someone’s watching over me

ashley - petaluma, California
Entered on February 26, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

When I was about 8 one of my father’s friends came over with his 9 year old son, Chris. We were little so of course we got along right away, we quickly became very competitive in video games such as Mario kart 64 and golden eye 007. After that day Chris and I were already best friends. We soon began doing everything together, going on bike adventures, having water balloon fights and picking on my little brothers. We both started high school together and thought it was going to be the time of our lives. He was quickly noticed by girls and the basketball coach. Chris had a gift, he was 6 foot 4 inches and extremely talented in basketball. He quickly made the team and was known by almost everyone within a few months. Chris always taught me you have to look on the brighter side of things no matter what the situation. He was nice to everyone, there was never a moment where he had a bad attitude. One night at my house when one of his buddies from the team wanted to go on a drive in his brand new mustang. Of course Chris wanted to go, but I stayed home because I had homework to do. That night Chris and his friend flipped the car going 110 mph into a grass field. I was at the hospital for 5 days by his side praying for a miracle. Chris was diagnosed with internal bleeding in the stomach and severe brain damage. After 5 days of struggling he passed away. After he passed away it took me about a year to finally accept it. Within that year I organized teen driving classes, where I would go to schools and share this story and encourage teens to be safe and always wear a seatbelt, even if its just down the block. It was amazing to see the responses I got from telling my story. The teenagers really cared which made me feel like I was making a difference, one school organized “drive safely” key chains for kids to put on their key rings. However, It did have a negative impact on me, I quit dancing after 9 years and just seemed to give up on everything. Then I would stop and think Chris is watching over me right now smiling, pushing me to move on and live my life. His death really showed me that nothing in life is promised. You need to cherish everything and everyone in your life. One simple smile at a stranger can make their day, one simple hello could impact someone greatly with you not realizing. Chris’ death really opened my eyes to new possibilities in a sense that I looked on the brighter side of things. From his death I might have saved many other lives by sharing my story and raising their awareness with teenage driving. I believe that given the worst situation, having the right outlook can trigger positive affects.