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texting and driving

One Text and a Shattered Heart

After I talked to Arik’s dad I called my dad and my sister to tell them what happened. I should have probably just sent them a text since I was crying so hard on the phone that I couldn’t properly piece my sentences together. As soon as I ended those phone calls my mom came into the room. I told her what happened and she consoled me.

While my mom was consoling me a wave of anger washed over me. I realized I was still wearing the diamond necklace Arik gave me for my birthday. I reached for the necklace and ripped it clean off my neck…breaking the chain in two.

In an attempt to make me feel better, my mom said we should go to my favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant. I wasn’t even hungry, but I needed something to just get my mind off what just happened… and I was still wondering why Arik didn’t send me another text to clear up his typo.

ONE TEXT AND HE WAS GONE

We ordered and sat down. I can’t get what just happened out of my head. So what’s a better way to escape your problems than scrolling through Instagram? I’m scrolling through my feed when I see an image and pause. I saw a post from one of Arik’s cousins with a picture of them from over the summer and the caption said, “R.I.P. Arik Mack”… HUH? Was this some sort of sick joke? A plea for my attention? Did Arik plan this with his cousin because of the breakup?

My heart began to beat faster and faster. I scrolled further down my feed and his cousin posted another photo. This time I knew that it wasn’t a joke. There was a picture of a mutilated semi-truck and over the image, it read, “1 dies in semi-truck rollover in Spanish Fork Canyon”.

Teens texting and driving
This is one of the pictures Arik’s cousin posted- and how I found out Arik had passed away.

I started panicking, my mom didn’t know what was happening and I became frantic. I couldn’t even get the words out, to tell her what was happening… I was completely in shock. Then my phone started ringing. One of his close friends called me and asked if I knew what was going on and if Arik was dead. Tears. I couldn’t even stop them as they were surging so quickly down my face.

I hung up and I decided to call Arik. I was really hoping this was all a twisted dream or just a horrible joke. I still remember how I felt calling him and hearing the ringback tone and just praying that I would hear his voice. “Please, please, please,” I said under my breath…praying that he would answer and my worst fear wouldn’t be true. He never answered.

Outside the restaurant, I grabbed a hold of the nearest trash can because I was getting weak and felt myself beginning to pass out. My mom and I just ditched our food and got in the car. That’s when I decided I needed to call Arik’s dad. I was sobbing before he even answered. Arik’s dad answered and I don’t even remember what I said in the beginning, I just remember he was super calm, “Arik passed away in a car crash this afternoon.”

He was so calm, I really don’t know how he held it all together. My phone call with him was quick, the only other things I remember him telling me was to try not to worry because he didn’t want any harm coming to the baby. I felt so horrible… I just kept repeating, ”I’m so sorry” over and over again because I felt like I was the one to blame. My mom and I both cried the whole way home.

TEXTING AND DRIVING

March 24, 2015, Arik Mack died in a car accident driving through Spanish Fork Canyon. Remember in my last post when I said that the last message Arik sent me wasn’t finished? Well, he died while texting me back. I don’t expect anyone to know just how horrible this made me feel. It felt like my heart was physically ripped from my chest. I really didn’t know a pain like this existed.

Texting and driving accident
This was Arik’s car after the accident.

I felt like this was all my fault. I blamed myself. I couldn’t stop playing the “what if” game.

“If I wouldn’t have texted him back then this would have never happened”

“If I didn’t say such hurtful things he would have never gone for a drive in that canyon in the first place.”

Above all, I couldn’t get the last words that I said to him out of my head. The guilt, the agony… it was unbearable. I hated myself. I truly hated every single thing about myself and in that moment, I felt like dying.

Later that evening everyone started posting photos of Arik on Instagram. I had over 300 people follow me that day. I think they wanted to know what had happened or see what the grief-stricken girlfriend had to say. Either way, I got a little irritated that people just wanted to follow me because they wanted to see the drama unfold, so I made my Instagram private.

I wasn’t going to post on Instagram that night because I just needed time to process everything that was going on. But then I just started feeling obligated because people who hardly even knew him were posting about his death.

Then the comments, messages, and texts came flooding in. Although I was grateful for my friends and strangers sympathy, it was all so overwhelming.

This is what I posted on Instagram the night Arik died. The top of the pic is cut off because my caption was so long.

THE AFTERSHOCK

I never knew a pain like this even existed… it was absolutely excruciating. That night my mom made me sleep on a mattress next to her bed because she was so worried about me. I laid awake in bed all night. Arik and I always thought we were going to have a girl, but for some reason, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was having a boy.

The weird thing was, the first time I felt Hudson kick was the day Arik died (before I found out he was gone). I told my mom I kept feeling this fluttering in my tummy almost as if my stomach was twitching. She told me it was the baby kicking. Which is weird since I was only 13 and a half weeks pregnant and I was told you usually don’t feel your baby kick until 18+ weeks or so.

The next day my mom and I called my gynecologist to see if we could get in to do an ultrasound to find out the gender of the baby. I wanted to know the gender because I wanted to be able to tell Arik’s family when I went up to Utah for the funeral.

Luckily, the gynecologist squeezed us in. I walked into the office and the first thing they did was put me on the scale. I had lost over 5 pounds which isn’t good for a pregnant woman who doesn’t experience morning sickness.

Then they put me in one of the rooms where I waited for the doctor to come in. I had my mom, sister, and sister-in-law there with me. My dad was still out of town but was taking the first flight back so he could get home.

The doctor came in and asked me what happened and that’s when I lost it. My mom had to help me tell the tragic story because I could hardly get words out in between my cries. He gave his condolences and tried to cheer me up. I was able to gain my composure again and he started the ultrasound.

Since I was only a little over 13 and a half weeks he was having a hard time finding the sex of the baby. After five minutes of trying, I thought it was over… but then he decided to get one of the ultrasound technicians to come in. After about 20 seconds the technician says, “oooh, it’s a boy!”.

Tears streamed down my face.

IT’S A BOY!

Below you’ll find one of my most personal videos that I had during my pregnancy. I have only shared this video with a few close friends and family. This is a video that makes me cry every time I watch it… even now. It scares me sharing this because it is so personal and it holds so much value to me but I think it transports you to this time in my life. To be in that moment with me and maybe relate to how I was feeling.

Finding out the gender was such an emotional experience, especially since Arik had just passed away the day before. As part of a routine checkup, I got my blood drawn before I left. If you know me, you’ll know that this is my LEAST favorite thing. It has nothing to do with pain, I am just extremely squeamish and I absolutely hate blood, needles, and anything else of that nature.

Mixing my shock and emotional duress with my squeamishness was recipe for disaster. I got my blood drawn, and as I was walking out of the offices I couldn’t get my mind off Arik and the car crash. I kept picturing the events in my mind over and over and I couldn’t seem to get them out.

Before I knew it my eyes were black and I was trying to grab on to the walls as I was going down. I wasn’t unconscious but I was pretty close.

I had my eyes closed and when I opened them there were nurses and doctors surrounding me. I had to go back into one of the rooms and relax for about thirty minutes before they let me leave.

FAMILY OF SADNESS

Later that day my dad flew in from his business trip. My mom and I went to pick him up and when I saw him he opened my car door. He hugged me long and tight and we both cried. Even though my parents, especially my dad didn’t want me to be with Arik, they felt absolutely horrible when he died. They may not have seen us ending up together… but as parents, they were heartbroken for me, and Arik’s family. They couldn’t imagine the pain, the loss, and the suffering his family was probably feeling.

To make the situation harder, I was enrolled in two difficult online classes (6 credits). I was required to complete them within 4 weeks or I would lose the option to go back to school and play Division I tennis.

Two days after Arik’s death I had to go into a testing center at a random college and take a finance test. Looking back my pain and anguish were so deep that I don’t even know how I did it. I was in such shock – I remember while taking the test my mind would just keep flashing back to Arik’s death.

My parents were concerned about me, and they had a right to be. My mom did not let me leave her sight. If I walked out of the room to even use the bathroom she would ask me where I was going. It was hard for me because I just wanted to be alone. But I knew she was really worried about my well-being, and just doing her best to be a good mom.

Three days after Arik’s death I was on an airplane back to Utah for his funeral. I remember looking out my airplane window and contemplating life while listening to “our songs”. Everything seemed like it was just a bad dream and all I had to do was pinch myself so I could wake up. I hated it, but it wasn’t a dream… this was my new reality.

COMING UP NEXT WEEK: THE FUNERAL

Texting and driving is such a serious issue that shouldn’t be ignored. Please be careful out there, your loved ones need you.

-At least 9 people are killed every day because of a distracted driver.

-More than 1,000 people are injured every day due to a distracted driver.

-In 2015 42% of teens say they have texted while driving—and texting and driving is the leading cause of death in teens.

I didn’t want to get into too much detail about the car crash because it’s not something that I really want to talk a lot about… but if you want to hear more about what happened, click here.

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