Seatbelts On, Cell Phones Off

It has been an emotionally exhausting week and a half for me. Last week I had written a bunch of stories about Calvin so everyone could witness some more of his fun-filled antics. As many of you know October 15 was the one-year mark from our accident and Calvin's passing. We celebrated his life by planting a tree at the cemetery between his and Olaf's dad's spots. Olaf went and talked to the sexton and he said we could plant a tree as long as it wouldn't grow over six feet tall. That's a hard requirement! We searched several nurseries before we finally settled on a Korean Lilac Tree. While it will grow up to 10 feet, it's a slow-growing tree that won't be huge.

Getting ready to break ground

All the wonderful mementos family and friends left

Family and Friends digging a hole

Baby making sure it is the right size

Olaf putting in the tree

Baby putting in some dirt

The other boys helping as much as possible

Some of our family that came and helped

More family coming to lend support


Tuesday of last week we met with a group that was formed several years ago in an effort to prevent teenage deaths on the roads. Last year they put out a book with the stories of these teenagers in an effort to make a difference. The thought process is statistics are boring, real stories make it personal and make more of an impression.

Yesterday we were lucky enough to attend a High School assembly promoting safe driving for the school Calvin would have attended and Olaf did attend. The kids around us were acting just like a real assembly, chattering and goofing off until one of the presenters announced that two mothers of deceased teenagers were in the audience. It became quiet. Slowly the noise level crept up until Calvin's and another boy's pictures from the book were put on the wall. It became quiet and the kids really started listening. I heard a few whispers around us "I know him" or "My little brother was friends with him."

Today all our hard work culminated in a news conference to announce the book for 2008. We just want kids to drive safer and wear their seat belts. We talked to a few reporters and hope the message to wear your seat belts and don't drive distracted will reach more kids.

Here is the news story on the 5 o'clock news:

Families hope their tragic stories will save teenagers' lives

And here is a story from the local newspaper:

Parents hope their losses will save others

And finally, here is the book we all worked so hard to put together. It's the book at the top of the page titled "13 Stories We'd Rather Not Tell." It's hard to read. When they sent me last year's book I almost threw it away because it was so hard to read those stories of other families. But my sisters helped me see the good this can do and hopefully it will help others.

Next week, I promise, I will quit talking about Calvin. We've got a family wedding and I'm sure something funny will happen there that will lift everyone's spirits. It's hard for something funny to not happen when seven siblings and their families get together.


denverallens said...

I love the tree! Great job. I just watched the press release. You did great Donna! I also looked at all the other stuff with it. Who knew all McLean's didn't cry ugly. What a touching photo of you and Chris. I printed it off and put it up. I love it.

Petit Elefant said...

You can talk about Calvin all you want. These stories have been great.

You did a tremendous job on the news and I was really proud of you all along the way.