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On September 4, 2008 at about 11:00 p.m., our son Isaac, his grandparents, his three-year-old cousin, and I were leaving the Utah State Fair. Our car was stopped at a red light and Isaac was sitting in the back seat when an SUV, driven by a 19-year-old male not paying attention, slammed into the back of our car going 35 miles per hour. The force of the collision pushed the trunk into the backseat and the metal hit Isaac in the head so hard that he was immediately knocked unconscious. His brain swelled so much that he had no brain activity and was kept alive through life support for 18 hours. We begged the doctors to do every test possible to confirm there was no brain activity before we took him off life support on September 5th. THAT WAS THE HARDEST—MOST HORRIBLE DAY OF OUR LIVES. As his mother, I can’t begin to describe the impact this has had on our lives. I relive that night daily. I have nightmares often and get little sleep. I remember the ambulance ride and the loud sirens that haunt me to my soul. I will never forget his last breath. Every day is a struggle to get out of bed as I pray this nightmare will end. We are numb, yet in so much pain—trying to survive each day. We miss Isaac so much it hurts every part of our bodies. We grieve knowing we will never see him graduate from high school, never watch him get married and never get to see him be a father. We have wonderful memories and talk about him every day. Isaac’s 16th birthday was July 18, 2009. Most teenagers would get a driver’s license on this day, but Isaac received a headstone for his gravesite.
Isaac was a happy, outgoing, friendly and funny teenager with many dreams. He had just started 9th grade and was looking forward to high school. He was a handsome boy with a great big heart and beautiful smile. He loved listening to his iPOD, playing his guitar, texting on his cell phone and hanging out with friends and family. He loved to greet everyone with a hug and kiss. Every day I told him I loved him and he always smiled and said, “I love you too, mama.”
The last time I saw Isaac alive was when we were leaving the fair. I asked him if he had a good day and he replied with a big smile, “Yes, mama I had fun.” He had watched the rodeo, rode some rides and eaten a deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Our fun family outing became our worst nightmare in an instant.
Our family has changed. Our lives have changed. We are heartbroken. I hope Isaac’s story helps everyone be more aware and pay more attention when driving. Please watch the road closely, do not talk or text on your cell phone, do not play with the radio or let your passengers distract you. PLEASE DRIVE SAFELY!