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The 7th of July

I don’t know you, and you don’t know me.
But we will likely think of each other on this day for the rest of our lives.
This fateful date, when our otherwise completely separate lives came crashing together.
Literally.

No, I haven’t forgotten, nor will I ever. The feeling torments us too. I think of you every night before I sleep. Sometimes, I wish I could make it stop. Other times I am afraid that I will let myself forget. But all of the time, I wait in fear for karma to punish me.

My husband couldn’t bring himself to go to work today. I know that he is the villain in your story, but I promise that he is no monster. He carries the weight like an invisible boulder, shackled to him everyday.

I process all of this knowing… that it is nothing compared to the agony¬†you’ve endured. I promise you, I pray for your peace of mind, your healing, I mentally beg for your forgiveness. I tear my mind apart asking “why?” But I am sure that you have too.

I promise that I think of your broken family, as I hold on to my own. I don’t understand it, anymore than you do. I throw my knees to ground, my eyes to the sky, and look for the same answers as you, but find no reprieve. I question my worth as I see the sun each day.

You may take solace knowing, that our lives are also haunted. I try to imagine the many wonderful qualities that I am sure he possessed. I strive to believe that his years of happiness were plenty, and that he is comfortably watching you from a better place.

But we know only what our imaginations culminate, and sometimes I am sure that mine could distort even the deepest pits of hell.

I can’t imagine the kind of sorrow that this day must bring for you. But I am thinking of you. As a fellow wife and mother I ache for you, and I always will.

No, I haven’t forgotten, nor will I ever.

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  • Katie Lorando

    Amanda, this post is heartbreaking and so real. I can’t imagine the pain your family must feel having never experienced something like this. I am proud and inspired by your sharing it with the world, though. <3

    • Amanda Rinehart

      Thanks Katie. It’s really nothing for you to be proud of though. It’s a strange experience, to say the least.

  • Katie Lorando

    Amanda, this post is heartbreaking and so real. I can’t imagine the pain your family must feel having never experienced something like this. I am proud and inspired by your sharing it with the world, though. <3

    • Amanda Rinehart

      Thanks Katie. It’s really nothing for you to be proud of though. It’s a strange experience, to say the least.

  • Tara Donehoo Smith

    It’s been one year since my life was changed forever. It was exactly 4:57 pm on Monday July 7th. One year ago my best friend, the absolute love of my life, my soulmate was taken from this world. That night a young police officer stood at my front door with a solemn look on his face and with a heavy heart he told me that my husband wouldn’t be making it home that night. He would never walk through that door again. I would never hear him call my name, I would never see him smile at me or hear him whisper the words “I love you” ever again. That night our lives would be changed forever. In an instant everything was taken away from me, I was brought to my knees and that will live in my memory forever. That day started like every other day. I was still sleeping when he leaned over to kiss me goodbye. I barely remember him leaving. I never imagined I would never see his sweet face again. Zachary was scheduled to have his wisdom teeth removed that morning. David made several phone calls home that day checking on Zach. Funny thing is I couldn’t remember if I had told him I loved him during any of our conversations. I hope he knew, I hope he knew that he was my hero, my very best friend. The last time I spoke to him was around 3pm and at 9pm the doorbell rang and somehow I knew. There were no goodbyes, so many things left unsaid, so many things left to do, so many places to see, moments to remember. So many years left to live. I wish I could say that was the hardest, worst part of it but I can’t. The many days, weeks and months ahead of us were just as hard. I lost my soulmate, but Zach at 16 years old had lost his father, my heart broke for him. I had to face my loss as well as his. I never thought I would survive those circumstances but I had to be there for my baby boy. I didn’t do it alone, so many people friends and family rushed to my side. My wonderful friends and neighbors spoke to the police for me that night, I couldn’t do it. David’s sister and nephews stayed with me all night, we sat huddled together in the family room waiting for the morning to arrive. My parents drove all night from Atlanta to Sarasota. David was an extraordinary person, loved by so many. Zach and I struggle with our loss everyday. We’re slowly learning to cope, we’re learning to live our lives without David, which isn’t easy. We’re taking care of each other and no matter where life takes us I know David will always be standing next to us. He is my strength, he helps me to carry on.
    I’ve spent this last year being so angry and bitter towards you. I wish you had reached out to me sooner but I realized the other day that maybe that’s not as easy as it seems to be. I’ve wondered day after day what happened, why it happened and I know that I will never get those answers. I can’t understand what you feel just like you can’t understand what I feel. I will tell you that this has been and will be the greatest loss I ever experience. All I had hoped for my future is now gone. Zach is without his dad, he is facing his most difficult years without his father. David was the second son his mother has lost, that’s two out of three children. His sister Lorrie is all that remains. Our 19th anniversary would’ve been next month. We were going to plan a big trip for our 20th. I’m not telling you all of this to make you feel worse, although in the beginning that’s all I wanted but I just want you to know who we are and what was taken from us. One day I will be able to move on but I will never stop missing him. My only hope is that you learn from this experience and that you never have to experience it yourself.

  • Tara Donehoo Smith

    It’s been one year since my life was changed forever. It was exactly 4:57 pm on Monday July 7th. One year ago my best friend, the absolute love of my life, my soulmate was taken from this world. That night a young police officer stood at my front door with a solemn look on his face and with a heavy heart he told me that my husband wouldn’t be making it home that night. He would never walk through that door again. I would never hear him call my name, I would never see him smile at me or hear him whisper the words “I love you” ever again. That night our lives would be changed forever. In an instant everything was taken away from me, I was brought to my knees and that will live in my memory forever. That day started like every other day. I was still sleeping when he leaned over to kiss me goodbye. I barely remember him leaving. I never imagined I would never see his sweet face again. Zachary was scheduled to have his wisdom teeth removed that morning. David made several phone calls home that day checking on Zach. Funny thing is I couldn’t remember if I had told him I loved him during any of our conversations. I hope he knew, I hope he knew that he was my hero, my very best friend. The last time I spoke to him was around 3pm and at 9pm the doorbell rang and somehow I knew. There were no goodbyes, so many things left unsaid, so many things left to do, so many places to see, moments to remember. So many years left to live. I wish I could say that was the hardest, worst part of it but I can’t. The many days, weeks and months ahead of us were just as hard. I lost my soulmate, but Zach at 16 years old had lost his father, my heart broke for him. I had to face my loss as well as his. I never thought I would survive those circumstances but I had to be there for my baby boy. I didn’t do it alone, so many people friends and family rushed to my side. My wonderful friends and neighbors spoke to the police for me that night, I couldn’t do it. David’s sister and nephews stayed with me all night, we sat huddled together in the family room waiting for the morning to arrive. My parents drove all night from Atlanta to Sarasota. David was an extraordinary person, loved by so many. Zach and I struggle with our loss everyday. We’re slowly learning to cope, we’re learning to live our lives without David, which isn’t easy. We’re taking care of each other and no matter where life takes us I know David will always be standing next to us. He is my strength, he helps me to carry on.
    I’ve spent this last year being so angry and bitter towards you. I wish you had reached out to me sooner but I realized the other day that maybe that’s not as easy as it seems to be. I’ve wondered day after day what happened, why it happened and I know that I will never get those answers. I can’t understand what you feel just like you can’t understand what I feel. I will tell you that this has been and will be the greatest loss I ever experience. All I had hoped for my future is now gone. Zach is without his dad, he is facing his most difficult years without his father. David was the second son his mother has lost, that’s two out of three children. His sister Lorrie is all that remains. Our 19th anniversary would’ve been next month. We were going to plan a big trip for our 20th. I’m not telling you all of this to make you feel worse, although in the beginning that’s all I wanted but I just want you to know who we are and what was taken from us. One day I will be able to move on but I will never stop missing him. My only hope is that you learn from this experience and that you never have to experience it yourself.

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