Someone 2 Know; Remembering Alisa Hardy Orton
One year ago this month, the northern Nevada community was shocked by a fatal head-on collision.The family she left behind hold each other up every day and take steps forward.
One year ago this month, the northern Nevada community was shocked by a fatal head-on collision.
27 year-old Alisa Hardy-Orton and her unborn child were killed, along with the drunk driver who took their lives.
The family she left behind hold each other up every day and take steps forward...this week they generously shared part of their experience with us.
We joined the Hardy-Orton family early in the morning and quickly meet three year-old little Emmeline, the little girl who is now the center of this family's world.
With her blonde hair in pigtails, she draws a letter on the black board for us…as the chalk gently scratches away; we see the letter “E”.
“E” for Emmeline…and Ellis, the little sister she was waiting to welcome into this world one year ago. Mom, Alisa Hardy Orton was eight months pregnant when she and the daughter she was expecting were killed in a head-on crash.
Her husband Taylor struggles with the memory of that day and its ever-lasting impact; "It affects how I wake up in the morning, how I go to sleep at night, it affects if I go to sleep at night"
"There's a big hole in our family and a big hole in our future" says mom, Mary Elizabeth, her voice shaking as she wipes away tears.
The tragedy has knit the family closer together. Taylor and little Emmeline now live with in-laws David and Mary Elizabeth Hardy, who together with Alisa's sisters Morgan and Abigail, help care for the three year old while Taylor attends medical school.
Everything is different now, says Morgan; "I used to enjoy driving, I loved it. I drove a lot. Now, I find that I'm a very anxious driver and anxious passenger"
David says not only is losing a child a parent’s worst nightmare, the reality is worse than you can imagine; "It's not something we get through. It's not something that ends, a change of our life perspective".
To honor Alisa's life, this October, the family has committed to running the Saint George Marathon in Utah.
"She had a way of making you feel like she was your cheerleader,” says Abigail, who remembers her sister waiting for her at the finish line.
After years of supporting the family at races, Alisa had planned to make 2017 the year she would run.
"We've called this day “Celebrate The Finish” in Alisa's honor. With matching t-shirts, and I think they'll be, based upon the t shirt order forms, well more than 200 people there"
It's that kind of overwhelming show of love and solace that the family says has buoyed them up, and given them a glimmer of hope.
"...to be as kind to others as they have been to us … that's my goal" says Mary Elizabeth
If you would like to follow the team effort for #CelebrateTheFinish, you can find the Face Book page that was created for the event here https://www.facebook.com/celebratethefinish/