Where Were You When? – Wendy Uhl

Where Were You When….?

Funny how your memory works. Some things can be crystal clear, and others are a hazy cloud. Do you remember last Thanksgiving? What you wore? Who you sat by? How about dinner last night? Breakfast this morning?

One memory I’ll never lose is November 23, 2007. What started as a fabulous fun-filled day turned into the biggest nightmare of my life. And I can remember every last detail.

It was the day after Thanksgiving. My family was preparing for a family photo shoot since everyone was in town. The bathroom at my parents’ house was a hustle and bustle of curling irons, makeup, and voices. We moved furniture, met the photographer, checked ourselves one last time, and became models.

The girls buzzed in during the ruckus right when we were ready. I remembered what they wore, jokes we made, who stood by whom…everything. Our small family poses were done a little after 11:30, and the girls were ready to head home. Jessica had to work, and drop Kelli off at home on the way. Hugs and “I love you”s were shared along with the ‘Drive safely”. Who knew the last good-bye was going to mean forever.

We all got on with the day shortly afterwards. Brian was called into work, my sister-in-laws went shopping, and I went for a walk. I remember thanking God for the beautiful weather, the awesome family time, and the many blessings we had. And then about 4:00 the walls started crumbling.

My brother mentioned there was a big accident on the highway (he had been called into work also) and wondered if Brian knew. Little taps of anxiety began in my brain. Nah.. everyone left HOURS before anything happened. Surely everyone was safe. But I called Brian just in case.

Then at 5:00 the awful news came in. Brian had just heard from Kim, and he called me, weeping with such anguish in his voice, to tell me. And the world stopped. The surreal became my reality.

The rest is all seen in black and white: Telling my parents. Calling Brian’s parents in Kansas. How to tell Tony and the other kids. Hours of stunned silence and unrestrained sobbing. Waiting for it to be a bad, bad, joke. But the punch line never came.

The following 6 weeks are a blur. I remember the visitation, the funeral, and lots of tears. I don’t remember much else until after the New Year.

So, where were you when….?

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2 Responses to Where Were You When? – Wendy Uhl

  1. Shelly Goodpasture says:

    November 23, 2007 I was at home, I had just returned from Christmas shopping. I was in a great mood, I had gotten some great bargains and the crowds didn’t get to me.

    Then, the phone rang. My mother was on the other end, she was crying and told me that Jess and Kelli had been killed in a car wreck, or I am guessing that is what she said. I remember asking her “what did you just say!?” She repeated it again. I remember telling her we would be over and I got off the phone. I sank down in my chair and sat for a moment in total heartbreak and shock. I went outside yelling for Jody-he was in the garage like usual. Between my hysterical mutterings and sobs he realized or thought he did what had happened. We loaded up and went to my parents.

    We walked in the door and I seen utter devastation on my parents’ face. My dad kept asking the question why take both girls. At that time Jody realized that both Jess and Kelli had died in the accident. He had to leave the room for a little while as he was trying to be the strong one for us to lean on.

    We spent the rest of the night crying and trying to give comfort to each other. Which there was no comfort to be had. Just this sick feeling and an emptiness inside. And the question “Why??!!!”

  2. eva says:

    where was i when….i was at work…and my daughter called and told me there was an accident…i couldn’t really hear her…my heart started beating a little faster…i couldn’t tell if she was in an accident or what because it was loud… she had spent the day at the mall with friends and the mom was bringing them home… then she said it was kelli…my heart broke…i drove by their house on my way home…wishing i could stop and say anything…but there was nothing i could say…i just drove home..cried some more..and then i left kelli a message on myspace…..whenever i think of kelli..i think of her sweet infectious smile..even though it still makes me want to cry..i look at pictures and see her shiny happy face and i smile…

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