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Nikayla Bramwell

Nikayla Bramwell

Home city: Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Age: 15
Date of crash: December 2, 2010

December 2nd , 2010, just two days after my 15th birthday, was the worst day of my life.

I was looking forward to everything life had to offer. I was an honour student, had lots of friends and was overall a happy, carefree teenager. That all shattered to pieces at 8:53 pm when an impaired driver who was at LEAST double the legal limit crossed the centre line and hit my Aunt April and me head-on. My aunt, my best friend and now my hero, passed away right in front of me that night. She died of a broken neck and had so many broken bones in her chest the person conducting the autopsy lost count. Only 30 years old, her life had come to a tragic end and she left behind a forever grieving family. I suffered a back injury and still struggle with this issue. I have a bruised sternum and have attended physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic therapy. I also suffer PTSD & anxiety.

As I write this almost four years later, the pain still continues both emotionally and physically. I was no longer an honour student after the crash. My friends basically left me because all I ever did was talk about what happened. I would ALWAYS talk about the crash and how upset I was about it. I was angry and mad and at the same time…tired. I was tired of having all these emotions and courts and doctors and pain … I was tired.

I essentially thought there was no meaning to life anymore. I was 15 years old and half the time couldn’t even roll out of bed. I’d have flashbacks of my aunt screaming and her last words. I had visions of the crash and spent a lot of sleepless nights and I still do! I was tossed to different counsellors all of which told me my feelings were “normal”. My feelings were far from normal! I wanted to feel like the “old Nikayla” and after awhile I knew I lost myself too. I didn’t know who I was anymore. One minute I was happy, the next minute I was sad. There was a point in my life I turned to alcohol. When I was drunk with my friends I didn’t talk about April – the crash didn’t consume my mind. I was HAPPY and I quickly gathered my stuff together and thought NO – this isn’t you! I know one thing can lead to something stronger. It could easily have been marijuana and so on.

Although I didn’t die December 2nd, 2010 – I was “reborn”. I was introduced to MADD Canada. My life has a meaning now.  I have a purpose. I speak out and do public awareness. I am involved with the board for MADD Cape Breton and soon to be hopefully involved with MADD Halifax. I’m in studies to be a counsellor and I’d like to be an addictions and grief and bereavement counsellor. They say things happen for a reason, and although I’ll NEVER find out the reason why April died, I believe I found my meaning to life. It’s to help people – to help people understand themselves, to feel loved and supported and to know they are NEVER ALONE! If you are a victim/survivor or an impaired driving crash and you need help – just someone to talk to, please phone the MADD Canada or your local MADD office. Sometimes all you need is someone to listen. You are never alone in your feelings NEVER!!! I beg anyone, if you drive impaired, stop TODAY, not tomorrow or the next day and so on. Tomorrow is NEVER promised. Do not be the person to DESTROY a family… it could be yourself you kill, it could be your own family member you kill or injure…think about it could easily be ANYONE. I watch my family suffer every day and it’s been almost 4 years. The heartache, loss, anger and hurt NEVER go away. You learn to deal with these emotions; you learn to take it day by day. You work through these feelings, you work through the grief and bereavement but the pain NEVER goes away. Don’t be the person to do this to a family.

I also beg anyone who thinks getting in a car with an impaired driver is OK – YOU’RE WRONG! It’s called impaired driving. Impaired is when your BAC reaches a level that your judgment can be impaired and altered. One beer or ten beers, you or the person who is driving should NOT be behind the wheel. Try to take the keys. Sure they’ll be mad but that’s OK. You’ll feel much better knowing you saved someone’s life!

Each breath is a GIFT. You don’t deserve anything in this life. When you were born you worked for that first breath, and you’ll work for the last one. Don’t let it be because of a CHOICE! “

Thank you for reading my short and brief story. Please be the solution and not the problem. DONT DRIVE IMPAIRED!

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