"I'm Mellisa Stevens reporting live from a crash site on the freeway. A hot pink vechile was wrapped around a tree. The driver has been identified as Megan Smith."
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Before the car had even stopped moving, Ms. Elton was out and running toward the scene. Grabbing an EMT and in a crazed voice, she shouted, "Is she gone?"
He looked at her grimly. "She's alive. However, she's in very critical condition, and extremely unstable."
"Megan!" She screamed, catching a glimpse of her as she was lifted into the ambulance. Her daughter lay motionless and broken. Her beautiful blonde hair was strewn around her face in a bloody mess. The face it covered was ghastly pale.
"Melanie, come get in the car." Mr. Smith said softly. "We'll follow them to the hospital."
Numbly, she obeyed.
Two months later, Meg's parents were by her bedside, as they were every day since the accident. She was in a coma, and the doctor had told them frankly that he was unsure if she would come out of it, and if she did, how bad the brain damage might be.
On the positive, her broken bones, including her right arm and leg, ribs, and her dislocated hip, were healing nicely. They tried to remember that.
Her eyes fluttered, and both tried not to get excited. Several times before they had thought she was waking, but each time disappointed.
Silently, they watched. Her eyelids continued to open and close, like slow blinking. Finally, she held them open, and her beautiful forget-me-not eyes turned toward her parents.
Mr. Smith jumped up, rapidly pressing the button for the nurse and shouting, "I think she's really awake!"
She was awake, but the brain damage was significant. Meg was mostly paralyzed, with little chance of ever walking or speaking again, much less making a full recovery. Although she appeared to recognize her parents, and the doctor said that the memory part of her brain had received the least damage, Meg was locked inside her body.
Almost a year later, there had been little change, even with daily therapy. She regained control of her right arm, which was more than the doctors had expected.
One day, Meg was in the middle of a therapy session, trying to grasp objects with her left hand. After dropping it for the hundredth time, Meg refused to try again.
"Please, Megan. You can do it." Ms. Elton implored.
A small tear rolled down Meg's face. Even with her limited facial expression, she could see from her daughter's lusterless eyes that she was tired of trying. She was tired of being stuck in a wheelchair, tired of everyone having to do everything for her, and tired of living. I wonder if she still wants to die.
Ms. Elton thought.
Later that evening, as she watched her daughter sleep, she turned to her ex husband. "Daniel, she's giving up."
Quietly, he replied, "This is one thing I wouldn't blame her for wanting to give up on. I can't even imagine how hard..."
"How can we make someone want to live?"