Author Topic: My sister, my friend - Jerrie Ellen  (Read 2619 times)

lizdt

  • nospam
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
My sister, my friend - Jerrie Ellen
« on: May 13, 2011, 12:42:39 PM »
So, my story of loss began many years ago. I've come to a point in my life that I seem to be missing her more than and ever and am not sure why...It was Christmas evening 1993 when my sister, Jerri Ellen and her fiance were headed home from a movie theater where they had just watched the premiere of Mrs. Doubtfire.  They were on the what we call here the "Flying Y" and beginning to merge onto the Interstate.  A State Trooper was in front of them and he suddenly shot across 4 lanes of travel and turned on his lights.  My sister said to her fiance, "he just turned on his lights" and that was the last thing she ever said.  They were hit head on by a drunk driver going the wrong way on the Interstate.  Her fiance came to and saw that my sister's head was back and he heard "gurggling" noises and thought she was trying to breathe.  There was law enforcement right on scene because there had been 6 different calls to dispatch regarding the wrong way driver.  Her fiance was shouting at them to get her out of the car because she was pregnant (6 and half months and due in March).  Unfortunately, my sister was not trying to breathe, but instead what he was hearing was her "death rattle".  Never the less, fire worked to extricate her from the passenger seat and she was rushed to the hospital where they performed a ciserian, but her baby girl (she had already named her Athena Elizabeth - Elizabeth after me...) had been crushed from the seatbelt and impact.  They pronounced both dead and placed Athena back into my sister and then to the morgue.  Meanwhile, there was news media on scene as well.  Her fiance was extricated and taken to a different hospital with critical injuries.  The lady who hit them (she had a blood alcohol content of .33) was pronounced dead the next morning.  Meanwhile, my mom got a Trooper showing up at her doorstep to tell her that her 20 year old daughter and unborn grandchild had been killed in a head on crash.  My dad got a phone call (to this day, I still don't know who called him).  I lived some 300+ miles away and knew something was wrong when 2 young troopers (they couldn't have been much older than I was at the time, which was 23) asked for me when my husband answered the door.  I remember getting up and sitting on my couch.  One Trooper sat in my husband's recliner and the other stood in the doorway.  The one next to me proceeded to tell me that my sister was in a" head on collision and she did not survive."  My first thought that went thru my mind was how sad I felt for these two officers that had to come tell a stranger such awful news.  I then saw my husband walk in front of me - It now seems like a dream - almost like he was floating by.  I could tell he was just gauging my reaction and I also saw the horror in his face, as he too had a sister killed just 6 years earlier.  My first call was to my dad and all I could do on the phone is sob and say I was sorry.  I then called my mom and did the same.   A pastor friend came by and I asked for prayer.  Thank God for shock...
  I then went into "mom mode".  I started making all the plans that needed to be made to drive the 300+ miles in the morning with my husband 2 and half year old daughter and two month old son.  I of course had to drive because I needed to be in control - My mind raced the 9 hours that it took us to get to my family.  I wanted to confront the person that had killed my sister and niece but when we got there, I found out that she had already died.
  Next mission was to plan the funeral.  My dad was not emotionally capable of reaching out and my mother had an entourage of family (which overwhelmed my dad).  I took charge after my mom exploded in anger at my dad because he wouldn't give her input on which casket he thought was best.  My dad went outside and I had NEVER confronted my dad before and I immediately jumped him and asked him "what the Hell" was that all about?  My dad suddenly looked very old to me as he told me that his baby girl had just died and everything at the funeral home was just so commercialized and he didn't care what she was buried in, he only wanted her back.  SO, I again took control and made the arrangements for the funeral, spoke at her funeral was a rock at the funeral...I was only 23 - looking back now, I never wanted that responsibility - but it was all I could give my sister at that time, she was gone and I was her big sister and had let her down in her eyes growing up and hadn't been there when she felt I should've been, but I was there for her in her death...
  I still struggle with never having been able to see her one last time.  The rest of the family got to see her on Christmas Eve.  I did get to talk to her Christmas Eve on the phone when she was at my mom's.  My last words to her after she told me about their plans for Christmas were, "I love you"...for that I am so grateful!  I didn't get to see her after the wreck because the man who helped us with the funeral told my mom that if she had been his daughter he would not have wanted to see her like that (she had facial injuries) so we had a closed casket.  What he did not tell us was that we could've sat with her and had her face covered.  I needed that closure of seeing and touching her one last time. That was denied me and I still ache over the choice that was made for me.
  So who was my sister?  Jerrie Ellen was life!  Everything she did was over the top!  She was a risk taker and had not had an easy upbringing.  Her life took a turn for the better when she met her fiance.  When she found out she was pregnant, she stopped all her risky behavior.  When the doctor told her that this baby was probably the only one she would ever be able to have because she had pelvic kidneys and scoliosis, she tried to do everything right with her nutrition and even got rid of 2 of her 4 cats (at the urging of her OB) and was going to find a new home for her ferret.  (She also had a dog - "LD" - she was the kind of animal lover that would bring home strays).  She went from wearing leather and tight skirts to pink leggings and sweaters.  The transformation was stunning.
  Sorry to digress, but those pink leggings and sweater she wore for the first time up at my house when she and her fiance came to meet my new son on Thanksgiving of that year (just a month before).  It was a beautiful pink maternity sweater that still had the tags on it.  I remember when she was putting it on in my room that she was telling me that it cost $80 and she did not feel that she was worth an $80 sweater...In fact her fiance had gone to the maternity store and bought her over $300 in clothes and since they were young and on a tight budget, she threw a fit and made him take everything back...while he was gone she felt bad and when he got back she asked him to go back and get them...He DID!!!  He loved her that much :-)  Well, when I went into her house looking for what she was to be buried in, I knew it had to be that sweater and those leggings.  I looked high and low and could not find them anywhere and was ready to have a melt down when I heard her voice, "They're downstairs stupid"  Sure enough, I went to her basement where her laundry room was and there they were waiting to be washed.  I couldn't wash them because when I picked them up, they still smelled like her.  I took the wash out of the washer that had been left and put it in the dryer...something I'm sure she never thought she wouldn't be home to finish herself.
  I think that's all I can do for now.  Some of you may be asking why I am on this website after so many years.  I actually was doing research for websites to use as references on a County website for homicide victims (I work in a Prosecutor's Office and work with crime victims) and I sat yesterday reading the posts and I just feel the need to reach out because for the past three months or so, I have an aching in my heart.  I don't know what has brought her loss to the surface...could be I can't believe that this year will be 18 years without her and in another 2, she will have been gone as long as she had been alive.  My kids are now 20, soon to be 18 and 15...I miss her and all that we have not been able to do together...Watch each other's kids grow.  The laughter, the tears, what would Athena have looked like, would she have like my new husband, I miss her robust laughter, I miss her zest for life and her optimism, I miss our fights because I was always the pessimist and she was the dreamer, what would our lives have been like if she was still here?  Would she be proud of me?  I have tried doing right by here.  Her death spurred me to go back to school and finish my college degree and I have worked with crime victims since her death.  Maybe this is the outlet I need because I deal with trauma and loss everyday.  It's challenging and rewarding, but I would not even be doing what I do if she were here. Maybe that is one of the reasons too I am missing her.  My life after her death became educating others about drinking an driving and working with other crime victims, something lately that I have been contemplating changing.  Would it dishonor her to stop doing the career that losing her led me to?  I just don't know...I do know that I miss her and wish I could pick up the phone and get her advice...  Time may have gone by, but just writing this, it feels like just yesterday that I first felt the pain of losing her...

tillie35

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
    • View Profile
Re: My sister, my friend - Jerrie Ellen
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2011, 02:50:43 PM »
lizdt  Please come and talk as often as you like.  I will always love and remember my brother.  I think time does not matter in our pain.    We need each other in here and I am so glad I found this site.  For me talking about Mark helps relieve the thoughts in my head that keep going round and round.

Come as often as you like.

Love Mary Ellen

helene

  • nospam
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 606
  • My Dad
    • View Profile
Re: My sister, my friend - Jerrie Ellen
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2011, 01:18:09 PM »
Hi Lizdit,

I too am glad that you are sharing your grief and memories of the loss of your sister, Jerrie Ellen that happened so suddenly back in 1993. Time does not ever erase the pain we feel over the loss of our loved ones. Whether it happened today or a few weeks ago, months ago, or years ago. I know that. My older sister Lesley died suddenly last July of 2010.  How many months have gone by now? I have stopped counting because it hurts too much. My Dad died over twenty years ago. I stopped counting regarding his death (from cancer) as well. But the grief went on, and on, and on.  Your loss is so terrible...your sister and your niece lost so tragically in a car accident! How could anyone ever recover from that?! I don't think we ever do recover. We go on living as best we can. We understand how important life is, how precious and rare life is and how wonderful and vital LOVE is in our lives. If anything, our tragic losses of our beloved sisters and brothers and other members of our families remind us of that. But...that doesn't make it any easier in the end. Yet, we keep on going...somehow. You express a concern about perhaps changing your occupation  - that it was your sister's death that spurred you on to complete your education - your college degree that led you to work with crime victims since her death.  I am sure your sister would be very proud of your accomplishments over the years working with crime victims, but she must also hear your feelings that you would not be doing what you are doing is she were still with you. She obviously loved you very much and you her. I wonder, if she were with you now, would she not ask you: "What other things...occupations...would you want to do in your life? What do you feel drawn to doing with your live NOW?" I think that any loving sister would want you do to what YOU need to do in YOUR live NOW. She would want you to live your life to the fullest. She would want waht is best for you because she loves you. So...no: you changing careers would be no dishonor to her but rather the oppoiste...an honor to her memory that you feel confident enough and filled with her love  to this day to have the confidence to do what is right for you.


My sister was ill and was not able to help me in that way when she was alive, but I know that she loved me dearly and I can feel her presence guiding me ever more towards my own dreams and life-needs now. Strange, that. But it's true.

Much love and hugs...

Helene


Helene & Lesley

browneyedgirl

  • nospam
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2320
    • View Profile
Re: My sister, my friend - Jerrie Ellen
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 11:00:23 AM »
Hi Liz ~ just wondering how you are doing
Tony Repola 07/20/66 03/29/09
I know you are fishing in the oceans and streams of heaven

lizdt

  • nospam
  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: My sister, my friend - Jerrie Ellen
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2011, 06:26:48 AM »
Thanks for asking Browneyedgirl.  I actually have just made my decision to leave my job as a Victim Witness Coordinator.  I have been working with crime victims since 1994 (the year after my sister and niece were killed.  I really struggled with this for some time because I believed I would be somehow dishonoring or letting them down if I left...this work has been so rewarding, but also very difficult at times and because I came into this line of work due to very personal reasons, I often found that I took things very personally ad over time have become disillusioned with our criminal justice system.  I know that I have aided thousands of victims in their healing journey and I have worked with some amazing people who I have come to meet due to heartbreaking circumstances.  It's time now for a new journey.  I need to find a vocation with some concrete outcomes.  I'm excited and scared all at the same time.  I know my sister understands.  She sends me "signs" from time to time.  Just like this morning when I got to work and looked at my clock and it was 7:11, her birthday :-)  I can feel that she understands and is supportive.  Just seeing your post and your name makes me smile (Brownedeyedgirl is one of the songs I sing to and we are both brown eyed :-).  Thanks for checking in.  I'm grateful that I found this sight.

browneyedgirl

  • nospam
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2320
    • View Profile
Re: My sister, my friend - Jerrie Ellen
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2011, 12:21:26 PM »
(((lizdt)))

Thanks for the update, I wish you all the luck in the world, although I don't think you'll need it ;)

Tony Repola 07/20/66 03/29/09
I know you are fishing in the oceans and streams of heaven