Tag Archives: enduring grief

Holiday memories of AnnaLeah & Mary; Treasure the old for there will be no new.

To be honest, I hate the fact that I spend almost every waking hour figuring out ways to move the needle on comprehensive underride protection. I also hate the fact that AnnaLeah & Mary have no more chances to create new memories while the rest of us go on with our lives — getting older and making new memories without them.

I hate the fact that no one effectively took on the underride problem in time to let AnnaLeah & Mary live to see another day after their underride crash on May 4, 2013. And it keeps on happening to other families: The front of Padilla’s car was forced under the rear of the tractor-trailer. Man Killed in Thanksgiving Day Crash on Beltway in Virginia and this one 3-year-old girl dies from injuries in crash on I-15 near Moapa.

That is why I am a mom on a mission to make truck crashes more survivable. The only thing is. . . I can’t make it happen alone.

Here are some of my favorite holiday memories with AnnaLeah and Mary. . .

Mary Cranberry  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.549573781791807.1073741924.464993830249803&type=1

Mary would be watching the Thanksgiving Day parade.  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/549586845123834/?type=1

Tutus for the whole family  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/551011044981414/?type=1

Advent 2012…Sleepover  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.555655971183588.1073741930.464993830249803&type=1 and https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.555655971183588.1073741930.464993830249803/555656811183504/?type=1

Broken Candy Canes  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/556124954470023/?type=1

Mary Christmas Card…Karth Family Photo “Christmas Card” 2012 created by Mary  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/556151264467392/?type=1

Christmas Memories with AnnaLeah  & Mary  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=559954657420386&id=464993830249803

Mary Christmas Angel…The glory of the Lord shone round about…  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/560141440735041/?type=1

Mary, did you know?  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/560630257352826/?type=1

Mary Christmas Angel–One: Jesus is the Heart of Christmas  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=560713557344496&id=464993830249803

Mary Christmas Angel–Two: Are we done yet?  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=560952533987265&id=464993830249803

Mary Christmas Angel–Three: O Holy Child of Bethlehem  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=560953360653849&id=464993830249803

Mary Christmas Angel–Four (Finale): https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=560953753987143&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters from AnnaLeah & Mary  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/562522363830282/?type=1

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 1996:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=562705110478674&id=464993830249803

Everything’s Different This Year  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/563077863774732/?type=1

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 1998:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=563082103774308&id=464993830249803

This year & last year; Before & After:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=563186590430526&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2001:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=563193017096550&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2002:    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=563666620382523&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2003:        https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=564344183648100&id=464993830249803

Herod’s Slaughtered Innocents:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=564688433613675&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2004:      https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=564807693601749&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2005  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=565873553495163&id=464993830249803

Notice: The Last Thing On The 2013 Calendar (as written by Mary)  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/565931740156011/?type=1

“Though the Fig Tree Should Not Blossom”  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=565938886821963&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters from AnnaLeah & Mary, 2005, cont.  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=565870523495466&id=464993830249803

Happy New Year! (Y2K) (AnnaLeah takes care of baby Mary)  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/565950123487506/?type=1

Christmas Letters from AnnaLeah & Mary, 2007  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=566452906770561&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters from AnnaLeah & Mary, 2008  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=566833013399217&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters from AnnaLeah & Mary, 2008, continued  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=566844333398085&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2009:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=566944503388068&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2009, continued  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=566946103387908&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2010  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=568828166533035&id=464993830249803

Christmas Letters From AnnaLeah & Mary, 2012:   https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=568835126532339&id=464993830249803

MLK Holiday Observed:  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/photos/a.465869083495611.1073741828.464993830249803/572826719466513/?type=1

The Power to Captivate & Comfort:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=566439636771888&id=464993830249803

Roya Christine Sadigh, you will always be missed. June 19, 1978 – November 24, 2004

Roya Christine Sadigh, beloved daughter of Lois Durso, I never knew you but I know that you will always be missed.
June 19, 1978 – November 24, 2004
 “Not having her here is unbearable.”

AnnaLeah, my birthday girl. . . Forever 17. . . we miss you.

Here I go again having to pick some memories of AnnaLeah to share on her birthday. She would have been 22 today. How can that be? What would she have done today? How might she have changed?

For one thing, she probably wouldn’t want the spotlight to be shining on her. But she isn’t here to protest and remembering her — preserving the memory of her life and self — is all I can do for her now.

AnnaLeah Karth, May 15, 1995 – May 4, 2013

Some things I want you to know about AnnaLeah. . .

  • My Favorite Memories of AnnaLeah (well, some of them)
  • Time & A Grief Observed: Reflections from CS Lewis & AnnaLeah KarthToday is the day that AnnaLeah was born 20 years ago. Though she only lived 17 years (almost 18), she filled her time with imaginative & colorful activities and endeavors. Time well-spent.
    annaleahcollage2AnnaLeah had a personal collection of over 600 books–most of which she had read. And she loved to create and share imaginative worlds with words. A wordsmith. . . Here is a poem she wrote when she was 12:

    AnnaLeah time poem 2007

  • AnnaLeah’s Very-Thorough 30-Category Booklist
  • Grace Girls Appreciated AnnaLeah For over three years, AnnaLeah took care of the babies and preschoolers of moms who attended a morning Bible Study group called Grace Girls. She had a gift with young children. She enjoyed them and they loved her. The moms appreciated AnnaLeah and let her know so. Photos show a Christmas card she received from them, as well as a farewell card to her when we were moving away from Midland, along with lots of photos of AnnaLeah with little ones.
  • Remembering AnnaLeah Two Years After the Crash :Two years ago, May 4, 2013, AnnaLeah went on her last journey on this earth. Little did she know it at the time.She had worked so hard before we set out for Texas to go to her sister Rebekah’s wedding and college graduations of four older siblings. We were going to be moving into a new home on the Fourth of July. So, she had packed up most of her possessions in preparation for sharing a bedroom with her older sister, Susanna. She had sewn a lovely dress for her niece’s birthday. I was so proud of her.

    Then, it all came to an end.

    AnnaLeah and Susanna May 2011 Levi's graduation 001

    I wanted to share this memorial photo slideshow which her older brother Isaac and sister Susanna put together two weeks later to share at the girls’ funeral. We remember AnnaLeah and the day she was born, May 15, 1995; she would have turned 20 today. Forever 17.

  • I love the glimpse which this video gives of AnnaLeah and the delight she had in giving books to her niece. . .

This “short film” was a little play which AnnaLeah wrote, starring herself and her sister Mary.  Makes me laugh and smile and feel like they’re still here. . .

AnnaLeah Builds Her Hobbit Orphanage
AnnaLeah and Levi joined other youth from Grace Lutheran in Midland, Texas, in a servant event. Under the direction of DCE Eaton they thought that they were going to build a storage shed at Camp Lone Star in 2010. AnnaLeah knew that it was really an orphanage for hobbits! See them hard at work in this fast-action short video…

How a Truck Crash Changed the Month of May; or What Happens When Nobody Takes Responsibility?


A Very Mary Birthday: What Mary would have done & what I did without her on her birthday

How would Mary have celebrated her 17th birthday today? Well, I don’t know for sure. But I know that she would have enjoyed making her own homemade pizza with us tonight. (Or would she have chosen something else for her birthday meal?)

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I know that she would have been glued to the TV or her computer watching the Olympics. She loved watching the 2012 Summer Olympics!

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Mary would have played with her dog which she was going to get when we moved into our new house three summers ago.  She loved dogs!

Video of Mary with Django (October 2012, Warsaw Indiana):  https://www.facebook.com/464993830249803/videos/574678849281300/

Whatever she would have chosen to do on her special day, Mary would have made the most of it because “every day’s a holiday with Mary” and she knew how to live joyfully — when she wasn’t grumpy, that is.

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I just discovered that the photos below were ones that Mary took on August 6, 2012 — the day she became a teenager and the last birthday she would ever celebrate:

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I also just noticed from these photos from her camera that Mary gave her beloved Gertie a bath on her 13th birthday (the beloved stuffed toy given to her by AnnaLeah so many birthdays before).

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Notice the photos Mary took that same day of  some of her favorite books (probably her birthday presents from AnnaLeah, whom I can’t ask to be sure) — including an American Girl one about a gymnast!

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Mary had put 2012 Olympics gymnast Gabby Douglas’ December birthday on the 2013 calendar.

Mary would have held Oscar today.

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A birthday post from Mary’s sister Rebekah

Mary’s dad shares a birthday post

Photo Album: Mary’s First Year of Life

Photo Album: Mistress Mary Quite Contrary by Susanna

Photo Album: Mary on Film by Susanna

I know that Mary would not have read my post from yesterday because I would have had no reason to post it:

New on the Market: Angel Wing Side Guard Solution To Prevent Truck Underride Deaths & Injuries

And Mary would not have checked to see how many people had signed the Traffic Safety Ombudsman Petition because I would not have launched it:

End Preventable Crash Fatalities: Appoint a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman

I would not have spent Mary’s birthday getting ready to post an Underride Roundtable Consensus as a Public Comment to NHTSA’s underride rulemaking at 11:59 p.m. on her birthday. (Link to it on the Federal Register)

And I most definitely would not have launched a new petition on Mary’s birthday to ask NHTSA to mandate SIDE GUARDS on trucks so people wouldn’t die from going underneath the sides of trucks:

Mandate Side Guards On Large Trucks To End Deadly Side Underride Crashes

Please sign & share these two petitions in memory of AnnaLeah and Mary, whom we miss more than we could ever say.

Particularly poignant photos of 3 young girls who lost their lives 6 short years later

Last night, as I often do, I was looking for some photos or video to create a Youtube and soothe the ache of missing AnnaLeah and Mary. I found a particularly poignant photo of AnnaLeah and another young girl, Bethany, in Michigan on July 30, 2007.

Along with our other kids, they were having some simple water balloon fun. What made it heart-wrenching was that, within 6 short years, they–along with Mary–would lose their lives in crashes.

I put together continuously-snapped photos into a fast-moving slideshow. Laughing & weeping at the result.

Short Version (27 seconds):

Longer Version (6 minutes):

Bethany’s Untimely End February 23, 2012: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20120224/NEWS/302249856 & http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2012/02/hamilton_teen_hit_killed_in_cr.html

AnnaLeah’s & Mary’s Untimely End in May 2013:  http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/05/obituaries_today_annaleah_and.html & http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2013/05/in_mourning_former_grand_rapid.html & https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=174784632666076&story_fbid=258980320913173

Because we want to do everything we can to prevent others from such heartache, we launched our Vision Zero Petition online:  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/417/742/234/save-lives-not-dollars-urge-dot-to-adopt-vision-zero-policy/

Always in my thoughts. . . forever in our hearts.

Jerry and I were able to spend some time last week with Sam and Naomi at the cottages on Lake Michigan where our family has enjoyed vacations since Mary was three years-old. Shortly after we arrived, I was overcome with a wave of grief at the thought that here we are where they would no longer ever be again.

Amidst the bittersweet memories, I was able to enjoy the time — what’s not to like about a peaceful time at the shore? The waves crashing. The red hot coals glowing. The wind blowing in the trees. Good fellowship.

In particular though, I was caught up in two memories of Mary and AnnaLeah. The first night, I found a blue ribbon on the beach — buried slightly in the sand and tied to a broken balloon. Of course, it reminded me of the time when Mary — at that very spot in 2010 — had found a Beany Baby Bear on the sand with a green ribbon attached to a balloon.

Later in the week, I found a green ribbon in the sand. So I tied them to a driftwood stick and let them blow in the breeze on the beach.

Also, while there, I noticed that by the “porch swing” was a blooming lilac bush–my favorite spring fragrance. I had never noticed that before because we normally would stay at the cottages the week after Labor Day–when, of course, it wasn’t in bloom. It brought to mind the photos of AnnaLeah which I treasure–sitting in that very swing, looking out at the shore, and building sand castles on the beach.

I put together a Youtube video to capture the essence of the bittersweet memories of AnnaLeah and Mary, which that special place will always evoke in my thoughts and heart.