November 2, 2015
November 2, 2015


Born: September 5, 1966
Died: May 3, 1980

She Blossomed on Earth
She Blooms in Heaven

Ahh, it is that time of year again when memories can bring both smiles and tears. Smiles when I think of my daughter, Cari on the phone with her friends giving everyone advice, imitating a teacher or classmate, swimming with her friends in our backyard pool and telling me how she was going to live with me forever because she “had it made at home.” She decided she was going to go into real estate with me (I am sure that would have changed a million times, had she lived,) and we would work together. This is when she wasn’t mad at me for something I did or didn’t do.

cari lightnerOne of my favorite memories of her is when she had gained a few pounds and her father made an insensitive remark during one of his visits. This was after our divorce. She came to me in tears and I said. you need to let him know. She called him and asked him to come over and he did. She sat on his lap and in no uncertain terms informed him how much his comment hurt and he responded by apologizing and hugging her. I will always have that image of my big 13 year old, sitting on her father’s lap with his arms around her.

Her name at birth was Carime, Arabic for generous, or so I have been told. However, no one could quite pronounce it correctly and so it became Cari for short. I heard some lovely pronunciations that I considered using vs the real one, which sounds better when someone who speaks the language says it. I don’t speak Arabic and could never quite pull it off. Her middle name Anne, was after me as that is one of my middle names. She is an identical twin, born 4 minutes before her sister, Serena and she could be very bossy. I tell everyone whose loved one was killed by an impaired driver that Cari is waiting for them in the afterlife and will immediately tell them what to do.

The tears come when I think of how short her life on this earth was. Actually, I rarely cry anymore, so much time has passed. This year will be the first year in 10 years that I will be at her gravesite to plant flowers on her grave on the anniversary of her death. I plan to bring a boatload. I love her and miss her and whenever I work on life saving legislation, she and the thousands of other children killed by impaired drivers are always foremost in my mind. Cari, honey I will see you Sunday.


  1. Caramie says:

    Just wanted to say how your daughters passing has impacted so many. My mother got my name from seeing the M.A.D.D special. After 37 years I was able to see the movie today via YouTube. I’m so glad that you advocate for stronger legislation and admire the strength and courage you displayed.

    • Candace Lightner says:

      Thank you for telling me about your name. We spelled her’s Carime but no one could pronounce it correctly so we called her Cari.

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