It's going forward and deciding what the next steps are going to be and how we're going to do this without our two favorite people. —Ryanne May
When she first heard about the accident, 22-year-old Ryanne May promised herself three things: She would love her sisters, she wouldn't be afraid and she would be grateful.
Life as she knew it had changed.
On July 14, May's parents, Kendall and Becci May, and their 18-year-old and 16-year-old daughters were traveling to their home in Eagle Point, Ore., after a trip to Utah. But a car accident outside of Winnemucca, Nev., killed both parents and seriously injured the girls.
May, who was in St. George at the time of the accident, flew to Reno to be in the hospital with her sisters.
After the release and continued recovery of her two sisters, May said her life is now filled with picking up the pieces and moving forward.
"It's going forward and deciding what the next steps are going to be and how we're going to do this without our two favorite people," she said.
Despite what May described as amazing family support on both sides, she admits she has to take the enormity of her situation one day at a time.
"Sometimes one minute at a time," May said. "Sometimes you want to cry and sometimes you just can't."
But in spite of her grief, May hasn't forgotten the promises she made to herself.
"I think of family members, strangers and friends, and it's hard to be sad," May said. "I think of the blessings we have with the plan of salvation and the temple, and I can't be sad."
May, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holds strong to the belief that life is perpetuated beyond the grave. She knows she will see her parents again, and thanks to covenants, or promises made in the temple, a place of sacred worship for LDS members, she knows her family will last forever.
And her faith has helped ease her fears.
"The plan of salvation has been huge. I don't know what I would do without that," May said. "Not being able to see my parents again is the most horrifying thought that I could ever think. But ... I know we will see them again. It's been the biggest comfort."
May, a nursing student at Dixie State, has turned to the blogosphere as a way to sort out her thoughts about her parents' death.
"July 14th, 2013. My parents died. My heart broke. But in thinking about the last two years, my life made more sense. I was being prepared," May wrote on her blog.
Feeling strongly about not serving a mission, being accepted to a nursing program at a school that wasn't her first choice and living in Montana and witnessing several family tragedies all placed her in the right place to deal with this life-altering accident, May said.
"This all tells me several things. 1. God has a plan for my life. 2. Things that happen might not make sense now, but we will know the meaning of all of this eventually. 3. My best interests are always His motivation, even when it doesn't feel that way. 4. He prepares the way when he asks us to do hard things," she wrote.
And while May said she didn't write the post for anyone else, simply to sort out her own tender feelings, she said she hopes to be a strength to those who read it.
"People are hurting just as much as I am," she said. "These are things that I know and things that have helped me. If we didn't take the opportunity, as awful as it is, to share what we know, I feel that it would have been in vain."
May is learning, though, that in spite of her faith, grief will find its way.
"There have been times — right now it's the depressed, sad and denial — that I've found that if I'm having a really hard day and I feel like crying and feel so sorry for myself, turning to prayers and scriptures is really helpful," May said.
Ultimately, it's been the strength of her family that has been her biggest support.
"My family members have taken care of everything so I can be with my sisters," she said. "I come from a fabulous family."
Emmilie Buchanan-Whitlock is an intern for the Deseret News with Mormon Times. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: emmiliewhitlock