I don’t think I’ve experienced such a low after so many highs in a long time.
I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen. I swear. Last week after all the Conan/Florence/Sasquatch/Spoon/Chris Hardwick/EIC awesomeness was all over, I just knew it had to end.
This past weekend, four of my sister’s peers were in a car accident just this side of the bridge. They hit a patch of gravel in the rain and flew into a ditch, hitting 3 trees on the way down. Noah Turgman, the driver, suffered fatal injuries, and Anna Heacox is still in the hospital with a broken back and potential brain damage. Harvey and Emery sustained minor injuries, and they’ve been back at school most of the week.
Libby knew Noah. I didn’t know him, but I knew his sister. We’ve known Anna since 6th grade when she was on Libby’s basketball team, and she’s one of Lindsay’s best friends. I played golf with Anna senior year, I’ve hung out with the girls loads of time since I’ve graduated, and when I heard that she’d be going to Western with Libby next year, I was really really glad.
I don’t consider myself a religious person. Hell, I’m not even sure what I believe anymore, which is fine with me, but I prayed for the first time on tuesday since my grandmother died in 2002. I tend to hold grudges, so me and God haven’t really been on speaking terms since then. But in all of this mess with Noah dying and Anna in the hospital, we didn’t know if she’d wake up. I’ve seen enough doctor shows to know that swelling in the brain doesn’t always end well. At that moment, sitting in traffic on 19th, in the rain, I started to cry in my car. Anna’s a great kid, and it wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be fair to Anna, or to her family, or to all her peers. I love my sister and her friends so much, and they’d had enough pain for one week. I didn’t want for the death of two of their peers to ruin their senior year.
I remember how hard it was my junior year when Brian, Josh, and Arthur died. I didn’t even know them, and it was still hard. It took Outlook weeks to figure out how to cover their deaths. Three boys, three deaths, three weeks in a row, and one of them a suicide. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to deal with in all my years as a student journalist. The editorial board discussed it for hours. We were almost split down the middle about how to cover it, and in the end I felt like we did the right thing doing two memorials instead of three, but I still felt dirty. I felt dirty and hated by my peers because of it.
Since then, there haven’t been any deaths at PHS. None. Until now.
After we heard the news on Saturday, it messed with everyone. Rumors started, horrible rumors that didn’t need to happen. It took the local news outlet – THE PENINSULA GATEWAY – until Sunday to post a link on their Facebook page to the News Tribune story. This whole ordeal has made me lose complete faith in The Gateway. Sorry if you like it, but I hate it. By the time I tweeted at the TNT and Gateway, I had more information than the TNT gave back to me.
But my point isn’t about hating on the news. Because they do good things sometimes. Komo 4 sent a reporter to a bonfire the kids had Saturday night to share memories about Noah. One day. One day to organize over 100 kids together at one friend’s house. I highly doubt all these kids were friends with each other, or even knew each other, but Noah brought all them together, and what’s happened since then has been the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen.
Anna’s been in a medically-induced coma since Saturday, and all the procedures she’s going to need is going to cost a lot of money, and it will take time, because no one knows what kind of brain injuries she endured. On Monday – TWO DAYS AFTER THE ACCIDENT – enough kids organized together for the school to wear pink in honor of Noah, because it was his favorite color. Tuesday they wore green for Anna, and wednesday they wore yellow. Instantly the kids started planning a barbeque to raise money for her care, and to make tee-shirts with Anna’s favorite walrus silkscreen to sell. They got tee-shirts donated from different companies around town, and the Boosters provided money for them to buy hot dogs for wednesday’s barbeque. I don’t know how they did this so fast, but yesterday when I was at the barbeque, multiple people were already wearing shirts that simply said “Noah” and had the friendship symbol underneath it.
They raised over $2500 yesterday at lunch. Selling hot dogs, cupcakes, and Otter Pops, as well as taking donations up to $100 from random people. I skipped my first class to take pictures of the event, and my sister needed the car anyway.
That last one is just a small amount of kids compared to everyone that came. And they had two lunches to cover. Mom had to go to Costco and get more hot dogs because they were all out after first lunch.
They’re gonna do it again on Saturday, and on Sunday run a 5K as a fundraiser for Anna.
I’ve never been more proud of my sister and her friends. Being at the barbeque yesterday almost brought me to tears again, because it was so wonderful.
The doctors put in a feeding tube yesterday, and today Anna coughed, and I guess just a couple hours ago they started slowly taking her off the coma medicine, and it’s the best news I’ve heard all week. I’ve never been so glad to hear about someone coughing than I was this morning.
I’m just keeping hope that May starts out as well as April did.
I love you PHS.