Mom Writes Goodbye Letters to Kids as She Prepares to Die in Blizzard

blizzardOMG! This kills me. Priscilla Arena, a 41-year-old married mom of two from Long Island, New York, got stuck in blinding snow as she tried to drive home from work through the blizzard last Friday afternoon. Stranded for over 12 hours, Priscilla eventually got so scared and desperate she found a piece of paper and wrote what she thought would be her last letters to her children and husband. 

If you are reading this, that means that mommy’s physical body is gone, but my heart and soul will always be with you. I will be there when you get braces, when you have your first kiss, your prom, when you graduate high school and college ...

As the snow piled up around her and she gave up hope of ever making it home, Arena wrote to her 9-year-old daughter, Sophia, and told her she was "picture-perfect beautiful."

And she gave some advice to her little boy, John, 5:

Remember all the things that mommy taught you. Never say you hate someone you love. Take pride in the things you do, especially your family. ... Don't get angry at the small things; it's a waste of precious time and energy. Realize that all people are different, but most people are good.

And finally she told him, "My love will never die -- remember, always."

Augh! How terrifying. I grew up in California, and even though I’ve lived on the East Coast for over 10 years, I’m still scared of driving in the snow. Before this blizzard, I read warnings in New Jersey urging people to avoid driving after lunchtime, and I had the luxury of being able to listen, since I work from home and my daughter’s school closed early. New York State officials likewise warned people to avoid “p.m.” driving, but Arena wasn’t able to leave work until 4 p.m., and by then the snow was already pretty bad. I don’t know WHY she couldn’t leave work earlier -- I sure hope it wasn’t because her boss wouldn’t let her. Arena must have known it was risky to get in the car, but since the roads weren’t closed, she probably thought it was safe enough to drive.

You might think this seems a little melodramatic, but I know from experience how fast driving conditions can suddenly get really bad and really scary, and Arena just got stuck, getting buried under snow as night fell. I would have been beside myself after the first few hours, all alone in the dark, with a blizzard raging around me. It must have been one of those moments when it seems like the unthinkable is actually possible -- that you might be one of those horrible statistics, one of those sad stories. When we first heard about “Nemo” last week, it was supposed to last into Saturday afternoon, so Arena would have had no idea how long it would take for her to get rescued, or how long she could survive, or if she’d ever get to see her family again. It seems like eventually her fears got the best of her and she found those pieces of paper.

Thank goodness her story has a happy ending: Arena was finally rescued by a State Trooper and brought to a local town hall. How incredibly relieved and grateful she must have been to see her family and know she could put those letters away.

Have you ever been in a situation where you really feared you might never see your family again?


Image via Marcin Wichary/Flickr

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Jennifer Kinghorn

A few months ago when we got our first "big" LOL snow of the season in CT about 8 inches, I got stranded for 3 hours when I went off the road on the way home from work. I was terrified. It was cold. My car was low on gas and I was afraid that I would freeze to death only 10 miles from my house. SO yeah, I am betting this lady was scared to death. I feel so bad for her, im so glad she made it home.

Heather Knetzger

I too was stuck in a blizzard. My car came to a stop about 5 miles from home and I had to get out and walk. It was brutally cold, the wind was blowing the snow so hard I could barely breath and the snow was clear up to my thighs. Another family also were stuck and I had them come with me and we walked those longest 5 miles of my life. They stayed the night at our house and were helped out the next day by farmers with thier tractors. I felt like giving up so many times on the way and if it weren't for the family with me, I just may have!

sukainah sukainah

Wow, those are really scary stories, including from the ladies above ^^^^

Karma... KarmaGrant

The fact that the media is now aware of this just puts this in a different light to me. I would understand if she died and then her husband released the notes but she's alive...she released them? Why?!

obses... obsessed870

You're just trying to judge people. She was probably freezing and terrified when help came, they very well could have found the note themselves when they took her and her car, and things could have happened so fast that she didn't have time to say "oh no don't show ANYONE how sweet and heartbreaking my letter was because I don't want the stiff necked people like (you) to turn me into a bad person for it" She didn't die. She should be happy of her letter. Stay off this website if 50 percent or more of your responses are making people sound bad.

nonmember avatar Military Mommy

It IS strange that she released them herself after being rescued. Maybe someone needs a little more attention? I've written letters "just in case" to my sons to tuck in with the paperwork for my dependent care plan. In the military, you never know when you're going to have to get up and go at a moment's notice, so the letters were left in the care of my brother along with the itemized location of every document he would ever need in the event of my demise. Planning ahead like that is morbid and each word I wrote brought new tears to my eyes, but it was something that had to be done. I was a single mom in the military and there was never any guarantee that once you go that you will come back. I hated the idea of my boys growing up without their mommy, but at least the letters would have let them know my final thoughts and wishes for them if I wasn't able to voice them myself.

nonmember avatar Cy

She didn't "release" them. There was a reporter covering the story of the stranded motorists at the town hall. She is pictured there, obviously still upset by her ordeal. And she wrote them for the exact same reason you did!

nonmember avatar HB

Nice opening line, derp.

Karma... KarmaGrant

@Obsessed, thanks for your allowing me to stay since unknown to you I do in fact meet your 50% requirement since I am not here or anywhere to make anyone feel bad. Also, asking why these were released is NOT about wanting to make anyone feel bad, though that's what YOU are attempting with your comment directed to me. Too bad you failed. I can't even say nice try.

Karma... KarmaGrant

@MM - thank you for your service. I do understand writing them. I just don't understand them being released to the media.

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