Tonight I will be speaking to a group of High School Students who are a part of the Shattered Lives program:
Here is what I am going to say tonight -- hopefully it will get through and the choices will be the right one.
My name is Cheri Vallery and my daughter Kaitlyn died on August 27, 2006 . In my wildest dreams, I never thought something like this would happen to our family Many times we don’t realize the choices we make have more than just an impact on ourselves. Your choices are far reaching – they touch many people. Today at the accident scene many of your parents had to pretend to identify your bodies, pretend to react to the news that you had died, pretend to realize that they will NEVER see you again. For me it is not pretend – I had to do all of those things just six months ago without the luxury of Kaitlyn coming home the next day. All because of a choice she made
Death is forever – one bad choice can mean that your family’s lives are forever changed. Kaitlyn has a mom and dad – a mom that will never get to see her get dressed for the prom, see her graduate from high school, help her move into the dorm at college, shop for her wedding dress, be with her when her children our born. Her dad will never be able to harass her dates when they come to pick her up, never get to see her all dressed up for the prom, stand with pride when she graduates from high school and goes on to college, never get to walk her down the aisle when she gets married, never get to hold her children in his arms and have them call him papa bear like she did EVERYDAY.
Kaitlyn had a brother named Jeremy who no longer has his sister, they can no longer complain about me and their dad together, he lost his best friend – someone who has been a part if his life since he was 14 months old. She had grandparents that no longer have their granddaughter – no one to call them granny and grampy – no one to get hugs from, no one that is Kaitlyn.
She had aunts and uncles that miss her EVERYDAY. She has a 5 year old cousin named Sarah that still does not understand why Kaitlyn is not here anymore. Our family holidays and get togethers are forever changed –we will always have someone missing – someone that we wish was still there. When we want to “see” Kaitlyn we go to the cemetery – all we have to visit is a piece of metal that marks where she is buried. To hear her voice we call her cell phone hoping that by some miracle she will answer -- she doesn't All because of a choice that she made
Kaitlyn has MANY friends that still miss her very much. They cannot believe that their best is friend is dead and will never come back. No more will the hear the familiar “Hey Girlfriend”; see the huge smile she always had on her face. All of the plans and dreams that they made for the rest of their lives are forever changed. There will be no prom night for them, no Senior Trip, no first apt, no serving in each others wedding, no seeing their kids grow up together. These are ALL hopes and dreams Kaitlyn and her friends had with each other – but not anymore. All because of a choice that she made.
When you get into a vehicle with someone that has been drinking, smoking pot or anything else that makes them not able to drive a car safely you are making a choice that could affect your family and friends. When you get behind the wheel of a car and you have been drinking, smoking pot, rolling ect you are taking not only your life but the life of anyone that happens to be on the road with you in your hands. Think about your plans and dreams for the future – think about your mom and dad, your sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends – think about what there lives will be like All because of the choices that you make.
If you find yourself in a situation that just does not feel right to you – make a phone call – call your parents to come and pick you up – they may not be happy with you once you get home BUT I promise you that they would much rather get a call from YOU than a Police Officer or the Morgue, if you can’t call your parents call a friend that you know is sober or call ME – I will give each and everyone of you my phone number – I would much rather get woken up in the middle of the night then having to read in the paper that one of you were in an accident or worse – that I have to make a trip to the funeral home and see the devastation that your choice caused your family and friends–
I am sure by now that you notice a theme in my story – CHOICE – ultimately that is what it comes down too – CHOICES – it is up to you to decide if you the choice you make is going to be the right or wrong one. Each one of you received an orange awareness bracelet with Kaitlyn’s Promise on it – I would love you to wear it everyday as a reminder of the choices you have and how they affect everyone around you. Kaitlyn does not have that ability anymore – but I know in my heart that she would want each and everyone of one of you to make the right choice - -that is Kaitlyn’s Promise to you.