This week we are remembering Ella. One year ago today she was killed and her father critically injured in a car crash with a drunk driver. We kicked off our week by wearing pink to church and today we will have pink cupcakes for dessert--pink is Ella's favorite color. We have been spending time remembering Ella by looking at pictures of her and telling funny stories about her.
One of the girl's favorite stories to tell is from when we went to "Murder Beach" with Ella as part of our big 2010 cross country RV trip. (Our visit to the Shumate's, Our visit to Myrtle Beach).
For the trip to Myrtle Beach we ditched the RV and loaded my family and Dacia's into her two cars. Dacia and Devin took all the boys in the SUV and Dave and I drove the girls, Afton, Cora and Ella, in the little blue car. The three hour ride was nice enough. The scenery was beautiful and rolling and of course very new to us west coast folk. Dave drove, I divided my time between admiring the countryside and caring for the girls, and the girls played and talked and watched movies and sang in the back seat. Afton was by one door, Cora was by the other and Ella was happily seated in her throne/car seat smack dab in the middle.
Ella had been living in South Carolina for only about 7 months but already she was developing a little southern drawl that was adorable. When the movie was done Afton and Cora began prodding Ella to say lines and words from the movie and then would burst into a bowl full of giggles. They moved on to common sayings and then to whatever they saw out the window searching for the funniest sounding words and phrases and landed on Myrtle Beach which Ella pronounced "Mu-deh Beach" The girls translated that as murder beach and couldn't stop laughing. They began singing it and repeating it and by the end of the ride none of us could easily recall the real name of the beach to which we were traveling without a little chuckle. That still holds true today.
We love you and miss you sweet Gabriella Jewel Shumate!
Ella's parents, Dacia and Devin, have recently started a foundation in Ella's memory. The Gabriella Shumate Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to raising DUI awareness and the prevention of unnecessary deaths as well as supporting children's causes. They are hosting their first event, a 5K race, on Jun 2nd. If you are in South Carolina please consider being part of the festivities. If you are not in the area you can still support the foundation with a donation or purchase of a Run Ella Run T-shirt. Visit www.runellarun.com for more information.