May 20, 1969, was devastating for Sam Forsythe's family.
Their morning began normally enough. Sam's wife, Donna, was in the kitchen
feeding the kids when he emerged from their bedroom, dressed for work. He smiled, watching
his wife's frenzy as she tried to feed their baby daughter and get their son ready for kinder-
garten at the same time.
"Hurry up and finish your cereal, Adam, or you'll miss the bus."
Sam gave Donna a quick peck on her cheek on his way to the coffeepot.
She smiled and said, "I'll make your breakfast in a minute, Honey."
"Don't bother, Sweetheart. I'm running late. Just a quick cup of coffee and I'm
out of here. Finish feeding Dawn."
Just then Donna heard the honk of the school bus. Before she could get to the
door, the bus pulled away. "Want me to drop him off on my way to the office?"
"No, I'll take him since you're late already. It's okay. I need to go shopping
Relieved, Sam smiled. "Thanks." He took a final sip of his coffee and kissed
Donna good-bye as he patted Adam on the top of his head, then waved to Dawn in her highchair.
"She's too messy to kiss," he laughed.
"Bye, Honey. Have a good day. I love you."
"Love you too. Bye." He was gone in a flash.
A few minutes later Donna sighed. "Adam, keep an eye on Dawn while I get
dressed. Please finish your breakfast or you'll be late for school."
Ten minutes later they were off. Donna dropped Adam off at the school door
just as the bus drove up the long driveway. She headed toward the highway. She wanted to get
her grocery shopping done before it was time for Dawn's nap.
Pulling onto Route 46 she was amazed at the traffic. "Must be everyone's late
today," she chuckled. Dawn giggled from the backseat as if she understood.
The traffic crept slowly along. As Donna turned into the shopping center
parking lot she spotted the flashing lights of police cars a little way up the highway. Just as
she was getting the baby out of her car seat, Donna heard an ambulance. Its sirens were blasting
as it raced up the road. The sirens suddenly ceased screeching where the flashing lights stood
"It looks as if there was a bad accident up ahead. Good thing Mommy needs
groceries or we'd be stuck in traffic. Come on, Sweetie. Let's go shopping."
Home, the car unloaded, Donna got Dawn's bottle ready. It was past her nap
time and she was getting cranky.
Once the baby was asleep, Donna poured herself a mug of black coffee and sat
down to enjoy a moment of quiet relaxation before she began her morning chores. She ran her
fingers through her long brunette hair as she took a sip of coffee. She rolled her mug between
her palms as her thoughts turned to Sam.
This peace and quiet sure is wonderful, but I need to get more organized. Poor
Sam gets ignored first thing in the morning; although he's never complained, it's still just not
fair to him. She sighed, feeling guilty. Her guilt was short lived as the doorbell rang, interrupt-
ing her thoughts. She muttered, "Now what?" and got up to answer the door.
As she opened the front door, she found two police officers waiting to speak to
One of the officers spoke softly. "Are you Mrs. Forsythe?"
All she could do was nod.
As she looked deep into the eyes of first one officer and then the other, Donna's
hand flew to her mouth and her knees buckled. Her mind flashed to the accident on the highway
and reality suddenly set in.
The policeman who had not yet spoken caught her before she
hit the floor.
Three days later, Donna, dressed in black and wearing a complete face veil,
stood at her husband's grave with her two young children at her side. As she kneeled down to
place a single red rose on top of his lowered coffin, she whispered, "Good-bye, my love," and
silently wondered how she could go on.
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