Ariel Parker

My sweet angel's life was abruptly taken from this earth and our family on February 22, 2008. He was a kind, smart, loving and vivacious child. He was forgiving and strong.

My Ari, who only 4-years, 4-months and 26 days earlier, had changed my life forever by teaching me the importance of perseverance and unwavering faith, was in the process of doing it again...The plan was in the making from the time we had left our home only an hour or so earlier.

I had been working many hours—I was relieved that the long, arduous days would finally be over. I would now be able to spend more time with my children. Well, the first thing I wanted to do was to keep my word and buy Ari the jeans that I had promised weeks earlier. He had the boots, the cowboy hat and the rocking horse, but he lacked the jeans. I had to make his outfit complete.

After work, I gathered my children and mother into my car and we were off to the mall. Unfortunately, Ari was fast asleep within minutes of being buckled into his car seat. So when we finally arrived at our destination, he was too sleepy to get out of the car, but asked me to hold him in my arms. I told him, "Wait until we get home, then mommy will hold you." He cried a little before falling back to sleep.

It was cold and all we wanted to do was go home. Instead of going the route we normally would have taken, my mother decided that she wanted to go by a specific restaurant for a specific item, so we bypassed the turn we would normally have made.

Lauren and Stephen sat quietly on the backseat with Ari. I drove along, anticipating an unremarkable arrival to our home. It was never to be...

As I drove eastward in my small sedan, in my given lane I could see headlights fast approaching my vehicle...headlights belonging to a much larger vehicle in my lane, only traveling westward. In desperation, I tried to avoid the impending crash to no avail.

Upon impact, I lost consciousness, but briefly awakened to images and sounds that I wish I could erase. In my minds eye, I can still hear the thunderous crash and see the blood rushing down my face. I can hear Stephen's blood curdling scream. I can see Ari being held in Lauren's arms, seemingly asleep. I can see broken glass and my shattered ankle.

My next memories are from the triage unit of a local hospital. I was being treated simultaneously by numerous medical professionals. And although, it is probably hard to believe, I felt no pain. I felt no pain until my husband arrived at the hospital and announced that our beloved Ariel did not make it. (Neither a mother's head, nor a mother's heart are made to process or tolerate such a loss.) The loss is ever present. The pain is immeasurable, yet palpable. Although I did not walk for months and endured unimaginable, excruciating pain in my physical body, it pales in comparison to the loss of my son, Ariel. What compounds the loss for me—for my family- is knowing that it could have easily been prevented. Arrogantly and foolishly, a drunken driver made the decision to drive while intoxicated, which resulted in permanent damage to my person and the loss of my baby's life.

Our only consolation lies in our faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We know that Ari rejoices in heaven in the presence of God and that we will eventually be reunited with him.

Rachel Parker (mother of Ariel)

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