Remembering Margay: A Mother’s Plea to End Distracted Driving

Oct 30, 2018, 11:40 PM | Updated: 11:41 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Following Elissa Blanken Schee around her Cottonwood Heights home is like chasing a rainbow: bold, bright, you can’t take your eyes off the colors. But, the decorations are all just a cover for the darkness she feels every day.

“The outside world can be very gray. It can be very ugly, but inside my home, and inside of my heart has to be happy for her,” said Blanken Schee teary eyed.

Ten years, one month, and seven days prior, her vibrant daughter, 13-year-old Margay Schee, was burned to death when her yellow school bus was rear ended by a distracted semi-truck driver while they were living in Florida.

“Margay is right here,” she says pointing at a poster of the fiery crash scene which she uses as a prop when she speaks at schools. “She’s right here over the wheel well in the back of the bus. There are a lot of distractions in your car; your phone doesn’t need to be one of them.”

Watching what people do behind the wheel makes Blanken Schee red, a reminder of her daughter’s preventable death.

“You do not want to walk in my shoes. You don’t want to walk in her brother’s shoes. You don’t want in anybody’s shoes who loved her,” said Blanken Schee, who says the only thing that came off that bus that belonged to her daughter that fateful day was her burnt school identification card.

For Margay’s mother, it’s so black and white, watch the road.

“I never imagined that 10 years later things would actually be so much worse – no calls, no texts, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram.”

She doesn’t want any other families to feel this kind of blue.

“She was not a number. She was a little human being with a humongous future ahead of her. Humongous,” she said of her daughter who dreamed of being a pilot.

“You want to carry your kid around with you in your purse? Is that phone call worth carrying your child around in your purse?,” asked Blanken Schee, showing the KSL 5 team the container she carries some of her daughters ashes in which she keeps in her purse every day.

Now anytime Blanken Schee sees rainbows, they are a reminder of someone’s bold decision who took her sunshine away.

“She came to school and she never came home. I was never able to say goodbye. I was not allowed to see her. She just, poof, she’s gone,” she said.

Two days after her daughter’s death, Blanken Schee found her daughter’s journal listing words to live by. Blanken Schee plans to sell copies of her daughter’s sage thoughts at the start of the year to raise money for burn units both in Utah and in Florida. Follow her Facebook page, Never Forget Margay, to stay updated.

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Remembering Margay: A Mother’s Plea to End Distracted Driving