Our Daughter… Our Inspiration

polaroids_MichelleMichelle Lee Sanderbeck was such a beautiful girl inside and out with a flare for athletics. But shopping was surely Michelle’s thing. She loved to shop. She could shop until you dropped. Even though she loved to shop, her true passion was helping others. No matter what; she could turn your worst day into the best day of your life. She loved to make others laugh… “She had a knack for that!”. She was just good with people of all ages. She was a loving caring girl, with a beautiful smile. “Oh what a smile”… “It would light up any room.” “She was amazing girl”… “She was breath-taking”!
Sadly on March 4th, 2006 our little Michelle Lee Sanderbeck lost her life in senseless auto accident. This tragedy wasn’t her fault. She thought she was only taking a short ride to get some ice cream. But little did she know, that she would never return home safely. She was a passenger of five, in a car driven by a sixteen year old driver; Police said the car skidded and flipped when the driver apparently lost control. The car landed on its roof and was stopped by a wall of stone blocks, which shattered its rear window. Michelle, riding in the back seat, was the only fatality. This tragedy wasn’t her fault, but auto accidents don’t care what kind of people they claim… men or women, rich or poor, adults or kids… They just claim lives… “Our Precious Lives”.

That evening we were on our way home from a neighbor. When we received a call from our oldest daughter Jacki… She said that the hospital called and said that Michelle was in an accident and wouldn’t give her any details. We immediately headed for the hospital. As soon as we ran in we could feel something was wrong… No one would give us any information… We were taken to a room were we were asked to wait… We knew somehow it wasn’t good… I remember pleading with the nurse that we needed to see Michelle immediately. “We couldn’t control our emotions”… “So many thoughts were racing through our heads”… “Everything was so cardiac”… Soon after a doctor entered the room we were waiting in, “it seemed like a lifetime”… The doctor proceeded to tell us that there was an auto accident and that a child was killed that hasn’t been identified yet. Shortly after he lead us through the emergency room to another room. Room number 10. I remember praying to God, “Please don’t let it be Michelle laying there, at first I thought she was just a sleep”… “She looked like she was just resting; but in the background I heard the doctor say that she was pronounced dead on arrival… My wife ran to Michelle’s side and kissed her lips… I remember her saying that she felt so cold… “It’s a nightmare that we will never wake from.”

On Monday, many of Michelle’s Medina High School classmates were first learning of her death. Students planned a memorial at the crash site. By the afternoon, Mylar balloons were floating above bouquets of pink roses and red carnations placed on the stone wall. A green stuffed bear sat above a handmade poster bearing a picture of Michelle. The picture was surrounded by written messages of remembrance. Groups of Michelle’s classmates gathered around, some crying, and many standing with their hands stuffed in their pockets, buffering themselves against the cold wind and snow flurries. No one talked above a whisper.

Michelle was our Leading Star. We will remember her love and her touch. She will be in our hearts and minds forever! But she would still be with us in body and spirit if youth driving was made safer. Please join with us to support our cause to making the roads safer for teens and others. Drive Safe and hold your kids tight!