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Life can change in an instant...
July 11th, 2010 was a perfect day, Danielle, her sisters; Taylor & Rachel and I (mom, Lynell) cantered the 8:30 mass at Blessed Sacrament. Jeff (Danielle's Dad) was in the choir loft with us, and Danielle went to the front of the church, I remember my pride as she gracefully approached the alter, and my worry, there had been a mistake in the assigning of the responsorial psalm and Alleluia we had been practicing, and we came into church a half an hour early to learn a new one at the last minute. I remember praying Danielle would do well. The music started, Danielle took a confident breath and sang beautifully, there was a bobble in the organ music, but she continued without error. I wanted to cheer and clap, but refrained, but anyone who turned around would have been blinded by my smile. Next I sang the Alleluia, and the girls and I all silently high-fived one another and hugged, we had gotten through the most difficult parts. We were using our God given talents to worship Him in His house, for His followers, it felt good! We got home and started to prepare a meal, Fr. Hoelfer and Jeff's sister, her husband, and children would be joining us for chicken on the grill. Everyone arrived and we enjoyed a wonderful meal, at the end of the meal Danielle, cousin Riley, and sisters - Taylor and Rachel gathered around the piano and sang a song for Fr. Hoefler that they had written themselves, "What do you see?". Each girl had written a verse telling us what they see when asked, where is your home? It was wonderful. Again tearful pride and smiles burst from me. These girls are truly exceptional. We as parents are doing a good job, talented, well educated, well rounded young women, life is good. Soon after this it was time to go to Jeff's cousins to celebrate his (cousins) birthday at the lake house. There was swimming, and food, and laughter, a beautiful, perfect day... the lake had calmed down and although previous to getting there we had told the girls, "no jet skis, don't even ask, the lake will be too busy" the question was asked, by someone else. The lake was calm, very little traffic, but we were visiting, and had said, no. Danielle's then 18 year old cousin said he would take Riley and Danielle for a ride. Danielle was up on the deck with Jeff's sister and I, reading a book, typical Danielle. (I am smiling as I remember). "Mom, do you think I should go on the jet ski?" "well, your cousins will be leaving soon to go back to Australia, go make some memories", I responded. And so she put her favorite bookmark in her book, and skipped down the back hill to put on her life jacket, and I watched her ride away on the back of the jet ski. 10 minutes later, a second jet ski left the dock with Danielle's uncle, cousin and sister Taylor on board. As that 2nd jet ski left, we had no idea the fun, memory making leisurely ride dynamic would change to one of, 2 jet skis and a near deadly collision. Danielle's bookmark is still marking the last page she read. Do we blame ourselves, should we have explained the perimeters we expected to be followed? What could we have done to avoid the outcome? Many, many decisions and actions could have changed the outcome of July 11th, from one extreme to the other, there could not have been an accident at all, or, the accident could have been fatal. Danielle's Uncle and 18 year old cousin acted as hero's in the moments that followed, assessing the situation, realizing Danielle's needs were critical, giving her mouth to mouth, CPR and getting her to the dock as quickly as possible to receive immediate medical attention. The moments that followed Danielle's lifeless body being hoisted onto the dock will forever be engrained in my memory. I still have not asked details of what actually happened at the accident site from my family members, I don't want to ask them to re-live it, and it will not change the outcome. None of our lives will ever, ever be the same. I offer these facts not for judgment, but in the hope that you may encompass our entire family, all involved, in your prayers. We have not placed blame, but have offered forgiveness, in case the people we love blame themselves... Danielle sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury, her recovery is slow, and challenging, we have faith in God's plan for us all, and we ask that if it is His Will, Danielle be Miraculously and completely Healed in the name of Jesus and for the Glory of God.
Please be part of a Miracle, Pray for Danielle. ~Lynell.