As sit here writing this post, my eyes fill with tears and my heart fills with equal parts of sorrow and anger. For the record, I have never met Jaclyn, her family or Carly Rousso. I am angry that sweet, precious, 5 year old Jaclyn will never get to blow out another birthday candle. I am angry that she will be forever frozen in her family's hearts as a child. I am angry that Jaclyn's mother will never get the chance to go shopping for prom dresses with her daughter, or that her brothers and father will never get a chance to tell her boyfriend to treat her right. I am also angry that her killer decided to selfishly get behind the wheel while under the influence of a substance that left her unable to drive. Whether or not Miss Rousso goes to jail, the fact remains that unlike Jaclyn, Miss Rousso will get the opportunity to blow out many more birthday candles and perhaps get married one day.
I feel sorrow for we will never know what lay ahead for little Jaclyn. Chances are her family moved to Highland Park to afford Jaclyn the chance at a better life in the safety of north shore suburbia. Who knows what could have become of this child? She could have been a doctor, lawyer, or teacher. I bet at her tender age she was more interested in becoming a ballerina, a singer, or a movie star. Her darling face has haunted me for the past few days. I can't help but think that G-d forbid, it could have been one of my own children laying on that street that fateful day.
What is it with teenagers and young adults in Highland Park and Deerfield feeling like they are invincible and acting as such? How many times will I have to read in the paper that so-and-so killed people while driving under the influence? Is it due to youthful arrogance, selfishness, bad parenting? I don't know if we will ever find out the answer. I just hope that Jaclyn's life will teach these young people a sobering lesson on personal responsibility and healing the world instead of robbing it of children.
I feel grateful. I feel grateful for the members of the Highland Park community such as Jessica Millen who quickly acted and set up a fundraiser so that Jaclyn can be buried with dignity. I feel grateful for the 17 year old Deerfield High School student who put himself between Miss Rousso's car and Jaclyn's family when he saw that the car was about to roll over the family again after being struck the first time. I feel grateful for Robert Merz who ran to the scene and attempted chest compressions.
Most of all I am grateful for Jaclyn who was taken from us too soon. I am forever indebted to her for reminding me that life is a precious gift meant to be cherished and shared with those you love the most. Thank you Jaclyn. I will remember you every time my children blow out their birthday candles, everytime they ask to snuggle with me, and everytime I send them off to school in the morning. Gracias preciosa niña. Que Di-s te bendiga siempre.