A Hard Lesson Learned

Written by  DeAnne’s mom,   Mary Sermeta-Hall

It’s during this time of year that something compels me to speak out to parents and young people. There are teenagers graduating from school and heading toward their new life of independence. Undoubtedly there is lots of celebrating during this time. Many of those celebrations will no doubt involve alcohol. It won’t matter that some of them will be underage. Some parents will even provide the alcohol for them. There’s also going be the ones drinking that are of legal age. Many of them will then choose to get behind the wheel or hop on their motorcycle feeling indestructible. There’s also some who will choose to drink and drive – and take a friend or friends with them. Some of them won’t make it home. I know because my daughter was out partying with a friend. They were both drunk when they got on his motorcycle, feeling indestructible. Twenty minutes after they made that choice my daughter was dead. She flew off of the speeding motorcycle and landed face down in a ditch after the driver lost control of the bike.

The driver survived and is haunted day and night by memories of what happened and the part he played in the death of someone he loved very much. I live knowing that the examples I set as a parent could have been better, much better. I’m a recovering alcoholic who drove drunk with my daughter many times while she was growing up, showing her that it was okay to drink and drive and that it was okay to get in (or on) a vehicle with someone who was drunk.

The way I see it there are 3 people who are responsible for the death of my beautiful 25 year old daughter. The driver who he loved her and had a responsibility to keep her safe. But instead he chose to drive drunk with her. As hard as it has been to admit, my daughter played a part in what happened to her. She had a choice. That choice cost her life. But there was also me, by setting a very poor example throughout her life. She never knew me sober. Maybe if I would have made her aware of the dangers of drinking and driving I could have saved her life that night. I’ll never know. My only consolation is that she knew how much I loved her before she left.  There’s nothing I can do to bring her back. What I can do is try to save another mother’s daughter by writing this opinion in memory of DeAnne.

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