February 18, 2014
How Drinking and Driving Changed My Life
Growing up with someone so close to me, I never thought a tragedy like this would ever meet me at my doorstep. Losing someone to drunk driving has shaped my life and the way I think before drinking and jumping behind the wheel of a vehicle. It made me appreciate life more. It urged me to become more informed and aware about the dangers and consequences surrounding drunk driving. Cherish every moment that you have with your loved ones and don’t take the little things for granted. Being impaired and deciding to operate a vehicle could have devastating effects. So please get informed and be aware of loved ones who may be dealing with alcohol abuse to prevent losing someone you love.
I remember first meeting Odosha Phillips in grade school; even though I was a couple years older than her, she was always around. Growing up in the same neighborhood she was always the loud, petite pretty little girl. In every instant she was always picking fights with kids in the neighborhood including my younger brothers. By the time I reached high school I lost contact with Odosha. About five years later, our families moved into the same apartment complex in Gresham, OR. That’s when it all became clear to me as to why she was always picking fights with my younger brother, Kenny. She had a major crush on him and he had a major crush on her. It didn’t take long before they were the new couple on the block. They were inseparable from that day forward. Anywhere you would see one; chances are that you would see the other. It was almost as if they were joined at the hip. They were so in love, anyone around them could see it and feel it whenever they entered a room. They were both thirteen when they first got together and were the loves of each other’s lives!
After I turned eighteen, and her sixteen, we both found out that we were pregnant with boys and that our babies would be born within two weeks of each other. We decided to move in with my mother and attend the same school to obtain our GED’s to provide a better life for ourselves and our children. After a year we both received our GED diplomas. She ended up going into premature labor, having my nephew a couple months before his due date. A couple years later we found out she was pregnant again, this time it was a baby girl. When my niece was just seven months she lost custody of both her children due to unfortunate circumstances. She fought tooth and nail to get her children back and a year and a half later the judge granted her custody of both of her children. She won that battle but was unaware of the final battle she would eventually lose and meet her ill fate. Not long after, that I found out that I was pregnant with a daughter of my own; I know that she would have been so excited to have a niece to love and grow up with her daughter and vice versa. Unfortunately, she would never get the chance to meet her.
On February 10, 2007, our lives changed forever. I received a call from my mother in the middle of the night to let me know that we lost Odosha to a horrific car accident. My body went numb as I went into shock and disbelief, crying, yelling and calling my mother a liar. Sadly my brother was unable to attend her home going celebration because he was incarcerated when she passed away. However, the night of her death my mother was able to call the jail after hours which are normally against the rules but the guard made a special exception and let him talk to my mother so she could give him the details surrounding her death and try to console him. In prison it is frowned upon for a man to cry, so he was never given the opportunity to grieve. I remember staying up that whole night calling every hospital and morgue in our city