I just watched this documentary about a tragic incident that had been on the edge of my awareness. I was traveling when the accident occurred saw it on a monitor with news while waiting at an airport gate. I like so many thought ‘oh so horrible’ and went on with my life. You know tragedy like that changes lives but we never really see how. Then I watched this.
By the end of it I wanted to grab her husband and scream in his face. “FACE REALITY! Your stubborn sticking to your denial is only hurting everyone.” He can’t accept that his wife who would keep secrets from him. Yet he willing admits he didn’t know about her doctor appointments that she’d had dental pain, severe enough to go to the dentist multiple times. He accepts she kept her health from him but can’t accept she kept her drinking and drug use? As the documentary goes on you see him being his wife’s ‘oldest’ child as his mother freely admitted. He is a stead set child who believe he can will reality to be his way. And now a man who wanted no children is left raising a scarred and scared little boy. Thank goodness they convinced him to get the boy therapeutic counseling in addition to treating the boys physical issues.
The movie starts out answering what happened but as we get into it the viewer begins to see the exact what doesn’t really matter. What matters is how the survivors of the incident deal with what happened. From the husband who lost his wife and daughter to the family that lost their three girls, to the people struck by the van that lost their sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers, to the men who pulled the dead children from the van, to sister-in-law that has to be mother to the boy and the child-man, to the private investigator who tried to the family what they didn’t want to hear, to the lawyer for whom this is just another tragic case, to her friends that saw something was wrong long ago. All are still hurting from the crash, all have to come to terms with what facts are known their own way. Some are doing better than others.
In the scene where the sister-in-law learns the retests agreed with the autopsy tests – Diane was intoxicated on alcohol and THC from pot when the accident happened. Why, honestly no one will ever know how a 40 minute trip because a 4 hour one that ended in this. However the facts remain and this doesn’t make Diane a bad person, it makes her a human who was hurt and struggling. Unfortunately her reluctance to deal with her pain – physical and/or mental caused events that led to massive amount of pain for others. The sad part is no one learns from this and all hurt.
I was left in the documentary wondering when do we look away from these problems we see our friends having. How do we know when to intervene and when to not? The answer is we don’t. Hindsight is 20/20. The best answer I can come up with is don’t feed denial. When someone says they are alright and it’s obvious they aren’t gently say so. Give your loved ones the chance to be human, fallible, weak, unable to do it all. It seems everyone looked to Aunt Diane to do it all and she did all she could to not let them down. Maybe if somewhere along the line if someone let her be human and she could let go herself. Well, then that’s another issue, could she stop being Ms. Do it all? If not there’s another issue.
In the end when you need help don’t be afraid to admit it. We all need it. I’m sure she knew her own pains and never meant for them to be the death of her daughter and nieces and three strangers. Sadly, we are left with the fact they were and each person touched by the events has to do their own mental gymnastics to make that livable – and in the end that’s what this documentary became about.