Thursday, September 17, 2009

the outside lights.

it's been a weird week so far. f has been awesome: funny, easy-going, loving school, snuggly and just a love-bug. it's been nice. a lot of things are good, in fact. but across the street from us, our neighbors have been living in what i can only imagine is truly an excruciating nightmare of a reality: their sweet sweet 19 year old daughter was in a horrific car accident last sunday afternoon and is now, from what we gather, in a coma.

she still lives at home, and we know she's in a band because her mom and dad are so proud of her and so supportive. at a neighborhood barbecue last summer, i was struck by how cute her mom was as she told me about carly and how she was following her dream with this band. her mom asked if i knew what "screamo" was, and it was so rad, that word coming out of her mouth. both of carly's folks clearly are so proud of their girl, with good reason.

about two weeks ago, a short white bus showed up in front of their house, and it sat there on our street all week as carly, her mom & dad, and the other band members took turns working on it. other neighbors pitched in too, and they put bunks in that little bus and took it to get new tires. last saturday morning, f and i met her parents in the street and chuckled about the bus and about how they had been kinda noisy working on it so late at night, trying so hard to get it ready for their first big tour.

and this past monday, it still felt like a normal day as my show got underway. but as i perused the radio station's twitter account, i noticed a "tweet" from a listener saying something about a local san diego band having been in a horrible bus accident near bakersfield, how two of the members were in comas. i had never learned carly's band's name, so when the person said the band was called "a city serene", it didn't even register. i googled bakersfield news, just to check up on the story before i sent a link out to the station's twitter followers, and i found a short article about a bad four car pileup that had happened sunday afternoon. i just gave it all a cursory glance at first - i was only looking to make sure this person wasn't full of it before i shared the story with other listeners.

i guess it was about an hour later when the same person who'd sent the initial "tweet" sent something out again, about how she was in a panic about her injured friends and how she wasn't sure what to do. for some reason, i went back to that article from the bakersfield news site, and i really looked at the picture of the accident. and then? i felt sick. the picture that was with the article showed a white bus all crunched up on its side, and it looked just like the white bus that had been parked on our street.

to make a long story just more crappy, i googled "a city serene" and sure enough, my worst fear was confirmed - this was carly's band, that was the bus they'd been working on. i called j, freaking out. and i really knew nothing - just what the article said, that it had been a bad accident and that all 6 kids (the band members are from 19-22 years old) had been life-flighted from the scene. i noticed on their myspace page that someone had already posted a bulletin about the accident and had set up a pay-pal fund to help with forthcoming medical expenses, so i sent out the link on facebook and twitter. the band's manager called the request lines and told me that carly was one of the most seriously injured in the crash, and i just felt so flipping helpless. he also asked me to mention it on the air, to send people to their myspace page in hopes that people would make donations i guess. so i did, but it all felt so surreal - carly is our neighbor! i mean, we don't know her well (she's never around - she's 19! and in a band! would you be around?), but we adore her parents! WTF, life?!? W! T! F!

as of today (thursday, four days after the accident), we still don't know much. i do know that her parents have been with her at the hospital since sunday night. their cars haven't moved and their outside lights are now on 24/7. and, i mean, it's those outside lights that just ruin me. seeing them on in the daytime, knowing it's because carly's folks are not about to leave her bedside as their little girl fights for her life. every time i leave or pull up to our house, i see those lights on and i think about what it must be like, as a parent, to be going through what they are going through right now, and it just plain breaks my heart. it's impossible to even begin to wrap my head around it. it takes my breath away even trying.

it took the local san diego news media about three days to pick up on the story, and today, the UT ran the most comprehensive story i've seen on the accident yet. yesterday, a local television station contacted me at the station and, having heard i am carly's neighbor, asked me to go on the air with them to talk about it. i told them "no thank you" as fast as i could get the words out - my gut just said, oh hell no. it just felt wrong - we know them! we are so worried about them! i mean, can you imagine? you are going through the most devastating event of your entire life and hey! there's your neighbor on the news talking about it! riiiight.

so, it's been a weird week. life is just fine for our little family, but i can't stop thinking about the family across the street and how as we are in our house laughing and singing, they are just suffering. i think if it hasn't been done yet, we're going to to mow their lawn for them this weekend, just pick up around their yard a little bit. we'll do more, of course. but mowing the lawn? doing neighborly things? we can do that - we'll do it with pleasure. it's the least we can do. especially if their outside lights are still on.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you've taken over my family's role! Before they moved, we were neighbors with Carly, Shane, Cathy, Ryan & Kyle for 10 years. Your words summed up our feelings perfectly. Thanks for publicizing this, because all we can do is pray.