In 2017, Jennifer Neville-Lake lost her three young children due to a drunk driver’s inebriated decision to run past the stop signal. The mother of three from Ontario sent her children Daniel, nine; Harry, five, and Milly, two, to their grandmother’s place without knowing that they would never come back again.
The drunk driver Marco Muzzo was reportedly running from a bachelor’s party in Miami and had a blood-alcohol level over twice the legal limit, according to Daily Mail. In 2016, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
However, while punishment has been served to the culprit, that does not reduce the pain of a grieving mother who lost all her children due to another man’s fault. Jennifer has been running campaigns to raise awareness against drunk driving and has been receiving love and support from people online and otherwise.
She recently posted a heartbreaking photo of the lunchboxes of her children resting on top of their graves. This picture has aroused numerous emotions in people and social media users are showering love and condemning an act like this.
In a moving Facebook post, she wrote,
Grade 8. Grade 4. Grade 2. Or rather, should be!
These were their lunch bags for their 2015 school year. Milly’s was designed by her Kuya’s-they worked together to make it for her whilst she sat on my lap and tried to grab her Kuya Harry’s hair. His hair was getting long and she liked to pull it bc he would squeal. The boys took their lunch bags to school and Milly took hers to her music class and when she would spend Fridays with my dad.
Our family’s first day of school because of a drunk driver.
It is not just about the extreme grief that her husband and she have to go through the rest of their lives but also the void that can never be filled in. However, even in such miserable times, Jennifer has shown immense strength by trying to raise awareness about drunk driving to ensure that no other parents have to go through a life long pain.
She hopes that this photo arouses emotions in all people that it reaches and implores them to act responsibly at all times.
“When I read it to a friend, she mentioned how it made her never want to complain about too much homework, or silly things again and appreciate the moment,” Jennifer told Good Morning America.
Her reaction comes from a place of deep grief and probably only a mother could fathom what must she be feeling, “Your choices become actions that have consequences…I will never, ever get to watch, participate in and with, enjoy, celebrate, cry with, learn with, grow with, be with any of my children again because of another adult’s decision to drive drunk.”
She also said, at that time she could not believe that she has lost all of her children and there is no meaning left in their lives anymore.
“[My parents] were running late and I was getting annoyed,” Jennifer told ABC News at the time. “But when 5 o’clock hit I was like, ‘This is really late for them.’ I tried calling their phones and they didn’t answer me. I flipped on the news and I saw the crash and I said, ‘That’s my van.””
Only Jennifer’s mother, Neriza Neville, survived the crash. “I remember saying to the doctor, ‘All of my children? All of my children are gone? This cant be true,”‘ Jennifer told the news organization at the time. “Our lives are pretty much over because our whole family has been taken.”
While we could not do anything to lessen this unimaginable grief, we could offer our condolences and hope that no mother has to ever lose their children.