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On November 1, two of Peter's friends from Reed were crossing the street in a marked crosswalk and were hit by a car--a bus had stopped for them in the right lane and the driver thought the bus was just at a stop and swerved around it into the left lane. Lindsay died at the scene and Jess is in critical condition at OHSU. Here's a link to the story, as written up in the Oregonian: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/11/woman_hit_while_crossing_south.html

I didn't know either of them well, but I'd certainly had several conversations with Jess, and Lindsay was one of the few people who actually cared to show up to Peter's graduation party. From what I remember, she seemed like a really great person, although I confess I don't remember much. The party was with Peter's parents, and I was more focused on them at the time--talking to them, playing hostess, etc.

Since the accident, I've been keeping tabs on Jess' condition, and reading people's comments about Lindsay on the "Remembering Lindsay" facebook community that got set up after her death. I wish I'd known them both better. There's a huge out-pouring of love for both of them. Tons of people are visiting Jess in the hospital. Her outlook is grim but there may still be some hope--the MRI came back with a really shitty interpretation (75% chance she won't wake, the other 25% that she'll be in a vegetative state), and they're getting a second opinion, but midbrain injuries are really bad. Still, she's responding to pain and to people talking to her (twitching as people spoke to her, Peter said--he drove up Wednesday night for the memorial for Lindsay that took place on Thursday and visited Jess in the hospital on Saturday). I am not giving up hope yet. I'd ask that all of you send whatever positive energy towards her that you can. I don't pray, obviously, but I do believe in thinking good thoughts to people. If you do pray, or you think the same about energy and thoughts, please send some her way.

I can't get past the stupidity of it. And the mundanity of their day. They were just getting groceries on a Sunday evening. They were probably looking forward to getting home and cooking or something. Maybe they were going to watch some TV, or just hang out and talk--they were roommates and good friends. Who knows. The thing is, we all do that every day. We walk across streets doing errands. We don't think about life ending or irrevocably changing. And, I mean, I don't think you can live your life that way, where you're constantly afraid of death--that's just not healthy. But... you never know when it's going to end. We of the 20-something age aren't supposed to die. We're in the prime of life, we're looking forward to starting careers and being in love with someone and maybe getting married or partnered or committed, and we're looking forward to maybe having kids, if we're into that, or maybe starting a non-profit, or a business, or trying to change the world for the better... whatever. We have dreams, we're finished with or finishing up college, maybe we're in grad school, the world is our oyster! We're as healthy as we'll ever be. We aren't supposed to die.

And we aren't supposed to die when we're not even doing something dangerous. Everyone accepts a certain amount of risk. You know when you're going to a party to get really drunk that your inhibitions are lowered, and you take that into account. You know that when you choose to go rock climbing, you might fall and hurt yourself, and you take that into account. You know if you're going to surfing or hang gliding or sky diving or horseback riding or... or, I dunno, playing paintball, that something stupid or dangerous can happen. You think about those risks.

But who thinks about getting hit by a car when they're just walking home with a bag of groceries? That's supposed to be safe.

I think about it every time I cross a street, now. I'm extra careful. I meet the driver's eyes before I walk in front of a car. I don't jaywalk unless there are no cars on the road and no cars in side streets that can turn into me.

And I think about it every time I drive a car. I slow down around crosswalks. When I pass a bus on the left I am exceedingly careful to check if there's a crosswalk, or check even if there's not. Buses are unpredictable. People walk in front of them to cross the street or whatever.

I guess this post is both working out my feelings on this and a plea to all of you, every one of my friends, anyone who reads this journal, to please, please, be careful around cars. People forget that these are huge, dangerous machines, a ton or more, going at really fast speeds, and--force like that? That can so, so easily hurt or kill someone. That driver didn't think when he got in his car that day that he'd end up killing someone and possibly putting someone else in a vegetative state for however long she's alive. Remember. Remember what your car can do. Remember that other people aren't going to be looking out for you. Remember that your life can end or change in an instant, and appreciate that you're alive, and this is a beautiful world, and that even if things seem shitty to you right now, they will almost certainly get better, and it's worth it just to be here. Don't live in fear, but don't live in ignorance of your surroundings, either the beauty of them or the danger.

Remember two women who were in the prime of life with tons of people who loved them, and the stupid, senseless perfect storm of idiotic details that took one's life and left the other's life changed forever.

Date: 2009-11-09 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] megspencer.livejournal.com
That's so awful - I'll send good thoughts Jess' way. The warning about cars is such an important one, from both sides. I remember when I was in high school an elementary school student was killed riding his bike when he cut across a road mid-block from out behind some bushes. The driver was in her 20s, and I remember feeling so horrible for her. I'm pretty sure she wasn't at fault, but I can't imagine how hard living with that kind of thing must be.

I've been in so many near collisions (both walking and riding buses, plus being hit on my bike the one time) that I think I'm a lot more cautious than a lot of people. A lot of times drivers don't look at crosswalks if they have the light, or pull across crosswalks from blind allies (which is how I got hit on my bike). I think we just take cars for granted because they're everywhere, forgetting that they are amazingly dangerous.

Big virtual hugs to both you and Peter.

Date: 2009-11-09 12:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haruka27.livejournal.com
Thanks, Megan, for the thoughts to Jess and the virtual hugs. Peter obviously has been the more upset of the two of us, as he knew them both a lot better than I did, but he's been up at the memorial service in Portland, and I've been alone at home thinking my thoughts.

And yeah... it's easy to get distracted or just not be looking, either as a pedestrian or a driver, especially if you're talking to a friend. My aunt and I were driving, and I'd just finished telling her the story, and she almost hit a kid on a bike, because she was pulling into a parking lot and he was riding his bike on the sidewalk. Fortunately I said "Uh, speaking of which..." and she saw him and stopped and it was all fine.

But... it's so easy.

Date: 2009-11-09 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vanesco.livejournal.com
I remember that exact spot actually. I was almost hit too while coming back from a friend's place.

My best wishes to the families and friends.

Date: 2009-11-09 03:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haruka27.livejournal.com
I'm glad you weren't hit. I hope that they add a frickin light there, just a pedestrian light that blinks when people are crossing. That could have made all the difference.

And thanks for your wishes.

Date: 2009-11-09 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chickenblood.livejournal.com
I'm sorry to hear the bad news :(

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