On March 7, 2010, my friend, mentor, and neighbor of eight years, Hermione Joy Wommack, was killed by a drunk driver slamming into her SUV head-on at 80 miles per hour. Reports say his blood alcohol levels were 2x over the legal limit and he was driving without a license.
Let me take you back to that day.
On March 6, 2010, I gave birth to my youngest daughter and final baby. I telephoned Herm later that day to tell her the good news and see if she could come take a peek at my new bundle of joy at the hospital. I was greatly looking forward to her visit because she and I had both recently moved miles apart and hadn’t seen each other in months. She told me she could visit the next day since it was Sunday and a bit less hectic for her. I was due to return home Monday, so I assured her Sunday was perfect and couldn’t wait to see her again.
Herm, an Argentinean high school Spanish teacher, had always been a precious friend and neighbor to me. Going through difficult times in the early days of marriage and job loss was made easier by her wisdom, counsel, and prayers. There wasn’t much I didn’t tell Herm and her presence in my life was constant.
There would be times when I would open up my front door to find bags of gifts awaiting me that she cleverly sneaked there. Generosity was always nothing but second nature to Herm.
I vividly remember watching my oldest daughter, who was three at that time, putting on the gorgeous Sunday dress Herm had given her and walking next door to show it off to Herm before church. I can still see Herm’s smile as she knelt down to admire the dress, and my daughter trotting proudly back across the lawn towards me.
Sunday evening March 7, 2010 at around dinner time, Herm came into my hospital room, and immediately took my newest baby in her arms. It was so good to see her again. She and I caught up a bit and I promised her I would come visit her at her new farm they had just bought in the country. I grabbed my digital camera and asked for a picture. She said she looked awful since her grandkids had been with her all day and they’d been gardening together. I assured her she looked great as always and began snapping away.
Herm holding my youngest just moments before her death.
I’m so glad I did. Those were the last pictures ever taken of Herm, for only an hour later she was taken to heaven.
She was on the phone counseling another friend when the drunk driver, a man named Mark Elliot, slammed his vehicle into her Honda SUV.
Her husband later told me she had the presence of mind to tell the police officer his phone number and he arrived at the scene to be with her in her final moments.
The news of Herm’s death hit me very hard. One friend tried to comfort me by telling me that Herm could have been killed before she saw me and then I would have never seen her, visited, and gotten photos of her. For years I felt guilty for asking her to visit me and experienced severe grief and remorse. Knowing Herm, she would have told me to stop.
“STOP CHICA” is what she would have said. Herm never let me wallow!
Whenever I start missing her and feeling remorse, I’m reminded that God is still in control, even in this crazy out-of-control world. He was with Herm in her final moments comforting and ministering to her. He came to her that night with His hands outstretched towards her saying, “Come Home Child”. She was driving along Leesville road that night journeying towards her true Home in heaven.
She was never alone in death. Knowing Herm, she was praying hard as her body breathed it’s last and God answered by giving her peace and everlasting happiness in heaven with Jesus her Lord.
1 Corinthians 2:9 King James Version (KJV)
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
This verse gives me comfort knowing that right now Herm is experiencing delights unimaginable in heaven that await those who love Him.
Several years before her death, Herm shared this scripture verse with me from 2 Samuel 15:26. ‘But if he thus say, I have no delight in thee; behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him.’ I’ve highlighted that verse in my bible with her name marked beside it. It encourages me to surrender to God’s will for my life and to hand over everything to Him saying, ‘here I am’. Whatever seems good to God is what’s best for me. It may not always look like it at the time but I’m trusting, as my Herm did, that He always knows what’s best. Always.
So many have been killed or severely disabled by drunk drivers. Although my brain injury is not from drunk driving, I’m still heartbroken when I find other TBI survivors (there are many) robbed of their happy lives by the carelessness and selfishness of others. It needs to STOP.
In honor of my friend Herm, please share this post with others.
Herm and my two oldest making Christmas cookies together Christmas 2008.
The article that explains the accident and sentencing of Mark Elliot.