January 30 ~† Road Through Grief Way of Transition

"The road through grief is a rocky one. Traveling along it requires courage, patience, wisdom, and hope." ~ Candy Lightner, Daily Republic

Personal tragedy CAN yield growth and rejuvenation...

In 1980, Sacramento realtor Candy Lightner formed Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), when her 13 year-old daughter Cari was killed walking down a quiet street by a drunk driver who escaped with just a slap on the wrist.

"I promised myself on the day of Cariís death that I would fight to make this needless homicide count for something positive in the years ahead," she wrote in a 1990 memoir.

Propelled by grief and anger, Lightner, with the organization MADD, found a way to reform drunk driving laws. What started as a grassroots operation blossomed into Chapters in all 50 states. MADD helps victims, monitors the courts, and works to pass stronger anti-drunk driving legislation.

"The price of life is loss... Losses shape our lives," Lightner reflected and proved that with loss comes the chance for positive change. By 2008, MADD had helped save over 383,000 lives; alcohol-related traffic deaths decreased nearly 50 percent, from over 30,000 to under 15,500.

"We've made strides in reducing alcohol-impaired driving in the U.S. since the 1980s, but it's still a major problem," said researcher Elisa Braver. "We're trying to understand more about alcohol-related crashes and also what are the most effective ways of preventing these crashes."

With understanding, comes prevention, change, and remembrance. As Danish writer Isak Dinesen explained, "All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them."

Honor grief with creative action.