Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It's all about choices

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.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

*hugs* to you. I have thought about you often lately even though I have not been on twopeas in a long time.

~Manda~

Emma said...

my thoughts & prayers go out to you & your loved ones for the loss of your daughter. I pray the teens will hear the words you have to share with them.

Anonymous said...

my prayers go out to you! that is terrible. I hope you find peace through God everyday.

Vivian said...

I got teary eyed when a chaperone was reading your speech aloud to a couple of the girls in the program. I pray that good things do come to you, and yea, I may not know you , know you. but hearing about you, makes me feel like i do. my thoughts and prayers do go out to you and i hope that you live each day like it was your last. I promised Jordan that I would do this for her. She means alot to me, just like Kaitlyn meant alot to her. Keep your head up and don't dwell on the past. She is in such a better place now, and in gods hands. so i have no doubt in my mind that she is in a better place now. Safe and free like butterfly.

Wendy said...

Cheri, My heart goes out to you and your family. I had no idea you had gone through such a tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. I had my kids come in and look at your site, and discussed "dusting" with them. Love, Wendy

tammy said...

My 12 year old niece was wearing an orange bracelet this holiday weekend, I asked her what it was for, she said " Aunt Tam, It's Kaitlyn's Promise" . I didn't have a clue, yet she let me read the band, and asked me to log on to this website. Somehow, my Brittany, knows Kaitlyn's aunt, and she made a great impact on my niece, for this I so thank you, I know this is the worst fear for any mother, but please keep Kaitlyn's promise alive. As I have seen the difference it has made on my niece and so many others. May GOD be at your side and give you the strength to fufill Kaitlyn's Promise.

Anonymous said...

Cheri, thank you very much for coming to my school York Junior High Friday April 5th.You have opened my eyes to everything that is wrong in this world i prmoise that i will keep Kaitlyns Promise alive by wearing that wristband and when i get in High School i will promise if 1 or 2 of my friends are dusting or smoking pot i swear i will tell their parents to save their lives i will not have my friends families lives get changed my email is aaronw@sbcglobal.net.Do not dwell on the past go toward the future for better things to come to your life.I know its very hard for you to come to my everyones school and discuss about your daughter but you are saving so many lives my prayers are with you.

Justin Quinn said...

I am SO terribly sorry for your loss. I read your post on Melody Ross' blog and I could not help but click on your blog and read more. Thank you for raising this awareness!!!! May Heavenly Father be with you and comfort you always!!!

Justin Quinn

Anonymous said...

I was reading your speech and thought about it for a while and I have family and friends that goes out to you but I would like you to know that I think this story is a life saver. My name is Kaitlin. My Grandma's heart also goes out to you. I will forever think about this as a reminder that life is worth living and that when we do die, we will go live the Father in heaven. <3

Forrest White said...

Thank you so much for coming to my school and talking to us about your daughter... Hearing your speech touched me in ways I could never explain.

Anonymous said...

I was behind your (or someone's) vehicle at Sonic the other day and saw the sticker Kaitlynspromise.com and wondered so I checked it out on the internet. What a horrible find for you to find your daughter dead in the bath tub over a silly high. I have a 16 year old daughter myself and can only IMAGINE what that would feel like. I have said a prayer for your family, their grief and healing. God bless you and the work you are dealing with teens today. Evelyn

Madison said...

Thank u so much for coming to are school today seeing you cry made me cry and think again about all the choice I make in life.it was the very sad and I will be praying for you and like u said today in your speech peppole who force you to do though things like that r not your friends.I think I was one of kaitlyns friend I would have got your help to save her her but then I see why they didn't because she would be mad at them for tell.i'm so sorry that you lost Kaitlyn like that. And I promise you I will help you and not let my friend make the chosie kaitlin did.
Stundent from York jh love Madison Parker

Anonymous said...

I appreciated you giving your time to teach us about your daughter yesterday. it really had an impact on me because i lost my cousin this past summer and drugs were just one reason. i pray that every one will get to hear your story and really let you and your daughters story impact them also. I just want to thank you for devoting your time to our shattered lives program :)

Anonymous said...

hi you came to my school and speeched for mr.hurlberts class my name is leah and i am very happy you came as you were speaking i was looking around in the audience and every single one of "the bad boys" had their eyes on you i reallythink you opened some eyes and i appreciate it god bless you and kaitlyn too i will wear her braclet forever (: