A Persistent Muse

Born to stir the pot & punish the world for not paying attention

A Persistent Muse

A Persistent Muse
The Heart of the MIDWEST,
September 05
In real life I teach art, art history, drawing and painting at a private high school. I recently left my job teaching in an innercity high school. Bottom line: I love teaching and this is my 40th year doing so! I adore visual and verbal expression and the whole wrestling match of creativity. Do I have the idea or does it have me? I hope to become a better writer through my blogs and exposure to exceptional writers. My Avatar is based upon a Seraph/Angel I painted for a child in our family.


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JULY 25, 2010 8:43PM

Texting Tragedy

Rate: 48 Flag

The cell phone should have been pocketed or pursed…turned off…out of sight and further from the mind-ing.

Lovely loveliness/She (26) should have been focused on nothing but the drive… ought to have been…two hands driving…thinking…about her September wedding…or her 3-year-old daughter.

But instead, everything changed…rolled horribly end over end…no reason…reasons and messages…slammed into forever goodbye…and then stopped.

All that might have…should have been…was to be… now to be no more.

Everything that had been/She in an instant lay broken, bleeding terribly…over…too soon…too suddenly gone. No more.

In a moment, (hold on please), just a moment…a careless carefree mind…distracted by something…other than her car…moving down the road to somewhere…over the hill…beyond to someone…never arriving… instead became a corpse…a crushed statistic… a beautiful nevermore ... and an irretrievable memory.

On Saturday, the church was full of those who would have filled it in September. A floral altar backdrop framed the priest who was to marry them in just six weeks… who now instead trembling tried to make sense of the non-sense reality and the unthinkable truth.

Her father walked her ivory-draped casket down the aisle instead of offering her his arm… escorted by nearly (should have been) groomsmen…now pallbearers.

The best man brother and mother-of-the-bride held the groom upright...holding him together…(folded in two as they all were) by the enormous weight of loss.

Her bridesmaids wore black…peering through red swollen eyes… into a future without their sister, cousin, friend… unseen satin pink gowns hanging somewhere else…never-to-be-worn…in protective see-through bags.

Who could have seen through to this day?

What could have prevented it?

Men and women, young and old, family and friends wept openly…sobbing and shaking…throughout the funeral Mass...bearing the mass of all their pain. Everyone wishing…hoping…trying desperately to escape the nightmare. Begging (eyes-to-Heaven: please!)...to run toward the dream…

Far into the other ending...into September's destiny

the happy might have... should have been…the lace, the I Do's, the rice, the shoes, and all the Sweet Impossible Tomorrows.

What should have been- what could have been…No more. 

Now Nothing: only memories. Now Nothing: but grief's long rollercoaster...as Death collects gray tickets laced with sorrow...printed with angry unanswered questions:

How could this happen?

Why did this have to happen?

And who???

Who was she dying to talk to?

© 2010 Rebecca Ann Pelley All Rights Reserved

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This may be an awful awkward read; Saturday's funeral was the most awful I've attended in my 60 years. Yes, it is all true. She was a former student, my daughter's friend and classmate. This all lies very raw upon my heart and mind right now. Grief and anger make a horrible cocktail. Just asking...rhetorically and realistically...Who are you dying to talk to?
I try to explain this to my children all the time. It takes that one second to end everything.
Well written, incredibly sad..

how you are able to present this senseless tragedy so lyrically I'll never understand but this makes almost too much sense for something so terribly senseless...
What an unthinkable tragedy. I am so sorry for everyone who knows and loves this young woman._r
The narrator's desperation is vivid. Horrible tragedy.
I'm so sorry for your loss. This texting while driving thing is worse than drunk driving. R
My oldest son worked as a volunteer firefighter/paramedic for a couple of years before he went to college. He said he found open cellphones with partial text messages on them in many of the vehicles involved in accidents.
This is just too sad and such a tragedy as you described it. Her texting lead her to death. Hopefully, your post will lead to lives saved. Thank you for sharing this with us especially considering your pain and loss.
I have stood on the brink of one second making a difference, thank heaven I didn't have a cell phone ringing while I was there.
What a pur tragedy.
This texting and talking on the cell while driving scares me. And this is why. Statics show that it is probably worse than driving drunk. I could never consider doing this myself. What could be that important??????
I too talk to my son about this and I can't understand why especially young people don't get it. I've seen videos of pictures after pictures of deadly accidents caused by texting while driving, yet way too many people do it on a regular basis and it is legal still in many states.
I hope Oprah is making some headway on her campaign "the no phone zone". Good technology used badly.
:( Thanks for sharing, rated and Tink Picked!
I can't stand texting. Pick up a phone for God's sake if you have something to say, but not while driving. Oprah is spreading the right message. Sign the contract. So sad. So very sad.
So very sad. How many lives have to be lost before people will wake up? My sympathies to you and yours. R
Live for today because tomorrow might not come. Rated with hugs
A gut punch story, sensitively told.
This had to be hard to write. Thank you it needed to be said.r
This is horrific - your writing of it is beautiful, haunting. msp
You write with such wrenching clarity, and I don't know why cell phone use in automobiles is not illegal across the board. My youngest daughter learned her lesson a few years ago after totaling her car after owning it a whopping 72 days. She was texting to get directions to a soccer game. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful young friend.
You did a wonderful job creating the desperation and raw grief in your writing. Personally, my gut is wrenched. I see so many people of all ages with their cell phones glued to their ears while driving. I have always thought THAT was dangerous. Texting? An accident begging to happen.

I'm so sorry for your grief. My thoughts are with that devastated groom, her family and friends.

What a terrible tragedy... It is a lesson we should all be forwarding to our loved ones. Technology...simplifies our life and yet can so easily take it in an instant of carelessness.

I'm terribly sorry.
Thanks for this. I have posted to my face book. R
Many thanks to you all for your visit to this post and for your gift of time to share your thoughts and feedback about this topic and the loss of life. The side by side superimposition and witness of death against life...one thing seen so starkly against the other ... a wedding replaced by a funeral...as many of you noted...was haunting. So many times we take things for granted, act without thinking...thought-less and oblivious to the chances we take, the dice we roll. I admit I am exhausted tonight and hope you will forgive my lack of personal reflection now. Thank you all so very much for your kind support of my efforts and for your attention to this piece. Please spread the word about turning off cell phones before getting into a car...and always when driving. Safety to you and yours tonight and always. B
The writing is powerful, the story sad beyond belief.
Put down the damn phone!
Sometimes I will pass a car, young woman or occasionally young man, where the driver is slumped in the seat, leaning against the window, cell phone on the steering wheel and clearly texting. They think they are just fine. I do my best to avoid, thinking "What the hell are they thinking? oh, yeah, nothing but themselves. "
Tragic. No other word for it.
You put this post together beautifully, with the unanswerable question at the end: who was she dying to talk to?
They don't listen anyway. Tell them not to text and drive all you want, they still get out there and do it anyway. I don't understand it, it makes me angry.

I'm sorry to hear about this.

You've done a potent, powerful thing here. This writing is evocative, lyrical, haunting and all the other good things people have commented. The juxtiposition is easier when there is a birth soonly following a death, but a death before a wedding - oh no. Oprah is doing a good thing - and so are you. Spreading awareness. I don't get talking on the phone while driving, much less texting. That just boggles my mind. All this "multitasking" used to just be called flighty/scattered and inattentive, which seems more accurate. I try to not talk to people who are talking to me while they are driving. I would drive while drinking a (first) beer before I'd drive while on the phone, and I'd be a safer driver.

you keep writing. we're listening.
I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm also very grateful for what you wrote, I also see people reading or putting on mascara driving and I think the same thing. Perhaps the depths of sorrow from the contrast in your words will save another life. Hugs and love to you, again my condolences. Thank you.
Very powerfully written and lots of beautiful sentences. It' s almost too obvious that texting while driving is deadly, and yet so many die from it all the time. Your language lifted this tragedy into something lyrical. Great.
What a terrible tragedy and your grief is evident in your beautiful prose. I am sorry for your loss. I have a long commute to and from work and I swear, each time I have come close to being hit (usually when another driver swerves into my lane unaware that I am there), I look over and always, always he or she is on their cell phone either talking or texting. When will people learn? Cell phones and driving DO NOT mix.
This belongs on the cover. No questions asked. You took a horrible tragedy and turned it into an excellent cautionary tale. I'm sorry for your loss.
My kids are just starting to drive. They have seen me pull off a busy freeway and park before RETURNING a call or text. Anyone who is annoyed by a delay in my resposne can pound it. The ringtone is a demon temptation. I hope to God that they get it by example. Lord knows I harp on about it all the time.

Muse, I am so sorry you had to run the grief gauntlet this weekend.
P.S. Rated and FaceBooked
PM: it has all said above me. All I can add is that you did everyone a public service by writing this. I, for one, have listened to you. Unspeakable tragedy. R-
Terrible story about such an avoidable tragedy. Apparently using a cell phone is more dangerous than drinking and driving. You are so right, a cell phone should be turned off or stowed in the back seat so you won't be tempted to touch it until you arrive at your destination.
PM: it has all said above me. All I can add is that you did everyone a public service by writing this. I, for one, have listened to you. Unspeakable tragedy. R-
Thinking of you and all who face such grief instead of joy. Your powerful piece should be mandatory reading and more for all who drive or plan to learn. Your last line. Just that. A last line.
A few years ago, five girls, all of whom had recently graduated from Fairport HS (now referred to as the Fairport Five Angels on google), were driving to a lake house. One of them was texting. All five were killed.
What makes this continue to have echoes for me is that in the past two years, I've had students from Fairport HS in my college classroom. One was the boyfriend of one of the girls. I teach "creative non-fiction and memoir." Of course, the girls get written about, and I read, each and every time about how horrible those days were, what holes those girls left, of devastated parents.
If only people didn't think they were the exception--that they could do what can't be done.
Absolutely haunting.... Good thoughts and prayers to all involved and affected....
I am sorry for your loss, and for this avoidable tragedy. Thank you for posting this.
This problem needed personal attention and you have done that. Is there a way to get it in front of more eyes???
Powerfully written, P Muse. Really, really well done. Lines like "folded in two as they all were" and "bearing the mass of all their pain" convey the horrible sadness very effectively.
Horrible. I don't text message while driving but I almost wrecked reading a billboard telling me not too. :(
Is it awful to like the way you write it... even if it's such a horrid event? I do...
what a tragic warning to us all. in a blink of an un-watchful eye, all can change, horribly.
i forgot to rate BEFORE commenting, as i discovered through jonathan's post that i must for the rating i give to keep. so i'm trying to redeem this unnecessary comment, made necessary to seal the rating, by carrying forward my lesson.
You really put the details of the loss to this problem. People do and want things so fast these days, don't think things out. What a sad result. The person she texted must feel awful.
This should be required reading for everyone on this planet who has a driver's license.
Just a brief note of genuine thanks to all of you who have stopped and shared yourself, your time and your thoughts with me.It means more than I can say and I am grateful! I am on the fly tonight but will visit your blogs and return the favor. Eager to read and discover your thoughts and truths. Many thanks! Becky
Turn your phones off when you enter your vehicles...please!
I'm in the No Phone Zone! and have been since just this thing happened 10 years back to someone we know. Thanks for the reminder.
This changes my behavior. Today, r
So sad. I wish people would be careful and not distracted, especially when driving! R