Category Archives: Personal

Peurto Rico brought me back to life.  It will have a piece of my heart forever.

Photography by Autumn Walker…perks of traveling with a pro ūüôā

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The story of how my oldest daughter was named is truly one of a kind.  She was named after this especially heartwrenching commercial I saw while in labor with her.

Four years ago, I wanted to show Abby the commercial. ¬†I tried YouTube and a bunch of other sites, but got nothing. ¬†The only thing I knew was the name, Abby Danielle, and that she was an unborn child killed on the way to the hospital by a drunk driver. ¬†I entered in the key words ‘Abby Danielle’, ‘ultrasound’, ‘drunk driver’, and ‘commercial’, and after searching for about an hour I came across only a couple of relevant sites. ¬†One was a poem written by Rachel Reed, the mother of Abby, although I didn’t know it at the time. ¬†It contained an email address. ¬†On September 16, 2011, I sent an email to the address listed. ¬†Below is my initial email along with a response from Helene, Rachel’s mother and Abby’s grandmother:

Hi Rachel,
My name is Angela Garmendia and nearly 13 years ago I was in labor with my first child, a girl. ¬†We had planned on naming her Ariadne Lynn. ¬†While in the hospital, I saw a commercial with an ultrasound of a baby that was killed by a drunk driver on the way to the hospital. ¬†I broke down and insisted that our daughter be named Abby Danielle in memory of the baby girl who wasn’t able to live. Our Abby is smart, beautiful, kind and a wonderful daughter. ¬†I have never been able to get that commercial out of my mind, and wish that I could show it to her. ¬†Would you happen to know any information on where that commercial might be? ¬†I have combed the web trying to find any information on it. ¬†Any help would be so appreciated. I think of sweet Abby Danielle often, especially when my Abby’s birthday rolls around. ¬†I hope that I have not offended anyone by writing…I truly wanted someone to know that Abby Danielle Reed is remembered by a family that is proud to have a daughter bear her name. ¬†I look forward to hearing from you…
Sincerely,
Angela Garmendia
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Dearest Angela,
I am sorry I’ve taken so long to get back to you.¬† I am actually Rachel’s mother.¬† My name is Helene and I would like you to know how touched our family is by your decision to name your daughter after Abby. ¬†You are so sweet and kind.¬† I am so grateful you found our family.¬† I will be going tomorrow to present Abby’s story at an alternative school where my daughter teaches.¬† It is Red Ribbon Week (Drug Free) here in our schools districts. It is very hard for me to tell Abby’s story and show her presentation, but somehow you contacting me at this time has given me the strength I need.¬† Our family believes everything happens for a reason.¬† One day I will tell you the entire story and all of the things that came into being that made me realize I was chosen to help¬†Abby fulfill her purpose on Earth even though she didn’t take her first breath. ¬†Rachel and Robby are married since 1999.¬†They have a son and a daughter.¬† You will meet them in the powerpoint I am sending.¬† A friend transferred the ad from the¬†VHS to a CD.¬† The quality is not the best.¬† It is a little jumpy in the beginning.¬† I think it plays three times consecutively.¬† I wish it would have came out better, but perhaps the tape has lost it’s quality due to age.¬† I hope your Abby can see it clearly enough.¬† I will try to get them into the mail tomorrow.¬† I have most of the day to myself after I am finished Abby’s presentation in the morning.¬† Kiss your sweet angels before they go to sleep.¬† Always remember how precious life is and how blessed we all are.¬† Hope to hear from you soon.
Love
Helene
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Helene and I exchanged more emails and became friends on Facebook. ¬†A couple of years ago she she started a foundation name¬†Abby’s Ark¬†that educates young people in their community about the devastating effects of drunk driving. ¬†She shares Abby’s story with others.

October 23rd marked the beginning of RED RIBBON WEEK. ¬†With all of my heart and soul I want all of you to remember the consequences of driving while intoxicated. ¬†Please, please do not allow, facilitate or encourage your teenagers to drink. ¬†For those that do drink, please take action and designate a driver, give your keys to someone else at the beginning of the night and don’t put your self in a situation where you could be the cause of such a tragedy.

I cannot image going through something like this…I am amazed that after thirteen years I was able to contact this family. ¬†I have never again seen the commercial on T.V., but I can remember ¬†exactly¬†where I was in the delivery room when it came on and how devastated I was when I saw it. ¬†It really was an instantaneous decision to name her Abby…it was not a name that had ever come up in our discussions. ¬†After delivery, when I was somewhat coherent again, I felt almost sheepish for being so insistent that we name her Abby, but I have never regretted it. ¬†I am thankful that for whatever reason all of this came about, it has given some measure of peace to Abby’s family to know her story has touched our lives forever.

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Abby 
By Rachel Reed 
(Contact:********@aol.com)

In loving memory of Abby Danielle Reed
Killed September 8th, 1996 while on her way to being born
I’m on my way into the world,
Mommy and Daddy’s little girl.
Grandma’s in the car ahead.
My Aunt is close behind.
There is no need to hurry though.
We still have lots of time.

Oh no, what’s this? It cannot be!
A man driving drunk
Heading straight for me.
I hear the crash, I feel the pain.
Now someone’s screaming Mommy’s name.
It hurts so much, so very much.
It’s more than I can bear.
Oh Mommy and Daddy he’s killing me,
Too drunk to even care.
Why would this man choose
To drink and then to drive?
Now I hear the doctor saying
There’s little chance that I’ll survive.
“Oh God please let my baby live,”
I hear my Mommy pray.
But the Angels have already gathered
To carry me away.
They say I must go, they say it is time.
With my life I will pay for this man’s crime.
There is nothing I can do.
I know I am going to die.
Can you hear me Mommy and Daddy?
I’m trying to say Good-Bye.
You’ll never hear my laughter,
Or watch me run and play.
All your hopes and all your dreams
Have died with me today.
I’ll miss you both, I love you so.
Jesus calls, it’s time to go.
Heaven’s gates have opened wide.
Now the Angels carry me inside.
As they place me in my Savior’s arms,
I make a final plea.
To anyone who drinks and drives,
Please STOP! And think of me.

I’d be hard pressed to find two sisters as close as these two. ¬†For a few weeks out of the year they are the same age. ¬†So I currently have two 16 year olds in the house which kind of wiggs me out a bit. ¬†And one of their favorite things to do is dress up, so we decided to rent a couple of dresses and have a photo shoot. ¬†What is more fun than that?!

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Isn’t my Dad’s mustache freakin’ awesome?! ¬†I LOVE my dad. ¬†He is the HARDEST working man I know. ¬†He taught me the values of being dependable, of serving, of being kind to others, of helping those in need, of putting others first. ¬†Things I remember about him:

He used to spin us on the rust colored floral swivel chair that matched our couches.  We thought we were spinning into space.

He used to play ‘steamroller’ with us kids…we all lay on the floor in a row and Dad ‘rolled’ over us to flatten us out. ¬†Yeah…we loved it!

I remember him always saying Super Mergatroyd. ¬†I don’t know why. ¬†The funny part was he twisted the front two pieces of his hair to look like antenna while he said it.

Whenever I hear the song ‘Hang On Sloopy’, I picture my Dad singing it.

I bought Twinkies yesterday.  They always remind me of my Dad.

I remember a trip my Dad and I took by ourselves.  I have no idea where we went, I just remember that I got to skip school to go with him.  I was supposed to make sure that he stayed awake while he drove.

When I was 7 or 8 years old my Dad took me to BYU to visit King Tut who was on display.  He bought me a folder that had a raised BYU logo.  I took that folder to school and was immediately cool.

My Dad was always a great example to me in his Church service.  He took his responsibilities seriously.

My dad always gave us a Father’s Blessing before the beginning of the school year.

When I was first married, my Dad (and Mom!) made a lot of financial sacrifices for our struggling family.  I think of the overtime he must have worked so that they could help us out.

I am so grateful for him. ¬†I can’t think of a man I would rather have as an example of the kind of father and husband you should be. ¬†I LOVE you Dad!

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Things I remember about my mom growing up:

She gave me the opportunity to try lots of different things: tap, ballet, clogging, soccer, dance…

When I was a teenager she came and rubbed my tummy when I wasn’t feeling good one night.

She was always sitting in the front room when I got home from high school so I would get to sit and talk to her about my day.

As a teenager I remember seeing her read her scriptures a lot.

She hardly ever yelled, and if she did, we deserved it!

She taught me how to gain my own testimony about things.

She loved to go garage sale shopping.

I remember her using fruit scented markers to make family home evening lessons but I was not allowed to touch them. I would sneak into them anyway and take off the caps to smell how good they were.

She sewed my outfit for the first dance I ever went to.  It was an olive green and black polka dot skirt set.

During Christmas she would make the best English Toffee.

She is a great example of service. ¬†There are not many times I can think of where she wan’t serving someone in her life.

She is funny which I didn’t figure out until I was older.

We were never allowed to put sugar on our cereal…back when cereal didn’t have sugar already on it.

She was good at making home.  Our house may not have been filled with expensive things, but it was always decorated.

She suffered through a headache nearly everyday she was pregnant with me.

She is a great example of sacrifice and resilience and that our circumstances don’t have to dictate what our lives will become.

LOVE YOU MOM!!!

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