- by Natalia Lopez
My treasures shine like the sun at dawn
bring me joy , love and kindness.
No they arenít rubies diamonds or pearls.
You see, they are more valuable than that.
They are there through thick and thin.
Life is there, the gift of love is what they give.
Their souls my light,
my knowledge and my teachers.
They are my father, my mother,
my brother, my sisters.....
I hope that I achieve for them
what they do for me.
You see in the world
theyíre all I depend on
for they depend on me.
Pure is the heart of a child,
like we all want to achieve.
Written by Doug Jarvis
(one of Natalieís co-workers)
Some things are beyond me. Some things I just donít understand. Seventeen, innocent, and so young, yet, it ended in an instant. Being that I couldnít say goodbye at the time, Iíd like to now say some goodbyes. Goodbye to the smile that lit up all our days. Goodbye to the laughter that made life a better place. Goodbye to your presence that made work better each day. Although I didnít know you that long, I think I speak for all when I say Goodbye Natalie.
Natalie Melissa LopezNatalie was in the variety show where she took second place and won $50.00. She took that prize money and bought me a dozen pink roses for Motherís Day. She spoke Motherís Day Sunday at church and she shared many of her feelings about me. She and I had a special bond and I was touched that she would share that with others.
Now June, well this was the most difficult month in my life. Many of you have asked and I will now share with you the events that would permanently altered our earthly life. June 2 started out as a typical day. Natalie had gotten up early that morning because she was supposed to sing in the Talent Show that night. She wanted to pick up her prom pictures and her paycheck. I was laying in bed with Miguel resting when she and Reyna came to tell me that they would be leaving. I said ,"drive careful, hurry home and I love you. " Around 10:50 this overwhelming feeling that something awful had happened sat me straight up in bed. I couldnít shake this feeling. I got really busy doing nothing. I even said a prayer. But this overpowering feeling wouldnít subside. The phone rang, it was McDonaldís calling Rachel into work early. So she hurried to get her uniform on and we headed down the road. She looked at me and said "Mom, do you think Natalie and Reyna were in a car wreck." Her words sent shivers down my spine. I already knew that, but I couldnít believe what my prompting was telling me. Before we knew it, we came to a road block. I asked the police officer what was going on and he told me that there was a serious accident and we would have to take the back roads. As we drove we kept looking at each other and kept saying no itís not them, it canít be. She is probably at Gabeís house looking at the Prom pictures. As we pulled back onto the main highway we looked back and we could see a blue car that was half the normal size but we couldnít tell if it was our blue car. I dropped Rachel off at McDonaldís and told her to call Gabeís and tell Natalie to stay there I would be there in a few minutes. (Natalie wasnít at Gabeís). As I was pulling out of the McDonaldís an ambulance pulled out in front of me with the siren and lights flashing. I was full of absolute terror. I followed the ambulance but it got ahead of me. I continued to go to the hospital and when I got there the ambulance doors were flung open. I couldnít go in. I was to afraid that what I already knew was true. At that moment I knew that one of my girlís was no longer with us.
I raced home. I got on the phone and I dialed 911. But they could only tell me that yes there was a wreck on Hwy 31 and yes there was a fatality. They told me to call the hospital. By this time I was trembling so bad I could hardly dial the phone. I called the emergency room and the lady told me that two young girls were involved in the accident. I ask her if they were okay and she says no they are not. This is when I lost it. Jonathan and Anne can hear my sobbing and they begin to cry. Miguel comes down the stairs fresh out of the shower and he asks me what is wrong, he canít even understand me. He takes the phone and starts talking to the hospital. He keeps saying you donít know its them. You have got to calm down. But I am here to tell you, a Mother knows. I call Rachelís manager and tell her that Rachel needs to be brought home immediately. I hug Anne and Jon and tell them that I will call them as soon as I know how they are doing.
Not one phone call had named names or told us what the vehicles were involved but we headed toward the road block. Miguel swerved around the road block and the police turned on their sirens. They realized quite quickly why he had ignored there authority. Miguel told me to wait in the van. He walked over to their car and they had Natalieís ID and they told him that yes my baby was gone and that Reyna had been life flighted but they didnít know where because the driver of the other car was also life flighted. The police and Miguel sat in our van (it was raining) while another officer tried to find out where they had taken Reyna. She had been taken to Kosairís Childrenís Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. We went straight to a church friendís house (her and her husband are highway patrol officers) and immediately they begin to assist us. I ask her to take care of my kids at home and not to tell them that Natalie has died. I wanted to tell them and I would as soon as I find out how Reyna was. Tammy loaned me her cell phone and she also finds out that they want us to identify Natalieís body at the hospital in town. Once again Miguel tells me to wait in the van and he will tell me if she looks okay. I am frantically calling everyone I know on the phone and the only person I can reach is my sister Shari (at work). She almost collapses when I tell her but I ask her to call my Mom and my sister Teri. I keep calling my Dad but I know he is asleep so I call their neighbor Linda and tell her to go wake him up. I call and I tell him the news. By this time 45 minutes had passed and I was getting so anxious I could hardly maintain. I went in the hospital looking for Miguel, the morgue , anybody that could help me. The coroner found me in the hallway. He politely asked me to wait for Miguel to come out. He started asking me questions about what directions she was going in and what she had done that day. I answered them. Then the door opened and Miguel walked out with a tear stained face and I asked should I go in and he said no. I didnít question his words at all. Itís like your walking around in a daze. I tell the coroner to please call and find out how Reyna is and he gets the emergency doctor at Kosairís on the phone and they tell me that she is in serious condition and they have her C T scan of her head right now. We begin the long drive to Louisville. It really is only 45 minutes but that day they were the longest 45 minutes I have ever driven. I get my sister Sarah on the phone and I told her to go to Kosairís and watch our Reyna until I could get there.
Upon our arrival at Kosairís we are told that Reyna is in PICU on the fourth floor. My heart is still racing but my soul is somehow at peace. I donít understand this at all. They let us in to see her and she is hardly recognizable. They are sewing up her cheek but she is bleeding from her ears, sheís covered in blood, she has tubes in every hole in her body and new holes were made for some other tubes. I start sobbing uncontrollably. I go sit in this room where I can see her and try to calm down. I begin to plead for her life. I didnít stop pleading for her life for many days. She received a priesthood blessing to be healed completely but it would be a long process. Many professionals didnít believe she would make it. I believe that she began to improve because of the power of the priesthood and all the many prayers that were said in her behalf. She was promised that she would be 100% healed and I am telling you she is almost there. She is our personal miracle. For two months I never left her side without someone staying with her. I left to attend Natalieís funeral, to be with Miguel, he had chest pain and had to have a cardiac cath done, once I went home because I simply couldnít go any longer and I came home to sleep, I came home to console Miguel and the last time I came home was to get Reynaís prescriptions and everything she would need when she got home. My dear sisters came and went and came back many times. Many people came to watch her and visit with me. My family and friends were a great support to me. Miguel was a tower of strength. He planned and got everything done for Natalieís funeral. I donít know how he did it but he did. I canít remember those first 2 weeks very well. I only know that my Heavenly Father was with me in my darkest hour and I thank him daily for allowing Reyna to stay here on earth with us. So thatís the story and I am sticking to it....
Our family has been forever changed by the events of this summer. As the days and weeks have passed the eternities seem so much more closer. We all now have a stronger testimony that death is not final. It is one of the stages of eternal life. Reyna was right there with Natalie and she was told to go back and all would be alright and Natalie walked toward the light and never looked back. I find comfort in knowing that Natalia has a full and complete understanding of the purpose of life. She questions no more that plan of salvation. I know that she was called home. It was her time to return. She was greeted by many of our familyís loved ones that have passed on to the next life.
People always say how strong you are when you go through difficult things. Maybe there is truth in that. However, I believe that we never really know our strength until we have to go through difficult times. I will miss my Natalia every day for the rest of my days here on earth. I will shed tears of pain and tears of joy about Natalia for the rest of my days. But I do not question the Lordís plan. I do not doubt his purpose. I have learned that when the pain is almost unbearable He will give you peace and with that peace comes joy. True joy is something that most of us never know in this lifetime. I know that I will be reunited with all my loved ones and I will embrace my precious Natalia. We are an eternal family. We are sealed together for time and all eternity. Those are sacred covenants that I cherish and am grateful that I have.
Dian, Mother of 5, Natalie forever 17, Rachel, Reyna, Jonathan, Anne Email: firstname.lastname@example.org