Ignorance’s Toll

Alcohol photos 008

On a two lane rural mountain road

in a car that was compact

great grandpa smiles at my mom

who is seated with me in back.

 

A child mother at fifteen

cradles baby girl four months old

unaware of the coming danger

a few miles down the road.

 

In the south it is commonplace

to drink and then to drive

seat belts and infant seats

were laws not yet obliged.

 

Blissful ignorance is the message

great grandma chooses to send

fate would prove a cruel teacher

just around that next big bend.

 

The wet pavement curved sharply

but the car slid and went straight

great grandmother intoxicated

could not compensate.

 

Pandemonium ensued when

over the cliff we did drop

on a hillside in tree branches

we came to a sudden stop.

 

My tiny head was jarred

and my brain swollen within

“Traumatic Brain Injury”

not common way back then.

 

We all suffered injuries for

the choice great grandma made

but no one’s toll was higher

than the one that I have paid.

 

Every day I wake and

while I am happy to be alive

I live with a brain that’s damaged

because she chose to drink and drive.

 

5 thoughts on “Ignorance’s Toll

    1. Sadly…yes. I have brain damage that the doctors believe after doing tests when I was 4, is a result of that crash when I was 4 months old. My great grandmother was a functioning alcoholic as is my grandmother (well functioning is debatable in regards to my grandmother).

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      1. It’s interesting to look back on prior generations, and at least attempt to view their decisions with an understanding of their times. Our current world is full of commons senses centered around the wellness of mind and body. Their common senses were centered more around community and appreciating every day they were given. I’m not offering excuses, nor am I judging. Neither is my place. Like I said, I just find it interesting.
        I’m sorry that you have lived with this brain damage every day since you were 4 months old.

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      2. Thanks Matt. Since I have been this way my whole life..I don’t know any different. I wrote this in an attempt to raise awareness. The thing is… here we are more aware, but where this happened sadly this behavior is still rampant even now. Law enforcement too often looks the other way. Everyone knows everyone and it’s accepted behavior. We laugh at songs like Bubba shot the jukebox, but there are places where it’s reality, even today. I struggle a little with the idea of endangering the lives of your husband, granddaughter, and great granddaughter equating to common sense being centered on community and living for each day. What I have come to realize is that alcoholics don’t believe when they drive they are truly impaired to the degree that they are. How often have we heard someone exclaim that they drive better when they’re intoxicated? We know it’s ridiculous, but I think some people actually believe it. In fact I know, first hand some people do. If my story stops even a few people from drinking and driving than it’s worth sharing. 🙂 I always appreciate your imput and candor. Hugs

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      3. I often forgot in our wide open internet lives, how sheltered I remain. It’s too easy to think that everyone is as smart and compassionate as the people I interact with online every day… Hence, the thought had never crossed my mind that some people may not see the danger in driving after drinking.

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