at night without us asking. Samantha was always wonderful like that.
You can imagine our surprise when we received the phone call saying that our daughter was going to be brought home to us in a body cast. Reason being? The very cell phone she had bought all by herself. But, please, let me back up again and fill you in on the details surrounding the worst day of our lives.
We got the phone call at 4 in the afternoon on a Saturday. It came up as a number we didn’t recognize on my cell phone, and I answered despite the fact that I typically didn’t take calls from numbers I didn’t recognize. Charles was sitting beside me on the couch with a magazine to his face and the drone of the television continued on playing some cooking show in the background. “Hello?” I asked warily, and immediately a soft-spoken voice answered.
“Hello, Mrs. Freeland… we’re so sorry to be calling you this late about such an important issue but we’re afraid there has been an accident.” My heart instantly fell out of my chest and immediately, Samantha came to mind. You see, Samantha was all sorts of wrapped up in her new college freshman life. She was making some amazing friends, telling us all sorts of stories when she came home on the weekend to relax. Though she was only an hour away from home, this was an entirely new experience for her and something that she always wanted to do with her life. I tried to sputter a reply, but the voice continued on.
The lady introduced herself as somebody who worked at a hospital that was a halfway point between our home and Samantha’s university. Apparently, Samantha had gotten into an accident two days prior to us receiving the phone call. We typically didn’t hear from our daughter for days at a time if she was wrapped up in important lessons and meetings, so this didn’t take us by surprise. Samantha had reportedly been talking on the phone when the accident occurred, dropped the phone on the floor of the car, and reached down to pick it up while simultaneously slamming headfirst into another car.
Now, a few things started to fall into place as “shifty” as I listened to the voice drone on and on, begging for my daughter all the while and wondering what I could do. The first clue was the fact that the nurse said they would be delivering Samantha directly to us that afternoon. If she were in such bad condition, why would she be coming home so early to heal in an at-home setting where anything could go wrong and we would have no control over it? The second issue was that we weren’t allowed to pick up any medical records or learn about the accident or the other driver involved until weeks later, according to what we were told. And the third issue, albeit a far stretch at the time, was the fact that Samantha never used her phone while driving.
To avoid issues, she claimed she constantly put her cell phone on the back seat so it was out of reach and constantly out of temptation. Occasionally we would call her to tell her something important, only for Samantha to call us back an hour later and pipe up, “Sorry, I was on the road!” What important call would have caused her to answer the phone while on the road?
Charles and I patiently awaited the deliver of our 18-year-old pride and joy, wondering how life would be for the next couple of months. We never expected what we received.