Richmond's Own (but unowned) Website

 
 
Every fifteen minutes, somebody dies in a drunk driving related accident.  On May 13, 2010, I died.  I died in a car crash caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol. 1 along with 26 other students died for 24 hours. 

Completely cut off from the outside world, from electronic devices, we were forced to come together, to bond with each other, to get to know and love each other.  This was so much more than learning about the dangers of drunk driving.  The past 24 hours showed me how much I had to value in my life.  The value of my friends and relationships.  At the beginning, I wasn't sure about it. I thought the stuff Mr. Withers talked to us about was just the stereotypical teambuilding speech.  I was completely wrong.

24 hours ago, 27 of us came together as strangers.  Today, we left as a family.  I met so many people that I would never have talked to during a regular school day, so many amazing people with different and intriguing life experiences. 

There were fun times too. Drunk goggles at SpeedZone. Coming up with a rap with Peter about not having cell phones.  But there was a lot of deep information too.

I learned that death can come at any time.  Even if you have everything going for you, even if you do everything right, things can happen. Death can happen. There's no use sugarcoating it.  We can try to prevent it, we will prevent it, but it only takes one person to make a bad choice, and in a second lives are changed forever.  Which means we have to live every day to the fullest, to live life without regrets.  It means in the end, all we have are each other.  A computer can't give you love. A phone, an iPod, can't give you love. Only another person can give you love.  And love is just the base, a foundation for a relationship that can be rewarding in ways I can't even express in words.  Relationships take work and take time.  Relationships take physical presence. Relationships take the ability to speak and hear someone's emotions, to read body language.  As much as technology does to help us in our lives, it isolates us as well, so that we don't physically come together.  In the last 24 hours, I loved 26 people so much. 

I saw pictures, horrible pictures, of the consequences.  Death. Sitting right there in front of me. My head kept turning toward and from the screen, like turning from life to death.  I think the worst part about dying isn't the death, but knowing the pain that those around you feel, your parents, your family, your friends.  Which is all the more reason to live life building relationships without regret, for you never know when might be your last goodbye. 

I think my favorite moment was after the funeral before we got to see our parents.  All of us behind the curtain, together for what was probably the last time, all hugging and crying.  These people who I had not known a day earlier are now like family to me.  The sense of comradery, the sense of trust, the sense of love amongst us. Everything Mr. Withers told us yesterday was true.  We were all there for each other, happy and sad, emotions flying, but all of us, together.

And now I'm not sure if I'm ready to re-enter the world of the living again.  I thought I was.  I'm glad to be home with my parents. But as I sit here typing this, I have a sense of loneliness.  No one else can truly know what the 27 of us went through - no one can else can truly know what the 5 of us at the crash scene went through.  Everything now seems so mundane and superficial - a test, a class assignment, a tv show - they all seem to lack meaning and importance.  Being at home now is like being cut off from a family. I already miss the unity, the presence of the others - the love.  But in the end that's all that we have for each other, and it is the most valuble thing that we can have and cherish, and I am so thankful that I the chance to love and be loved.  Every 15 Minutes is more than just a program about not drinking and driving - it truly is a program that opens your soul and makes you realize the worth of yourself and the people around you - the value of life. 
Priscilla D. Yun
5/14/2010

Richmond I missed you!
I seriously hope no one we know are affected by drunk driving :(

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Jessica Kuo
5/14/2010

Hey,
Don't feel lonely. If there's anyone to feel slightly embarrassed it would be me =] When i woke up, i felt so awkward, as though i'd overreacted. but now im glad that i can honestly say i was open to the experience. nd i think the 5 of us are lucky. even if we're not that close to henry, ever, nd esteban, i feel like there'll always be that bond with them. nd yeah, maybe it sucks kinda that we have to go back to the real world, but the whole purpose was for us to live changed lives, right? it's a good thing that we're here to talk about what we went through. nd there's no right or wrong thing to say to ppl who ask what happened. i think if we just say what we felt, that'll be enough =]
nd we'll always have those 25 other ppl to go up to nd hug randomly. im sure they wont mind >:]

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Kevin Hayakawa
5/14/2010

I love you Richmond Wong =]

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