“When I shot this photo, I was thrilled. I was 21 years old, married, and the mother of a beautiful baby.”

On September 20, Destiny Klimaszewski, a mother from Missouri, was enjoying an usual Saturday evening.

She was traveling by car to see a friend with her husband, Corey Mantia. Parker, their 1-year-old son, was buckled into a car seat behind them.

“Good Morning America” quoted Klimaszewski as saying, “That day itself was like any other.” “My hubby got out of bed and headed to work. I had the opportunity to play with our youngster at home. I put on his Halloween costume that morning because we had purchased it the previous evening.

Then I snapped what would be my last photos of my adorable baby.

On July 30, 2011, Klimaszewski and Corey were married. The two had first connected at a football game when they were teens and were high school sweethearts.

Klimaszewski described Corey as saying, “He simply enjoyed everything about me. I was the light of his eye.” He taught me what love was and always placed me first.

Parker was the center of his universe, she claimed. He still wanted to come home and play with him, regardless of how long a day he had worked.

On June 23, 2013, Klimaszewski and Corey welcomed their son. Parker was described by Klimaszewski as a joyful infant who enjoyed swimming, Mickey Mouse, and drawing.

She remembered, “He was obviously a mother and daddy’s kid. He didn’t want anybody but us.” “He just seemed so sophisticated. He accomplished milestones much earlier than other infants his age.

I had the impression that the universe was letting me go through all the experiences I otherwise wouldn’t have had.

“Everything had changed on that day.”

A driver struck the driver’s side of Klimaszewski and Corey’s silver minivan the night of their trip.

In its traffic crash records, the Missouri State Highway Patrol indicated that the other driver’s use of alcohol contributed to the Sept. 20 accident involving Klimaszewski’s family.

Parker the baby passed away there, but Corey, who had fought for his life for almost 24 hours, passed away less than a day later.

The woman who hit them also perished in the collision, leaving Klimaszewski as the only survivor.

As a result of non-life-threatening injuries, Klimaszewski was hospitalized.

She is fortunate, according to Klimaszewski, in that she has no memory of the collision.

All of those memories were essentially erased by the experience, she continued. “I am aware that my mother had to give me a lot of medication because I kept wondering where my baby was. I had a hard time believing he was gone.

I lost everything for which I had lived.

After the incident, Klimaszewski was released two weeks later. She moved into her parents’ house after leaving the house she lived with Corey and Parker.

“I felt so disoriented and threatened. Everything I had ever worked for was gone, and I had no idea what to do,” she stated. There was no “little wake-up call” from my hubby or “What’s for supper?” from him.

“I felt as though I had no reason to breathe or stand up anymore.”

Klimaszewski sought out the help of her loved ones and friends.

She met Brett Klimaszewski a month after the accident, and they got married. At a gathering hosted at Klimaszewski’s brother’s home, the two were first introduced to one another.

Initially just friends, the couple later got hitched on May 20, 2017.

Klimaszewski stated, “I always say that my late husband had a hand in this and sent him to me. “Brett helped me survive. He truly was my rock. He served as my haven. I debated whether or not to be in a relationship at times, but he just wouldn’t leave.

The Klimaszewski family welcomed Cohen, now 2 years old, on February 6, 2018.

Cohen, like Parker, is happiest when he is with his parents, according to Klimaszewski.

She admitted, “I was genuinely terrified to become a mom again.” I feared that if my feelings returned, I wouldn’t be the kind of mother I could be.

“Where Parker was a spitting likeness of me, he is a spitting picture of Brett. Cohen is a mama’s boy who is also incredibly independent.

What I most miss is…

Klimaszewski lost the two persons that meant the most to her when she was just 21 years old.

She claimed that she misses her youth and occasionally worries that she is losing her memories of Corey and Parker.

“Five years have passed, and I’m beginning to lose sight of the details that really mattered, like their laugh and fragrance. Now, it nearly seems like a different planet. It still triggers me too strongly for me to see videos or hear their voices.

Klimaszewski used to be quite angry with the driver who caused the collision, but he has since grown to be compassionate.

She replied, “If I sit and stay upset… I’m letting her take something more from me. I have to think about her family and they have to live without someone they love, too. Knowing that my time here is only passing and that, through my faith, I will spend all of eternity with them is what really helps.

“It’s crucial to me to honor their memories and realize the goals we once shared,” the speaker said.

In the names of Corey and Parker, making a difference

Since Corey and Parker passed away, Klimaszewski has carried out random acts of kindness and organized toy and backpack drives for underprivileged kids as a way to pay tribute to them.

On the section of road where the accident happened, Corey and Parker’s street sign was unveiled three years ago, warning others to never drink and drive.

Additionally, Klimaszewski founded a Modern Widows Club chapter in the area.

I want to demonstrate to others that happiness is achievable without forgetting,” stated Klimaszewski.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has revealed statistics showing that 10,511 individuals died as a result of drunk driving in 2018.

Klimaszewski volunteered to share her story and spread awareness because December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, when getting behind the wheel while intoxicated may be more common during the holiday season.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) national president Helen Witty got involved with the group 19 years ago after her daughter, Helen Marie, was killed by a juvenile who was driving while intoxicated and high on marijuana.

Helen Marie passed away when she was 16 years old. When the driver struck her, she was rollerblading.

Witty said on “Good Morning America” that when her husband went looking for her when she didn’t return home.

She had to be recognized by him there. That completely altered everything and shattered our lives. I genuinely wanted to pass away, but [MADD] offered me hope. The bad news was that I was going to live, but I didn’t want to continue to experience this suffering.

She said, “They showed me I could live.” “I could help people and I could heal.”

Witty now devotes her life to remembering Helen Marie by educating the public about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Before you get behind the wheel, consider the following Witty and Klimaszewski advice, takeaways, and reminders:

1) Are you drinking? Next, make a plan.

Klimaszewski has opposed drunk driving ever since Corey and Parker died.

She and her husband Brett talk about who will drive today before they have a drink. Even if it’s “just” one drink, she noted, anyone who is drinking shouldn’t operate a vehicle.

Witty explains, “It’s easy. “Don’t drive after drinking. Don’t drink and drive.

2) Use ride-sharing services; the alternative is worse, therefore use them.

There are many accessible resources, including Uber, Lyft, taxis, and more.

Witty reminds us to compare the expense of a cab or ride-share to the minimum $10,000 in penalties, jail or prison time, plus the risk to our own and others’ lives.

Nobody gets into a car and accidentally switches it on, Witty added. “Chance is what separates a DUI from a DUI fatality. There is one second.

She continued, “The family of the person you killed will not view it as an accident.”

3) Even if you don’t drive after drinking, you might be able to prevent someone else from doing so.

Klimaszewski advises speaking up for friends and family members who might be unable to drive.

Take their keys away, she advises, or “pay for the cab, offer to drive them home.” Take note of their license plate number and call the police if you can’t be that voice of reason.

Understand that alcohol makes you impaired even after only one drink, says Witty.

Witty continued, “Destiny will tell you it’s terrible and pointless death.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can assist you in finding a treatment facility if you’re battling with addiction. Their 24-hour, free, and confidential helpline is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).


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