Warning: Post contains a fairly graphic video which I found hard to watch. Please do not watch if you have a sensitivity to blood or even fake blood.
I want you to watch this video. It is important.
My eldest son whose poem I put up a few nights ago goes to school in the district I graduated from-Mansfield Independent School District. MISD has this program for the juniors and seniors of all the high schools in their area called the Put It Down, Save A Life program. (You can find out more about the program here.) This program is designed to show real-life consequences of texting/drinking while driving. But it is not aimed at just the kids; parents are involved as well. The parents not only watch the staged wreck but they also must write an obituary for their child. The police department, fire department, Care Flight, hospitals, teachers…the community is involved in this program. If you watched the video you saw what it is like. Parents can opt their kid out of the program-it is not required.
My son does not live with me anymore, and has not for the last year and a half. He chose to live with his dad thirty minutes away. He does not yet drive and I’m glad about it for one reason only. I was almost 19 when I officially got my driver’s license. I was young enough to appreciate it but old enough to recognize the responsibility of being behind the wheel of a dangerous object. Within months of receiving my license I had my first “wreck.” It was on an especially busy street at night and I had my baby sister in the car with me. We were stopped at a red light when I was rear-ended by some man in a truck. He was tired. He may have had a drink or two. There wasn’t any damage other than a few scrapes to my bumper. But it scared the hell out me. Then several years later, a cousin of mine was hit and killed by a drunk driver. My cousin had just graduated high school that morning…two days later he received an acceptance letter to the tech school he had applied to. I’m glad my son hasn’t had the ability to drive yet because it is a dangerous thing walking out your front door.
My son is glad as well. He is only just feeling ready to accept the responsibility. He has told me many times he’s terrified to get behind the wheel of a car. I jokingly tell him to make sure he sits inside the car then, but I understand what he means. I am terrified of him getting in the driver’s seat myself. I have no fear of him texting on his phone. He’s the one who takes my phone from me whenever I go to reach for it when all I am doing is hitting the fast forward button for my music. No, I don’t text and drive and I only answer my phone for certain people, though I do try and pull over in a safe zone when I must. What I fear, and what I tell him and everyone else, is that I’m afraid of the other drivers on the road. I have been in so many near misses because of people on their phones, people being impatient, or people just not paying close enough attention. And even though my son knows how dangerous it is to text and drive, I would still make him go through this program because I feel that sometimes it’s not enough to just “know.” Until you experience something first-hand, you don’t truly understand the depth of that experience.
Even if I have to write an obituary for my son…
Even if I can imagine how hard it would be having never done it before…
Because I have not lost a child and do not know what that is like…
Because I have been afraid of losing my children every day since the day they were born.