Teen Memoriam Stories

Holland Rodriguez

Receiving that phone call that no mother ever wants to hear will always be burned into my memory.

June 4, 2021 — Receiving that phone call that no mother ever wants to hear will always be burned into my memory. A trauma unit doctor called to notify me that my 17-year-old Holland had been in a car crash. Our family lives in Texas; and Holland had traveled to Utah to visit her brother, my older son. She had just graduated high school. She was enjoying her time there and decided she wanted to look into moving to Utah to go to college. She had worked on her first two years of college while attending high school and was just two classes shy of her associate degree, which she was already registered to complete during the summer of 2021. 

She was getting ready for a job interview and needed to print her resume. This required going from my son’s girlfriend’s house, where she was staying, to my son’s apartment to print it out. My son came to give her a ride and then they planned to go to her interview. It was just a quick trip — they decided to take his motorcycle instead of his car — no helmets. 

As they were just around the corner from his apartment, a woman unexpectedly pulled out from a side street and blocked the oncoming traffic lane. My son swerved to miss her car, but he had to go in front of her to avoid crashing into the vehicle. The woman was not watching and then pulled forward to go into the far lane. His motorcycle was almost clear of her vehicle when she stepped on the gas. Both of my kids were thrown from the bike. He flew about 25 feet and Holland flew about 35 feet. 

Miraculously, my son had an injured knee and was shaken, but otherwise, he was ok. Holland had landed on her head and was not conscious, but she was throwing up and seizing on the ground. Everything she had in her backpack was crushed. My son crawled to her yelling for her to stay with him and not give up as the emergency services were arriving. The woman driver got out of her vehicle, still eating her cookie. She had been eating her lunch in the car. She was clearly distracted while driving and our family will never be the same as a result.

Some might think that a helmet would make the difference, and it might have changed the length of time in the hospital, it might have changed the location of her injuries, but the type of injury she had and the severity of it would have been life-altering, no matter what. I have always told my kids to wear a helmet, it was just one of those split-second decisions that one time, the times we all think it will be okay — just this once.

The distracted driver of the automobile that hit my kids on the motorcycle is the cause of the accident. Holland made it to the hospital and was placed in intensive care. She had surgery the next day, but she never came to again. She slowly showed less and less chance of consciousness. She would never play the guitar or piano again, she would never write another song. She would never lift weights or work out again, never go on a run, and never talk. We were told that the damage was so extensive that even if she regained consciousness, she likely would not be able to understand language. 

My husband and I flew to Utah the day of the accident and were by her side. Holland is one of our 10 children and we were able to fly all of our kids up to Utah to be with her during the last days that she was with us. I kept a blog while she was in the hospital, partly to be able to update so many who loved her so far away and to reduce the load on my kids who were constantly being asked for updates; www.hollandsmiracles.blog. 

We hoped so much for a miracle of healing for our daughter, but it was not to be in this life. Together we made the decision to end her life support, knowing that she would not want to live under those conditions. It was so hard then and it continues to be so hard now, we miss her terribly — we still cry every day, but she was healed from all pain on June 15, 2021. She would have been 18 that following September.

 We all remember the things she would say or the things she would have liked and I am grateful for so many good memories. Sadly, we won’t be able to make any more memories with her here. I spoke to Holland about an hour before the accident. My last words to her were, “I love you and you are in our prayers.” I am so grateful that she knew we loved her, and we always will.

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