A year has passed, and I am still flooded with questions from my daughter, Cassi, questions no parent should have to answer. Questions like: "Why mom?" "Why Shaina? Why not me?" "Why am I still alive?" "Why didn't I die?"
And as many times as I search within myself, I cannot find the answers. I find myself saying that God works in ways only he can understand. We are all here for a purpose, and at any time He can decide when our journey here is over. I tell her that she has not finished what He has planned for her. We cannot question what He does, only try to make sense of it and try the best we can to move forward.
I will never forget the feeling that overcame me the early morning of June 26 when I was awakened by the telephone and heard a voice — that I had never heard before but will surely never forget — telling me that my daughter had been involved in a one-vehicle rollover and had been transported to the Lewistown hospital. I was informed that one girl was pronounced dead at the scene and the other was heading into surgery.
These are words no parent ever wants to hear. As my sister drove me for what seemed like forever to Lewistown, I had no clue as to what I would see when I got there. Upon arriving at the Lewistown hospital, I learned that my daughter was in surgery and that her friend, Shaina, who was driving my daughter's car at speeds in excess of 100 mph, had been thrown from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. As my head was spinning, all I could think of was how proud of Cassi I was that she wore her seat belt, but yet flooded with confusion over the choices the girls had made that night.
My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the Evans family every day when I think of their loss.
But what many don't stop to realize is that we, all of Cassi's family, lost part of Cassi that night as well. She will never smile the same smile; laugh the same laugh; or look at life the way she once did. There is not a day that goes by that Cassi does not think about that night. Her body, mind and soul have suffered many wounds from the event of that night.
Things that Cassi used to love and do, like playing basketball, hiking, working, hunting and simple everyday tasks, tend to be a struggle and constant reminder of what her body has suffered because of the crash. She also faces many mental and emotional struggles every day. Cassi was awake through the whole ordeal and to this day is awakened by nightmares that haunt her of the accident.
I know the family and friends of Shaina will never get their loved one back, but I feel that I need to speak for Cassi and her family. We will also never get back the Cassi we had before the crash. I will never get the daughter back that on that very day sat across from me at lunch and smiled her big smile and laughed her big laugh. Had I known then that the next time I would see her would be in a hospital bed, I would have huggedå her just a little bit longer.
I hope that, through all that both families have gone through and suffered, everyone out there realizes life is precious and at any given time it can all change. I wish all the best to the Evans family and to all of Cassi's family and friends because I know we all have been changed and impacted in one way or another by that night.
Cassi, we all love you and are here for you, to walk beside you, to hold you and to guide you through the rest of your journey.