What Mother's Day means to me

Published on 12 May 2023 at 11:30

What Mother's Day means to me. Well, that my friends is a story to tell! For the last 17 years, as Mother's Day rolls around, I get this overwhelming feeling of fear! My story begins on May 13, 2006.


It was a beautiful Saturday. Me with my husband and two children, Nicole (19) and Jeremy (13), traveled to our hometown of Griffin to celebrate Mother's Day with our moms. Now this wasn't any ordinary get together! On this very rare day, we had my husband's mother, and 3 siblings with their spouses and kids (2 each) AND, my mother, stepmother & father, half-brother and his family all gathered together in ONE place! This was the first time; we were all together celebrating! It was the most wonderful Mother's Day ever!


Sunday came, and my daughter, Nicole came to me and asked if she could go spend the day with her boyfriend, Mike, since we spent all day Saturday together. I told her of course, because I knew what it meant to her, and I knew that I would have plenty of time with her in the future. Sunday came and went just like any other day. 

Monday, May 15, 2006. The day after Mother's Day. This is the day that my life would change in an instant and forever!

I was in my office working. Nicole came and asked if I could show her how to DVR one of her shows on my bedroom TV so we could watch it together later that evening. She was getting ready to head to class at AIU in Atlanta, where she was studying Fashion Marketing. Nicole LOVED fashion from the time she became a teenager. She had just graduated from Modeling School and was just getting started on that career. So, I showed her what to do and she went on about her way and I went back to work. As she was about to leave, she said bye and started down the stairs. I yelled out "see you in a minute", she stopped, turned around and asked me what I meant. I told her, every time you leave, you always forget something and come running back up here for it. *Here comes the cold chills & tears*, she looked right at me and said, "Oh mom, I'm not coming back today". We have a business, and usually on Monday's I would ask her to swing by the bank for me to take my deposit. But this day, I didn't have one, so she didn't need to stop. I remember listening to the garage door open, then her pull out and the door closed. For some strange reason, I went downstairs to the front door, and I watched my sweet baby girl drive away.



I always asked Nicole to text me when she got to school, because it was about a 45 min drive, and she had to get on Interstate 75 to get there. It was between 10:45 and 11:30 am, my phone rang. It was Nicole calling; however, I knew it was too soon for her to be at school. So of course, fear struck me, and I answered it franticly. I said “Nicole, what’s wrong?” But then I hear this woman’s voice, and she says, “Is this Jeanette’s (Nicole’s first name) mother?” I said yes; I was Nicole’s mother and asked what was going on. She told me she was an ER Nurse and that my daughter had been in a bad car accident and was being air flighted to Atlanta Medical Center downtown Atlanta. I asked how Nicole was and she said she was in critical condition and that we needed to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. She said that a State Trooper would be contacting me with further information. As soon as I hung up, I felt like I was moving in slow motion. I called my husband at work and told him he needed to come get me now! I called Nicole’s boyfriend and asked if he could head down there to find out what was going on (he worked in Marietta and was much closer than we were). It seemed like it took hours for Lonnie to get home, but it was only 20 minutes. I was waiting for him in the driveway.

 As we were in route, the State Trooper called and told us NOT to take I-575 S to I-75, that they were still working the scene and traffic was really backed up. As we rushed to Atlanta, I called my friend Kathy and explained to her what was going on and asked if she could go check Jeremy out of school and bring him down to Atlanta.


When we arrived at the hospital, we were met by Mike and the hospital’s pastor. Mike said they wouldn’t give him any updates. The pastor told us that Nicole was in surgery and that she was stable (found out later that wasn’t true). As, the pastor was leading us to the elevators, a GA State Trooper met us. We had so many questions, but all he could tell us was that Nicole was run off the interstate and struck by a semi-truck.

We were taken to a large family waiting room. They said it would be a while until Nicole was out of surgery. I started calling all the family and asking them to come to the hospital. After about an hour or so, someone came in and told us that Nicole was stable at the moment and asked if we wanted to go back to see her. Of course, we said yes!



**CAUTION, this part of the story may not be suitable for young readers**

They explained that she had a lot of internal bleeding, that her spleen was damaged and that they had to leave her stomach open for now. Lonnie, Mike, and I were led back into the ER into a room. When I saw my little girl laying there, I was like, “that’s not my baby”, because she was so swollen from the internal bleeding, I could hardly recognize her! I went to her and told her we were there and that we loved her and to please stay with us and to fight. But something inside me clicked, not being able to recognize her, I knew she was already gone, but I still wanted to have hope. I kissed her and hugged her the best I could. They said there was a chance that she would have to go back into surgery again. We were then taken back out to the waiting area. I don’t remember much about what happened next. I remember going in the bathroom and crying out to God, to please save my sweet girl. I remember a lady coming by the waiting room and saying her son or nephew was in the ER as well. She gave me a Bible and asked to pray with us. (I never saw her again; it was as if she were an Angel sent to us at that moment). The family slowly started to arrive. It seems that someone must have come in and spoken with us about what had happened. We found out that as Nicole was merging onto I-75, and a pickup truck cut her off. Now with

Nicole being my daughter, there was no doubt that she problem gave him the universal sign to F-off! Apparently, this person got mad and started taunting her. She tried to switch lanes to get away from him, but he came over on her again! This time causing her to lose control of her car and run off the road. Witnesses said then as her car started to reenter the interstate, a semi-truck struck the driver’s side and drug her into the center wall. They said the person in the pickup truck saw everything that was happening and sped off, exiting the interstate. It would later be revealed that this was a company vehicle, however, due to legal reasons, I am unable to identify the business. I can tell you that they would not give up the driver’s name!

Shortly after finding out what happened, the doctor came in and told us that Nicole had succumbed to her injuries and was no longer with us. They said they would let us know went she was prepped, cleaned up, and we were able to go back to see her. Soon, they brought me her belongings. Her blood-soaked clothes, pocketbook with broken glass all inside it, her phone, and anything else they grabbed.  Eventually we were able to go back to sit with her.

Someone came and told me that Jeremy had arrived. As I walked out of the ER and saw my son standing there, I fell to my knees and grabbed him and just started hugging him. I didn’t want to let go. I told him that his sissy had been in a very bad accident and that she didn’t survive. I think someone had asked if he wanted to see her, but I told them NO! I didn’t want him to remember her like that! As everyone went back to see her, we started to gather our things to head home.

Lonnie, Jeremy, my mother, and I were heading up I-575. It had rained while we were in Atlanta. As we approached the Woodstock area, I was looking out the window as tears continued to flow, and I saw a beautiful rainbow. I pointed it out to everyone, and my mom told me that God was showing me that HE had our girl now and that everything would be okay. I spent the rest of the evening going through her phone calling her best friends and answering texts from people who were sending their condolences.

All that week as we prepared to lay our sweet angel to rest, every day, we were shown a beautiful rainbow! It was as if Nicole was letting us know she was there with us! We had made the decision to have Nicole laid to rest in our hometown of Griffin (we were planning to move back after Jeremy graduated from high school). I told all her friends that we would have a memorial at Woodstock Baptist (where Nicole had been baptized years before and was a member). Nicole had been a gymnast and cheerleader all her life. She never met a stranger and when she walked into a room, it seemed to brighten up! She was loved and adored by many. I knew they would all want something special so they could say their goodbyes.

Friday came and we were having a visitation at the funeral home. What started off as a single room visitation, turned into a two-suite visitation and hours of greeting and speaking to so many people! There were hundreds of them there! I was in such disbelief and shock! The plan was to have her service at the funeral home’s chapel. It was 2 hours from our home, and I wasn’t expecting such a large turn out! The funeral director came to me and said there was NO WAY they could accommodate so many people, so he scrambled to find a larger space for us that evening. **Side note, it was at this moment we would made a longtime family friend, Mike Conner at Conner – Westbury Funeral Home** Thankfully, there was a very large church down the road that allowed us to have her service there.

Again, I don’t really remember much about the service, or even being there! I know it was very hard to walk to the front of that church, but thankfully I had my family by my side! There were so many people

in that church! I’m not sure if you are familiar with how people react here in the south when there is a funeral procession, but let me tell you, it was a humbling moment in my life! I remember as we left the church and headed to the cemetery, there had to be over a hundred cars in her procession. We had 5-mile drive to the cemetery, and as we made our way down the 4 lane through Griffin, every car coming and going was stopped on the side of the road! I had never seen or experienced anything like that! It was like God had split the Red Sea for her journey!

It had been a long and exhausting day! After everyone was gone, we made our way back to my parent’s house and I went to lay down. As soon as I closed my eyes, Jeremy came running in yelling “Mom, come outside, now!” I was reluctant, but I pulled myself up and went outside. As I stepped out of the garage, he pointed to the sky. There was a big, beautiful, bright, double rainbow! I felt this warmth cover me and I knew my girl was safe in God’s arms!

So, you would think, that’s it, that’s why I feel such fear when Mother’s Day rolls around!

Fast forward to 2021. My mother, a very social, outgoing, and bubbly lady, was having health problems. She had already had some heart valves replaced but seemed to be doing fine until She started to have this pain in her back. It was so intense that she could hardly breathe. It was April and the cardiologist wanted her to come in for another heart cath just to make sure everything was ok. She told me that it was just a routine procedure and that my cousin was going to take her down to Macon for it. My mother was told to be there around 8 am. They had her prepped and ready, but something happened, and she waited until 5pm before they took her back. Soon after the procedure, as she was in recovery, she went into cardiac arrest. They were able to resuscitate her, but she ended up in ICU in an induced coma. I got this phone call late that evening telling me about what had happened. I quickly packed a bag and headed to Macon! I spent almost 30 days with my mom as she was in and out of ICU and they never did anything to help improve her condition.

On Friday, April 30th, I stopped in to see mom, before I took my husband home (I would go home on the weekends). She saw me come in, and the nurse said she was having a hard morning. She looked at me and started telling me about some guy needing to see me. That I had his tools. I explained to her that I had no knowledge of this. She told me she was so confused and just kept repeating it. I told her she just needed to rest and that I had to take my husband home, but that my cousin would come on Saturday and sit with her, and I would be back on Sunday.

Sunday comes and I stop by the hospital to let her know I was back. They had put a feeding tube in her nose, and I could tell she wasn’t happy. She was moving all around, yet unresponsive, and every time, she kept trying to pull the tube out. I left that evening and told her I would see her in the morning.

Monday, May 3, 2021. I arrived at the hospital, but mom wasn’t any better. Her nurse came in and gave me the updates. They had her on all these medicines, talking about dialysis and such. Then suddenly my mom went into cardiac arrest. They quickly started working on her and were able to get her stabilized. This would happen again later in the day. They then asked if I wanted them to continue life saving techniques, at which time I said yes. That evening she went into cardiac arrest again. This time I sat there as they worked to get her back, but I knew she had had enough. So asked them to please stop. She still had a faint heartbeat and I sat with her and told her it was okay, that I knew she wanted to go. I kissed her goodbye and told her I loved her as she took her last breath. Once again, this was the Monday before Mother’s Day!

So, you see, now God had taken two very precious people from me at Mother’s Day!

This year is my daughter’s true Angelversary. May 15 is the Monday after Mother’s Day, the original day she passed away. All week I have tried to stay busy, but thoughts and memories creep up on me and I feel the tears swelling up. Today, we will make our way to Griffin for Mother’s Day weekend. I will be holding my breath the entire time. Sunday, my son and daughter in law will make the trip down to spend the day with me. I will be anxious and uneasy the entire time he is on the road, since he must travel the same route, his sister did. Monday will come, we will go to the cemetery to visit Nicole, but I will only be worrying about my son and any other loved ones that may be out on the roads. As long as I can get through Monday without any incidents, Tuesday I will be able to breathe a sigh of relief once again.

I gave up Mother’s Day, May 14, 2006, because I knew I would have many more moments to spend with my daughter. But little did I know that wasn’t the case. Please, love on those most precious to you today and every day you can! Tomorrow is never promised!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

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Kathy Pitts
a year ago

Shannon, thank you for sharing your story. I can NOT begin to fathom that kind of pain. My parents are gone and I lost a brother a few years ago but a child...I can't imagine. You and Lonnie are in my thoughts and prayers 🙏