On our way out of Santa Fe, we had to stop by & pay our respects to Rose’s memorial beside Old Las Vegas Highway. Rose was one of Alaska’s (my stepdaughter) friends. The night before she was killed she had spent the night at our house on Asequia Madre. The accident happened in June of 2009 just after midnight, five teenagers were travelling in a car when a truck travelling in the opposite direction hit them killing four of the teens & severely injuring Avree the driver. The entire city mourned their loss for weeks & beyond.
The driver was drunk but a few months ago they finally finished his trial and found him NOT guilty because they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he had swerved into their lane. This sounds like legal mumbo jumbo & I know he will suffer beyond anything I can imagine, knowing that he was responsible for the death of four young teens.
What is still blazoned in my memory is the call we got from Alaska sobbing and saying, “Rose is dead.” We jumped out of bed & drove out to the fire station where all the parents & teens were gathering. Alaska was travelling in another car & came upon the accident road block. We waited with her for information & news about the teens & their condition. Julian’s mother was in a room by herself curled up on the floor sobbing uncontrollably, occasionally crying out with an unfathomable pain. Then Rose’s father, John, came through the doors looking panicked and searching the faces for Rose. He was calling out for her with a soft, fearful, boyish face asking everyone, “Where is she? Where is Rose?” One of the teens stood up & hugged him close & then turned away so as not to meet his eyes. No one could say anything until they had identified the bodies, which apparently was difficult to do.
Meanwhile, Larry & I sat in chairs, holding each other. Holding Alaska when she came over for support. We were so grateful & deeply sad simultaneously. Alaska was going to be in that car but at the last-minute she decided to go in another car. Everyone was in different states of shock.
It is a scene I hope to never participate in again. More parents arrived, more tears, screams, desperate pleadings, & more tears.
Rose’s memorial service was filled with heart, comfort & celebration of her grace-filled 15 years. It was held outside at the Mountain Center in Tesuque, hundreds attended. Storm clouds were coming in, thunder clapping, crow was standing watch, eagle soared overhead as the brook babbled. I stood in the water to cool my pregnant swollen feet & felt & witnessed & smiled & cried.
So to Rose, Julian, Kate & Alyssa you are remembered & live on in the hearts of those who never had the honour of meeting you.
We drove on & enjoyed the show put on for us the entire way home through Texas & into Houston. Mother-Nature is simply amazing it was so hard not to just click a photo every mile as the sky changed from one spectacular scene of contrast to another. Raine & I sang every song on the radio & did our car dancing until she crashed into a deep sleep. We stopped in Henrietta, Texas at a Best Western with bats fluttering out front to greet us & cows outside our window moooing us to sleep. How cool is that?
I love road trips & I’m thrilled to be home back in Larry’s arms, holding my baby boy where I will stay . . . until the next adventure.