| I was a freshman in college when I met the Whites. They were completely different from my own family, yet I felt at home with them immediately. Jane White and I became friends at school, and her family welcomed me like a long-lost cousin.|
In my family, it was always important to place blame when anything bad happeneD、
"Who did this " my mother would scream about a dirty kitchen.
"This is all your fault, Katharine," my father would insist when the cat got out or the dishwasher broke.
From the time we were little, my sister, brothers and I told on each other. We set a place for blame at the dinner table.
But the Whites didn’t worry about who had done what. They picked up the pieces and moved on with their lives. The beauty of this was driven home to me the summer Jane dieD、
In July, the White sisters and I decided to take a car trip from their home in Florida to New York. The two older sisters, Sarah and Jane, were college students, and the youngest,Amy, had recently turned sixteen. Proud of having a new driver’s license,Amy was excited about practicing her driving on the trip. She showed off her license to everyone she met.
The big sisters shared the driving of Sarah’s new car during the first part of the trip, but when they reached less crowded areas, they letAmy take over. Somewhere in SouthCarolina, we pulled off the highway to eat.After lunch,Amy got behind the wheel. She came to a crossroads with a stop sign. Whether she was nervous or just didn’t see the sign no one would ever know, butAmy continued into the crossroads without stopping. The driver of a large truck, unable to stop in time, ran into our car.
Jane was killed immediately.
I was slightly injureD、The most difficult thing that I’ve ever done was to call the Whites to tell them about the accident and that Jane had dieD、Painful as it was for me to lose a good friend, I knew that it was far worse for them to lose a chilD、
When Mr. and Mrs. White arrived at the hospital, they found their two daughters sharing a room. Sarah had a few cuts on the head;Amy’s leg was broken. They hugged us all and cried tears of sadness and of joy at seeing their daughters. They wiped away the girls’ tears and made a few jokes atAmy as she learned to use her crutches.
To both of their daughters, and especially toAmy, over and over they simply said, "We’re so glad that you’re alive."
I was astonisheD、No blame. No accusations.
Later, I asked the Whites why they never talked about the fact thatAmy was driving and had run a stop sign.
Mrs. White said, "Jane’s gone, and we miss her terribly. Nothing we say or do will ever bring her back.ButAmy has her whole life ahead of her. How can she lead a full and happy life if she feels we blame her for her sister’s death "
They were right.Amy graduated from the University ofCalifornia and got married several years ago. She works as a teacher of learning-disabled students. She’s also a mother of two little girls of her own, the elder one named Jane.