Two years ago this past Friday (9/10/2008), my dear friend Jodi died due to injuries sustained in a car accident. Somehow, I let the day pass without realizing what it was. The next day, her brother reminded me of the anniversary of her death. I felt terrible that I had let it pass without, at least, visiting the cemetery. For a few moments, I thought it meant that I was forgetting. I then realized that maybe I simply blocked it out.
Not a day goes by that I don't miss my friend. We ran errands together, we sat on the porch talking, we laughed together, cried together, and yes we even had a few fights and times when weren't speaking.
I rarely drive by the accident site and not glance over to the spot where her car landed after it rolled or the field where she landed after she was thrown. And I have dealt with guilt. Guilt that maybe I could have done something - anything. Even though I know in my heart and soul, that it was her time to leave us.
It may sound strange but my feelings of guilt came not right after the accident but just a few months ago. You see I was on the freeway heading south, talking to another friend on my cell phone, when I passed the accident. It was over on the north bound lanes and I didn't pay much attention to what was happening. I didn't even mention it to my sister when I stopped at her house. At the accident site, there was an ambulance, police cars, and firetruck. Chances are at that moment, my friend was arguing with the paramedics and police about being life-flighted to the hospital in Provo, rather than taken by ambulance to the local hospital.
The thought keeps coming into my head that if I hadn't been on the phone, maybe I would have paid more attention, seen that it was her car. Maybe I could have turned around in the Emergency turnout, and maybe I could have made sure she took the helicopter instead of the ambulance. Or perhaps, I could have let her parents know earlier than they did about the accident and gave them some time to say their Goodbye's.
I realize these are all what-ifs and if I weren't on the phone I probably wouldn't have known it was her anyway because of where the car and emergency vehicles were. I realize that it is probably just wishful thinking, wishing that I could have somehow saved my friend. I will never know for certain.
What I do know, is that wherever she is, she is happy. She is beautiful. And the restrictions her body had on earth have been removed. I know she knew her grandson before he was born. I know that she was able to watch over her son while he was in Iraq and Afghanistan. And I know that she has been with all of us that love her whenever we have needed her comforting presence.
In memory of Jodi Spencer Martinez, June 22, 1968 - September 10, 2008. We love you and miss you very much.