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FINALIST ESSAY: Johnson Attorneys Group Never Drink and Drive Scholarship by Madison Nass (Spring 2020)

Madison Nass scholarship finalist Never Drink and Drive Never Drink and Drive Essay

By Madison Nass

It has been 5,832 days since I saw my mother, since her life was cut short, since I told her that I loved her as she drove us home after a small vacation. I miss her every day. At this point, they call the thoughts I have about this day “Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

It was June 3, 2005 the last time I saw my mother alive. I don’t remember her voice. I don’t remember her smile, but I do remember her lifeless body. I do remember the man that caused the accident. I remember the beer in his hand as he poured it out after the accident, yelling obscenities, and walking up to the wrecked vehicle as strangers came to pull my brother and I out the windows of no longer functioning vehicle.

Drunk driving as effected my life since my earliest memories. I was five when my mother passed, and it effected the way my brother and I grew up, our father, and every experience we have has since that day. They day we came home for the first time after the accident, our home just felt like a house with a hole in it where my mother once was. She brought light to every room and was the light in our lives. My grandma’s only daughter, my dad’s soulmate, my sweet mother that I will never truly know.

For years, my brother, Mason and I attended countless therapy appointments and spoke about the tragedy every time we met someone new because they were always curious as to why our dad was the only one anyone would ever see or why our mom never made it to Mother’s Day celebrations at school. Though those days are long gone and almost fifteen years have past since, we still speak about her and fight back tears at night, trying to reconcile “why her?”

Though I am now grown and trying to make a life for myself, this early memory of drunk driving has caused me a new type of awareness and understanding to the power of driving under the influence and how fast a life can be cut short. I have grown a lot during therapy, trying to cope with my PTSD, and have learned a lot about myself and understanding that this day was not my fault and that I will eventually be okay, but it has been 15 years and I still don’t feel completely okay and probably never will. I deal with effects daily, but still strive to do my best. I transferred into my dream school, the University of Georgia, and was forced to take time off to deal with my ongoing struggles with mental health. I came back and changed my major and decided that it will no longer dictate what I am able to do anymore. I have created a strong foundation for myself, started school back up again, and am finally getting to a point in my life where I actually feel okay again.

Drunk driving has a ripple effect that lasts over a decade. If I could go back and do it all again and the same thing happened, I would make sure I remembered her laugh and her smile and how she would sing to me. I would make sure I remembered her telling me “I love you.”

Madison Nass is from Sugar Hill, Georgia, and is a junior at The University of Georgia studying Financial Planning.

Pat Rillera, Regional Executive Director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Southern California, will be selecting our winner later this week.
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