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