Jennifer lost her three young kids in a car accident when a drunk driver ran the stop signal.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 1, 2019. It has since been updated.
A mother of three from Bampton, Ontario, sent her three young children to their grandmother's place who lived 45 minutes away from their home; little did she know that she would never see them alive again.
It was regular day back in 2015, when Jennifer Neville-Lake was expecting to receive her children—Daniel, nine; Harry, five, and Milly, two—back from their granny's. Instead of hearing from them, she happened to watch a news report that changed her life upside down.
"[My parents] were running late and I was getting annoyed," Jennifer told ABC News. "But when 5 o'clock hit I was like, 'This is really late for them.' I tried calling their phones and they didn't answer me. I flipped on the news and I saw the crash and I said, 'That's my van.'" Imagine the shock when you see the car that was taking your kids being reported on the news!
Only Jennifer's mother, Neriza Neville, survived the crash. The shocked mom could not believe she had lost all her children. "I remember saying to the doctor, 'All of my children? All of my children are gone? This can't be true,"' Jennifer recalled. "Our lives are pretty much over because our whole family has been taken."
The drunk driver Marco Muzzo was reportedly running from a bachelor's party in Miami and had a blood-alcohol level over twice the legal limit, according to Daily Mail. In 2016, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Losing one's children is undoubtedly the worst nightmare for a mother. Jennifer, however, has shown immense courage and integrity by working to raise awareness against drunk driving ever since. She even shared a heart-wrenching photo of her children's lunchboxes resting on top of their tombs.
In a moving Facebook post she wrote:
Grade 8. Grade 4. Grade 2. Or rather, should be!
These were their lunch bags for their 2015 school year. Milly's was designed by her Kuya's-they worked together to make it for her whilst she sat on my lap and tried to grab her Kuya Harry's hair. His hair was getting long and she liked to pull it bc he would squeal. The boys took their lunch bags to school and Milly took hers to her music class and when she would spend Fridays with my dad.
Our family's first day of school because of a drunk driver.
Jennifer hopes that this photo will raise awareness on the devastating consequences drunk driving cause. She takes the effort to talk about it because she doesn't want other parents to go through what her family has.
"When I read it to a friend, she mentioned how it made her never want to complain about too much homework, or silly things again and appreciate the moment," Jennifer told Good Morning America.
Her wisdom comes from a place of deep grief. "Your choices become actions that have consequences...I will never, ever get to watch, participate in and with, enjoy, celebrate, cry with, learn with, grow with, be with any of my children again because of another adult's decision to drive drunk."
Jennifer receives emails, messages, and phone calls from people showing support to her cause of raising awareness against drunk driving. The one that broke the internet though was her post showing lunch boxes of their kids at their graves on a day they should have been at school.