I've just turned 40, but today I'm 17 again. Because on 23 July 1995 my life stopped on the road, next to the lifeless body of my dad. Everything changed that day. "Pack your suitcase, we're going to the village." I remember my aunt's words, a firm voice but with a distant gaze. "What's the matter?" Silence. "Pack your suitcase." Nothing else. When I pressed her, the explanation: "Your father's had an accident." "At work? How is he? What happened to him?" The questions came thick and fast. "On the road. On the way back from the wedding." "And how is he?" "And my mum?" "And my brother?". "Your brother's fine, your mother so-so and your dad, he's the most serious." More silence.
Hundreds of kilometres driving. A long journey knowing the truth. No words needed. My aunt's gaze, and her tears, were enough. When we got there a hug said it all: "How terrible, how terrible." By now I didn't hold out much hope. In the room in the hospital, my brother. Alongside him, my mum, unrecognisable, like a monster, disfigured by the glass in her face and her eyes. I asked about my father again, hoping for a miracle. But my mother, composed by the tranquilisers, with staggering calmness that bothered me at the time, gave me the hardest news of all. "Don't you know that your dad will be buried this evening?" My mind and body couldn't take it and I collapsed. "You've got to be strong, your mother is very seriously ill and she can't see you in a bad way."
I was just a girl, a girl... I had no choice. But when I think back to those days I turn small again. I haven't got over it and I don't think I ever will. And I haven't forgiven the murderer, drugged and tanked up; he got in a car and killed my dad. Nor his four passengers. I can't. On that road, five families were shattered forever. Behind cold statistics, there are very painful stories. Don't forget this. If reading this means you think twice before climbing into a car after a few drinks, I'll be satisfied. Please share.