Learning lessons from tragedies

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Friday, I attended the Picayune Police’s Department’s program “Deadly Decisions” at Picayune Memorial High School’s Auditorium.
It was a moving presentation and I hope the juniors and seniors learned something about the importance of driving safely and soberly.
Personally, I haven’t known anyone who has been a victim of careless driving, but the subject is not something I’m unfamiliar with.
Not long after I met my husband, he told me about his sister Natalie.
We would’ve been about the same age and from what he has told me about her, we would have gotten along well.
In 2002, at the age of 20, she died in a car accident involving a collision with a train.
According to my husband, she was on her way to church with a friend. They believe the music was playing too loud and she didn’t hear the train coming.
He doesn’t speak about her often. I know it’s a painful subject for him so I don’t push the issue. But he has told me he thinks about her every day. She was his only sibling.
I often wonder what it would be like to have a sister-in-law, someone to confide in and share childhood memories of her brother with me.
Sadly, many of the photographs of Natalie were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina and I have only seen the one printed in the newspaper next to her obituary.
She was a beautiful girl with what should have been a full life ahead of her.
As I looked at the crowd, I wondered how many of the teenagers gathered would live to see their 21st birthday. I hope they all do.
Maybe, if her music hadn’t been so loud or there had been safety lights and a gate, she and her friend would still be here with us.
But it was Natalie’s time to be with God. For whatever reason, he needed her more.
I don’t cross the train tracks anymore without thinking of her. I always stop, roll down my windows and look both ways.
I hope the students listened to the presentation and really thought about the consequences their hasty or irresponsible decisions could have.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox