Angelina was my Glowworm. That’s the nickname I would use because of her big, beautiful eyes and the way she was wrapped in her blanket the day she was born. It all reminded me of the kids’ old glowworm toy looking the same way.
Lots of parents claim to have the perfect child, but I can honestly say that my little girl was as close as you can get to being there. She had and made friends wherever she went and was a social butterfly just like me and her mom were. She always was the center of whatever group she was around.
Angelina loved school and never wanted to miss a day — not even for a doctor’s appointment and even in the subjects she struggled with. She still wanted to be there. Her glowing personality made her stand out with her teachers as well. I guess her friends were so impressed with the way she carried herself and how happy she always appeared that they wanted to be part of that. She always had sleepovers, every weekend if possible, or friends invited her to their house.
In July of 2019, she went with her cousin who was also her best friend to Maui for the trip of a lifetime. She had so much fun and looking back on it now I’m so glad I allowed her to go.
Everyone would tease me and call her a “Daddy’s Girl” because of how close we were or how everyone thought she could pull the wool over my eyes but we were so in sync from the day she was born, that maybe she could. I kept her grounded by having her donate her old toys and clothes to the homeless shelter for mothers with children to instill in her to always give when you can.
Angelina’s mom lived in Bountiful, Utah, and Angelina and I lived in Las Vegas. She was going to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with her mom that year. She was all packed and had just got her hair done and was waiting for her mom who was running a little late because she got started on the drive to Vegas a little later than expected. Her mom and her mom’s friend, who made the trip down with her, showed up and we chatted a bit before they got on the road. I remembered telling Angelina to make sure she kept her seat belt on and I took a photo of her with her Mom and her dog “Misty” before they got on the road.
I don’t remember sleeping particularly well that night and started texting and calling them as soon as I woke up, but didn’t receive any answer from either Angelina or her mom, so I was a little worried. Around 9:30 a.m., I received a call from Angelina’s grandfather on her mother’s side asking me if I’m sitting down. He proceeded to tell me that there was an accident and no one survived. I still remember screaming and dropping to the floor in disbelief. Apparently, her mom fell asleep at the wheel, and over-corrected, and had a rollover that ejected Angelina from the vehicle.
Through social media, I was contacted by the woman who witnessed the accident. She gave me details I so badly needed by telling me that she stayed with Angelina, who at the time was still breathing, and held her hand the whole time until paramedics arrived. They couldn’t revive her.
Angelina had just turned 13 on October 6th and was gone a month later on November 23, 2019, along with her mother and another passenger. Angelina was my only child and I miss her every day and wish her mom would have pulled over to rest or to change places with the other driver. My life will never be the same and as much as I try to live a normal life, the pain and anguish shows on my face.
Please, let this be a reminder that drowsy driving is as bad as impaired driving and it’s just not worth it.