Sunday, May 25, 2008
But she doesn't want anyone to forget the lesson of Feb. 27, 2003, when a drunk driver going 100 mph the wrong way on Interstate 84 crashed head-on into the Marti family car.
"This wasn't an accident," Marti said this week, as Wednesday's five-year anniversary of the crash approached. "This was a choice."
There were 106 alcohol-related traffic crash fatalities in Idaho in 2006, the last year state data is available. That number was up 19 percent from the year before, but less than in 2000 and 2003. Drunken driving deaths in the United States hover near 17,500 a year, down significantly from more than 25,000 in the early 1980s.
But the behavior continues. In Boise alone in 2007, there were more than 2,000 DUI arrests. Ada County made 472 DUI arrests.
"Every time we take one off the street, that means someone doesn't get in a fatal crash," said Ada County Sheriff Sgt. Mike Rossi. "You can't stop trying because it's frustrating. And you can't ever think you've solved the problem. Alcohol and driving - it's socially acceptable and readily available."
That social acceptability is what Marti continues to combat.
She speaks to school classes and other groups about the crash that changed her life - she's given, she estimates, more than 1,000 presentations since 2003.
It has been therapeutic, she said, and she hopes it has prevented other fatal crashes.
She used to be timid about speaking in front of groups, but that changed.
"I would love to be a public speaker, not just talking about drunk driving but death, forgiveness, turning to God," said Marti, who holds an associate's degree from Ricks College.
She's now majoring in communications at Boise State University.
The 28-year-old, who has a small hair studio attached to her Meridian home, said she is doing very well physically and emotionally - despite the life-threatening injuries that could have killed her instead of putting her in a coma for several weeks.
"I can't tell you why I'm here," she said. "All I've done is decided, 'What kind of life do you want to have - a depressed life or a happy life?' "
The man who hit the Martis, Edgar Vasquez-Hernandez, must serve another eight years of his 40-year prison sentence before he is eligible for parole. He was an undocumented immigrant, and that sparked some to use the wreck to argue for tougher immigration laws. Proponents of allowing all immigrants to get driver's licenses say offering more people legal licenses would mean fewer uninsured drivers on the road.
In the crash, Marti suffered traumatic injuries to her brain; it bled and swelled. She broke numerous bones, including her neck, nose, hand and fingers.
Each morning and evening now, she wears special weights on her head and shoulders to help balance and straighten her out.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time, I can't tell (the crash occurred). I hardly ever get sick. Physically, I'm awesome," Marti said.
The brain trauma has caused some lingering memory issues, slowing her progress toward getting her degree from BSU. She failed a semester and decided to cut back from three classes to one.
"It's gotten better," said BSU student Katy Davies, 22, Marti's friend and former roommate. "There have been such dramatic improvements over the past three years."
At one point, Marti had to be introduced four times to one of Davies' friends before she could remember him.
Marti said she's never been angry about the crash that claimed her family, a fact she attributes, in part, to her strong faith in God. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I'll be with my family again," she said. "I think about Shawn and Sage every day. I talk to Shawn every day. He'll always be a part of my life."
She saw a counselor last summer to help deal with the confusion and mixed emotions she had about dating again. Since then, she has embraced a new man in her life - one who brings a smile to her face.
"I'm in a great place," she said. "I'm very happy."
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Today is my moms birthday. And I wanted to dedicated this entry to her. At just 16 years old she said "Yes" to an eager return missionary, seeking to have her hand in marriage. A city girl, so young, but ready to begin her married life with so much ahead. She left her home in Arizona and moved to rural Eagle Idaho where there was nothing but farm land for miles. Being married to a farmer was an experience in itself. Life was definitely different than what she was used to. She was judged by many because she was so young. Because of her wonderful mother she was prepared to show all that she could handle the pressures of a young mother and wife out on a farm. She could bake bread, cook, garden, and spend her waking hours caring for a family. Just three months after turning eighteen years old she had Me. A baby girl ready to rock her world. Just thirteen months later she had my sister Melissa. At age nineteen she had two baby girls. How overwhelmed she must have felt having these two babies in a cramped little house on a farm away from nearly all her siblings and parents. She is the kindest and toughest women I know. She later had Derek at twenty-one, Heather at twenty-four, and David at twenty-five. We grew up in a three bedroom double wide trailer house just down the farm road from my Dad's parents. It was a place my mom did not love but defiantly made the best of. We were poor, and never got the finer things in life, but I always remember being completely happy with what we did have. She may not have loved the farm and that little trailer house, but it was a childhood I would never trade. We had more than two-hundred acres of romping ground. Our own personal ditch to swim in, and more forts than a kid could imagine. Bike riding was unlike any experience a kid in the city could have. Our house may have seemed small to my mom, but we didn't know any different. We were always warm in the winter, and cool in the summer. My mom's cooking is out of this world! She could out shine many chefs. Did I mention she could Sew? Yes, it may not sound fun, but we wore home-made clothes for many years. She could do it all. As I have grown older I have learned to appreciate all of her sacrifices. She has always put her family first. I have seen her spend many nights on her knees praying to the Lord for all of her children. I know some of us have been easier than others. I remember my dumb teenage fights with her. I think I yelled at her for almost everything. I remember it hurt her feelings and my Dad would have to step in. She made my prom and homecoming dresses. She let me have many sleepovers and parties. She taught me how to work, and earn the things I wanted. She tolerated so much, especially my messes. After High School Graduation, she attended Dental Assisting School with me. I remember being so annoyed, but lucky at the same time. I was so into friends at the time that if she hadn't been there to remind me of homework and studies that I probably would have quit or flunked. When I prayed about serving a mission she was the first person I told when I got the confirming answer. She was right behind me and even payed for the whole thing. She works so hard. I only hope to become close to the person she is. Selfless, kind, full of love, and so so giving. Mom, You are so beautiful. I am so grateful for all that you have done for me. You are a wonderful Mother, Friend, and Grandma. I love you. You are an amazing Person. I am so glad the Lord sent me to YOU. Happy 48th birthday!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
April 14, 1996
Well, I probably should be going to bed right now, but I wanted to write a little bit first. Yesterday was prom. It was fun. Anyway, I've been thinking about all the guys I've dated, and I've done a guess on what my future husband will look and act like. Ok, he'll be kind of skinny yet he;ll be really strong and "athletically" built. He'll be significantly taller than me, but not too much. He will be "shy" around people he doesn't know to well, but he won't be shy at all. He'll have a seance of humor and a tease, yet he'll be passionate at the same time. He'll enjoy music, and will have to be involved with music in some way weather is playing an instrument, or singing. He'll have to enjoy dancing, and skiing, ect... He will be smart when it comes to fixing things, and he'll be respectful and a hard worker.
Ok, short and kind of indecisive to me. But here is the facts about the man I married. Alex Seth Beal. Raised on a farm (like me). Growing up he was very skinny...not so much now, but I think there is some potential there. I think he is "athletically built". (Although this phrase could encompass many shapes and sizes). Yes, he is taller than me. Almost any guy is taller than me considering my height is 5' 3". Significantly taller..? Not so sure. Alex is 5' 10" I think. Shy around strangers? Not a chance. He is way outgoing. Seance of humor and a tease? He is such a tease I wish he would lay off a bit. Passionate? He's a guy!! Need I say more? When it comes to music, Alex has a story there. You see, I know he likes music, but he was raised by a very musical mom. He sang in everything and also attempted the piano. After hating the piano and quitting he continued singing. After his first year a Rick's College he quit the choir thing because everyone was so nerdy he couldn't stand it anymore. He tends to shush me while I'm singing or humming, so I think he's built up a dislike for "musical things". I've heard him sing and he's quite good. But I don't think he will be exploring this talent much in this life. I think he enjoys dancing, but we haven't been since we were single. I'm pretty sure I am way into it more than him. He loves to Snow Board, Wake board, camp, kayak, ect.. All these things he hit right on the money. Personally I think he is smart when it comes to fixing things, he's just a little reserved in trying. He does fix our cars, so I am really grateful for that. Hard Worker? Absolutely!
So there you have it. My predictions were mostly true, but I think they were a bit general and indecisive.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Last weekend on Friday, Dejah was outside playing with her little friend Austin (4) who lives right across the street from me. This is something that she has been doing lately since the weather has been warmer. I usually always have my eye on them weather they are in the front or in the back. I don't watch like a hawk, but I am always aware of where Dejah is. OK, so just a couple houses down from Austin, is a family of Mexicans. Now I am not racist by any means, but I am very disappointed at how many of these families lack "structure". There are a few children that live there. Two which I know, Richard (6) and his little brother (4). Their mom is single and 21 years old. She works full time and supports all that live in this house. The kids grandmother watches the kids (if you want to call it watching), is pregnant, and doesn't speak English. There are Uncles and others that also live in the house. OK so back to my story. Well sometimes these Mexican boys like to play with Austin, and when he is playing with Dejah sometimes they come around to play also. Well Friday they were all out in the front and I noticed them go to the side of the house. After waiting for a minute for them to emerge to the back I stepped out in front and asked what they were up to. I could only see Austin because Dejah and the other two boys were on the side of the house. Well Austin said to me, "They are going to hump her." In total shock at what I just heard I asked "What!?", and he repeated "they are going to hump her". I asked one more time because I was in absolute shock at what was coming out of this 4 year old's mouth. Once I understood, I yelled to Richard and the other kids to get over here right now. I asked him what was going on and the kids said that they were going in the back to play. I immediately sent all the boys home and had Dejah come inside. I was shaking with nerves and didn't know what to do. After talking with my sister on the phone, I walked over to Austin's house to talk to his mom. I told her what Austin had told me and she said she would help me get to the bottom of it. So after talking to her son and the younger Mexican boy, they told her that Richard pulled his pants down and so did Dejah, and that was it. I sat down with Dejah and looked at her in the face and asked what was going on...no pressure. I confronted her about Richard pulling his pants down and she absolutely DID NOT know what I was talking about. When I changed my wording and told her that Richard was in trouble for pulling his pants down she said very innocently "He did??". When I asked what was going on she said they were going to the back to play. I didn't get any of the same story out of her, and she was completely ovlivious to anything that just happened. I was having a really difficult time explaining to my 3 1/2 year old what was not appropriate. I used simple and factual words and was right to the point, but I don't think she got it. Anyway, Austin's mother informed me that she knows for a fact that Richard has seen pornography in his home. So the question is this, do I report this to child protective services out of concern for all the children, or do I continue the way I am by only allowing her to play with Austin in the back yard where I can see them? I know I've already talked to some of you about this. It is pretty scary for me. I feel like a Mother way out of my element, and not prepared to take on this world. I am trying to be courageous, and step up by taking action, but I don't want to overstep my bounds. I have had extended family members that have had to deal with this stuff directly and for that I am so sorry. I can only imagine the trials they have had. I just want to do whats best for my children, and keep them as safe as I possibly can. So parents, keep an eye on your children. Try to talk to them plainly about the dangers in the world while encouraging them to live life to its fullest. I am comforted in knowing that nothing bad happend to my daughter. I am glad I was there. Be aware. Be involved. This whole experience has opened my eyes.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
It feels like forever since I've been on the blog. I haven't really been in the mood. I've had some interesting and fun things happen this past week. One, Friday I meet up with my sister at the Meridian Winco to go grocery shopping. This is something we do every once and a while to get together. It usually turns out pretty good. Let me tell you, this trip was far from good. Besides the spike in grocery costs, the store was BUSY! I swear we've been there on Fridays before and it has never been like this. It was so annoying because we'd try to go down an isle to look at what we needed and there would always be someone in front of us or someone needing to get by us. I was also very frustrated with the costs going up, I decided to bail out on Winco and head to Costco where I could get more for less. I invited my Sister-in-Law Christy along since I had to drop something by her house. We get to the parking lot and it is "Handicap War"! I found a fairly close parking spot (that was not a handicap spot mind you). I signaled to take the spot and some car pulled up in front of me holding her flashy blue handy cap sign at me. I'm thinking, "are you freaking serious?" Here I have two small children (one which I get to carry) and a pregnant mommy in tow, and this person thinks because they have a handicap sticker they get my spot (which I must remind you is not a designated handicap spot). OK, well I'm a nice person and I go my way to the back of the parking lot where there are many open and available spots to park. As we are walking to the store we pass by the many rows of filled up handicap spots where we see and old lady yelling out her window at another old lady. "Hey, I was waiting for that spot!"......" Well I've been waiting for an HOUR for one of these spots you #!&#% !!" Oh my goodness, we were just dieing! Here you have old people waiting forever for a dumb close spot, to walk through a big store, yet they can't seem to walk a few yards more through a parking lot. OK so that was about the funniest thing this weekend. Saturday Alex and his brothers went golfing, then we all went to the Local Broadway production "Singing in the Rain". This is a whole other story that would take another two paragraphs. Just to keep a long story short, the guys made us late, in which we lost our "reserved seats" (which they give away to open seating 10 minutes before the show starts). Luckily we found a few seats here and there and still got to see the show. Alex and Gabe pretty much died of boredom. Although it was not the best thing I've seen, it was nice to do something different. I couldn't stand the main character! He was awful for me to watch. Sunday we all got together at Alex's Sister's house for a Birthday BBQ for her husband Scott. It was good times and great food! We had a good time and a great weekend!