Many of you have asked, and I have been thinking it is time to write about one of the most devastating moments in my life. It is, after all these years, still the most painful time in my life, and if I allow myself to dwell too much on it, I will get lost in the past. So, I will try to write about it now and then put it away for perhaps another 20 years.

In 1985 I was married to my ex-husband, Bob, and we had just finished building a small house in southern New Hampshire. We did everything in it from the design, framing, insulation, wall boarding, painting, etc. It was quite an accomplishment.
We had two daughters, Amanda age 8 and Katie age 6. Katie had just graduated from Kindergarten at the end of May, so she was already out of school, while Amanda was still in classes for another few days.
We had planned a huge house-warming party to show off our new home to family and friends for the 15th of June. The weather was good and so we thought it was all coming together.
On the 13th of June, the electric company came and did the final hook up for our water heater! Finally hot water. The workman suggested I wait for an hour or so before using the hot water. Great, I thought, I’ll go out and do errands while I wait for my first hot bath in our new home.
Katie and I dressed in our work clothes, got our 4-month-old puppy Sheba, and climbed into my 1979 Ford Fiesta car. It was a beautiful, warm sunny June day, with such a bright blue sky and not one cloud. We stopped at the bank, and we stopped at the hot tub shop to make the final arrangements for the delivery of our new tub. I was happy and I felt carefree.
Katie and I climbed into the car and headed to another store to get her and her sister new bathing suits. Both the girls had grown over the winter and their swimsuits no longer fit them.
As I started the car, I looked over at Katie and smiled. She had buckled her seat belt and locked her door. Just as I was getting ready to move the car she looked at me and said, “Mom, put your seat belt on too.” Little Minx! So I dutifully put mine on and off we went.
As we drove we listened to the radio and we talked. Out of the blue, Katie said, “I love you so much Mommy!” and I replied, “I love you too, Katie!”
Less than a mile from our intended destination, the traffic light turned red. I shifted out of gear and slowly came to a stop.
That is all I remember.

Behind me, an impaired (stoned) man was driving a 5 ton boxed van truck loaded with windows. He never put on his brakes, apparently never saw us or the red light and literally drove over the top of my car, crushing Katie and I in it. Sheba, who was in the back seat, had jumped free of the car when the windows imploded. My car, with the truck on top of it, was pushed over 190 feet across a four-lane road before hitting a curb and stopping.
A crane operator, who was working less than a 1/2 a mile away, saw the accident and knew that the only way to get the truck off the little car was for him to get his crane over to us. He immediately started over.
At the next stop light, was an off-duty ambulance with 2 paramedics. They witnessed the accident and immediately called it in while turning on their lights and rushing to the scene.
The police arrive almost immediately and the fight started to free Kate and me from the car.
The paramedics got oxygen on me. I was still unconscious and unresponsive to them. They could not reach Katie, but they could see her shoes.
Someone grabbed the dog and after checking her tags, brought her to our Vet. I never knew who did this, but I was always grateful.
Thirty minutes after the accident the crane lifted the truck off the car. The fire-fighters used the jaws of life and peeled back the roof of the car.
This is when I woke up. It was very confusing. I remember looking up and seeing the large tire of a truck hanging over my head. I remember the kindness of the paramedic as he was stabilizing my neck and back. But it was all quite surreal.
While they stabilized me in the car, the other paramedic had gotten Katie out. She was gone. He struggled, using all his talents to revive this beautiful little child. I did not see her there. They got her breathing again, and she was taken to the hospital.
I was removed from the car and loaded into the second ambulance and I only vaguely remember this. The paramedic was named Dave, and I recall him apologizing before he cut away my clothes. I didn’t care. I just wanted to know if Katie was okay.
I’d been asking that since I came to and no one would tell me anything other than she was on her way to the hospital.
I remember being in the Emergency Room and having a CAT Scan, and not being aware of anything but my longing to be with Katie and the nurses and doctors telling me that I had to stay put.
Katie’s Pediatrician came in. Don’t ask me how long a time I was there waiting. He said that they were doing all sorts of scans on her, but that they’d had to intubate her and put her on a respirator. He said it did not look good, but that she was young and healthy.
No one could find my ex-husband at first so they called a friend of mine who seemed to instantly appear.
All during this, my sense of time was gone. Hours seemed like seconds and then time would just stand still.
My friend, Fern, had also been Katie’s Kindergarten teacher. Katie loved her. I told Fern to go and talk to Katie and tell her to wake up. More than anything, I wanted Katie to just open her eyes.
My ex-husband arrived, stayed with me for a moment and then he went off to see Katie. I have never seen a man more destroyed than he was when he returned to see me again.
We were both taken to Intensive Care that first night, while they evaluated our tests. They knew I had sustained a head injury, but at that time they did not know how severe. Katie was still in a coma and was unresponsive.
My sister and brother-in-law arrived and stayed the night keeping a vigil at my bedside and Kate’s. During the night I was allowed to see her, and they took me in by wheelchair. I recall nothing but seeing her small body in the bed with the machine breathing for her. I held her hand and I told her how much I loved her and that she should come back to us.
This was something she never did.
She was flown to Boston to Tufts New England Medical Center, in the hopes they could perform a miracle for her. But none came. I signed myself out of the hospital in New Hampshire, with a body that quite literally ached from the brutality of the accident, and headed to Tufts. I spent day and night there with her and even managed to give her one last sponge bath. Then I sat holding her for hours in my lap. On the 19th of June, Katie passed away. She was 6 1/2 years old.

36 thoughts on “”

  1. I can’t even write anything because the tears are flowing. It was the most devasating time I have ever known.

  2. Maribeth, my God, I am so sorry. I am crying and shaking at your story. Please accept my sincere sympathy. I know it has been 20 years and yet I know that you will never get over the death of your child until the day you meet her in Heaven.

  3. Maribeth, there are no words. an even if there were, I couldn’t write them to you right now. again, I am so sorry for your loss. you are very brave to share that story with us. thank you.

  4. Dearest Maribeth,
    I can´t hardly express my feelings about all you wrote down about the most worse momentents/ hours in your life. You know I feel with you all time because the similar destiny associates our lifes! I adore your courage to open your heart and feelings to friends and people who now will understand more than before!
    Love dearest sister and friend,

  5. My God, what a brave woman you are for sharing this with everyone. Like everyone that’s commented the tears flow. I can’t even begin to imagine the huge impact and loss this has had on your life.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I admire your courage and strength. I wish I could hug you right now!

  6. How hard it must have been for you to write that all down and share it so publicly. I have goosebumps and shivers all at the same time. I cannot imagine how devastating a loss like that must be and I can only image the strength and courage you have to have gone on.

    Hugs to you.

  7. oh my god, Meribeth. I, too am a loss of words and am having issues typing b/c I’m crying. Im so sorry that you, that anyone, has had to go through this.
    Big cyber-hug!

  8. I don’t know what to say…

    I can’t even imagine how hard it was to write this entry. My heart goes out to you Maribeth..I’m so very sorry.


  9. If I could find the words to bring a smile to your life, I would.

    In the meantime, I am going to hug my kids, tell them I love them, and repeat same every day.

    And I will always remember a little girl who made everyone around her smile. Bless you for sharing this.

  10. Hi MB,
    I think you have the utmost courage to come forth and share the deepest and innermost part of your being. Hugs to you for the loss of your sweet Katie and your horrible ordeal. Love,Jules

  11. I feel like I have no words that would even come close to explaining how sorry I am that this happened.
    My tears on my keyboard will have to do the talking.

    Found you via Mommy Matters comments. Thank you for sharing

  12. Maribeth,

    What a tragedy. I can still feel the intensity of your pain after 20 years. I admire your courage in sharing this with us.

    With deepest sympathies,


  13. I came via Michelle. Having two young children myself, I fear that that the loss of one or both would be more than I could ever bear. Of course, I know you have to go on, numb and heartbroken, but still… It was so incredibly brave of you to write about this. I think the only good part of this story is how you told each other you loved each other before the accident. Thank God for that.

  14. You are one very strong lady. I’m so sorry that this happened to you and am glad that you could find the strength to talk about it. Thank you.

  15. So sorry. And how are you today? Enjoy your blog, especially the recipes. Hope to find some good German ones!! Neal’s mom.

  16. I wanted to know what happened to your little girl. I’m crying for you tonight. And, for her. I’m so very very sorry.

    I have placed a MADD ribbon on my car. And, it means even more to me that I have done this having now read your story.

  17. I thought about this post all day long…..I am so sad for you right now, I can not imagine the pain this caused you and even though I don’t know you I want you to know how special a person you are. I have read your blog for quite some time now and truly enjoy reading about your life and puppies (LOL), but this one post caught me off guard. May God take care of your heart and help you to always remember your precious little sweetie. I have a 7 year old now, I can not imagine what you went through. I am so terribly sorry for your loss…..you have an amazing smile and your spirit comes through the computer and touches me deeply. Thank you for sharing this most difficult post.

  18. Maribeth you are very brave to be able to recall and write the story. I always wondered if you had kids but didn’t ask. Now I know. I have a young daughter too and I could not stop crying while reading this. All the good things that is happening to you now is because you have suffered so much.

    I know Katie is up there looking down on you. She loves you very much, as by her last words to you.

    My brother (born next to me) was born on November 9, 1978, just a day after Katie was born. This story will be forever etched in my memory. If I look at my brother I would always remember, Maribeth’s daughter would have been the same age.

  19. Thank you for sharing this, I can’t image how hard it was to relive it, but in doing so you have given us a view of your little girl and she sounds like an amazing little angel.

  20. Maribeth…Thank you so much for sharing this with me and directing me to this post.
    Words aren’t even adequate. I’ve often wondered why bad things happen to good people and then I always wonder, how do they survive such horrific events in life. I’ll never have any answers for this.
    All I know is….that coming to know you as I have these past months via the blog world, I’m so very glad our paths have crossed. Because you are one strong, incredible and inspirational woman.
    I can’t help but feel that your Katie has lived on in that very special and loving part of you.
    I also just wanted to add that you did a remarkable job of taking such a devastating event and sharing it with your readers in a concise and honest way.

  21. Maribeth,
    I can’t help it, but I could hardly read clearly.
    Tears and tears.
    It’s so &%#¤ sad and unjustice.
    Words can not describe.
    Except you did it.
    In an exceptional way.
    6 1/2 years.
    Due to a crazy truck driver.
    Hope he was put ti Jail and lost his drivers license forever.

    My Son, living in MI, his father in law was also killed in a car accident – by a 16 year old girl “out training”.

    I do know you are a very caring and special person that shares thoughts, daily life and you are for me one of my best blogger friends and will allways be.

    Hugs from the other side of the Pond

  22. I read this post quite some time ago and have not been able to bring myself to comment. I have only just come in contact directly with you Maribeth this yr , however your ablility to share is amazing. This story rocked me so. You have suffered such great loss, whilst maintaining an incredible inner strength I so admire. Its a pleasure “knowing” you!

  23. It seems as this “anniversary” always brings the horror back full force, doesn’t it? You are so right, though, about not dwelling. Hugs to you, my friend. Know that our girls are just fine.

  24. They say time will heal- but the pain is still there because a piece of your heart and soul has left your life–but you never forget and it is at times like this that we recall when they left our lives and it was just like yesterday–I still cry now and then and the memories are always there…….my heart goes out to you for being so brave writing about beautiful Katie- thanks for sharing your story and your life……Susan

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