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The Valley Reporter
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Dear Red Car Driver

By Cindy McIntyre, Black Car Driver

I forgive you for hitting my car in a parking lot and not leaving your information. From the size of the dent and the nice red scratch, I can tell that you made a conscious decision to drive away. I hope that one day you gain the character to take responsibility for your actions. But I need to forgive you for more than just denting my car. Let me explain.

I do not normally share my personal story so openly, but I think in this instance, you deserve to hear it. Two years ago this Saturday, April 5, my younger brother died in my arms after a yearlong battle with cancer. For that year, I dedicated every ounce of energy I had to making him better as his caretaker, friend, confidant and sister. I gave up my own life, my income, my independence and everything I knew to live with my parents so that I could share the responsibilities and they could work and pay our growing bills.

As a team, we fought this disease. We made the sacrifices that it took – holidays in hospitals, forgoing of gifts and vacations. We rejoiced when my brother went into remission after eight months of treatment. He relapsed on my birthday in October a month later. In February, his team of oncologists refused to treat him further and sent him home to hospice. He died at 22 years old a few weeks later.

During that time, my mom told me that she did not know if she would ever be able to feel happiness again. I remember that scared me. Did that mean she would not be able to be happy for me in the milestones I still have ahead? I didn't know. I lost my brother, my only sibling, but was I losing my parents, too?

I am so proud of how far we have come in healing from this terrible tragedy. This past Christmas, my parents surprised me with a beautiful car that they knew I would truly love in the kind of way that you can love material things. They sacrificed needs of their own to give this to me out of love, the real kind. They were so happy to do it, which was very special to see.

The beauty of this gift is that it had nothing to do with the car. It was a symbol. It showed me that we were going to be happy again together. That is why it is so easy to forgive you for the dent. It is harder to forgive you for hurting my parents. You have to understand that this is personal for them because of what this gift represented. We cannot afford to fix the damage that you caused.

Despite this, I do forgive you for everything. I have been blessed with so many things that maybe you haven't, Red Car Driver, that make me strong enough to always take responsibility for my actions. I know it can be difficult sometimes, but leaving my insurance information on a windshield is so minor to me in the grand scheme of things.

Red Car Driver, I hope this has helped you gain perspective and realize what is important.

All my best.

McIntyre lives in Warren.

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