To Whom It May Concern, With Love

July 18, 2003

Dear Carly,

You don’t know me, but I know you better than I know myself.  Let me start by saying there is no one that will ever understand, love, and cherish you the way I do.  I know your heart, I know your tears, and I know your strength.  You may not believe it now, and to be honest, I’m not sure I believe it, but everything happens for a reason. These words will get you through more pain, suffering, and unhappiness than you could ever imagine. You will believe it, because in your darkest times it’s all that you have.

You may be asking yourself why I am reaching out to you now? Unfortunately, what is done can never be changed, but I want you to know that you are not alone. We are the same, you and I. We have the same big heart, quirky sense of humor, and longing for something bigger and better than ourselves. Right about now, you are feeling frustrated because your shopping expedition to find the perfect outfit this weekend is not going as easily as you’d might like.  I know that every part of you feels the need for change in your life, so take a deep breath and buy the very first pale pink tube top you will ever own. I’m sorry to say that when you ask for changes, be very careful my love, for God does not do simple exterior wardrobe alterations, but He will answer prayers.

You’re excited to go out with the girls tonight, and the thought of the weekend has you almost giddy.  Not only are you going to one of your favorite islands on Lake Erie, but your parents are meeting someone very special to you. Tonight will be more amazing than you could have ever hoped for, and have meaning beyond your wildest dreams. Even though your roommate’s insistence on taking pictures annoys you at first, just know that those pictures will hold memories you will cherish for years to come, as these last pictures will capture some of the greatest memories of your life.

Tomorrow morning you will wake up late, and your significant other will be running even further behind causing an overwhelming irritation. This is one of those times you will later look back on and realize how true the phrase, “everything happens for a reason” really is.

Driving in your red convertible Pontiac Sunfire, top down of course, you are thinking this day couldn’t be more perfect while saying a silent prayer to God thanking him for the blessing to enjoy the day. When people ask you later what you remember thinking before the fateful moment you will find it hard to answer.  Who would have expected…gratitude.

A loud crushing sound of metal invades your ears, you will feel confused and shocked.  This blend of metal, glass, and bones, crashing together will later be defined as the car accident that changed your life. With an aching heart and fresh tears, I want you know that you are not alone.  It is important that you know this because after all of the sounds and smells have subsided and terror sets in, you will sit in silence and wonder if anyone will ever find you. Pain will encompass you as your fear incapacitates. I wish I could promise you that it will be over soon, but in reality it will take countless volunteers 2 hours and 45 minutes to finally free you from the car. During this deafening silence, you will think of those you love, memories you cherish, and words you wish you had said. You’ll say prayers asking if your family could make it through if you so effortlessly gave up. As you struggle to breathe you will wish you could do it all over again. This time maybe less cautious, without fear, more love.  You will pity yourself for all of the experiences you may never have; soul mate, kids, house, family, white picket fence. You’ll realize at this moment how much you truly want all of those things and find yourself feeling silly for ever doubting it.  Some may say later that your will to keep breathing, to never give up, to stay alive, was your strength and yours alone.  Only you and I will know that a recently deceased angelic grandmother would be sitting beside you in that car. In all your moments of fear, sadness, and pity their she was hold you close with all her love until help arrived.

As you will come to find this journey takes on a life of its own and none of it will be easy.  As I sit here typing I am preparing for yet another surgery in hopes of replacing most of what you and I physically lost that day.  We’ve come so far you and I, and I just wanted you to know how proud I am of you.  Only twenty-three and life as you know it will forever be changed. In turn your gift is finding out what inner strength truly is.

I can’t take it away, change it, or make it easier for you but I would like to leave you with a bit of hope.  Nine years, two months, and fifteen days later you will look back on July 19, 2003, and realize how far you’ve come, how much further you can go, and the comfort brought about when you realized that this day was not the day you nearly died, but the day you learned to survive.

Love Always, Always


October 4, 2012

Carly Speelman Copyright © 2012


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