Young Woman Pens Heartbreaking Story About Loss of Sister
East Lake native Carey Wiley wrote this story in honor of her younger sister Carisa Herald, who died from injuries she suffered in a car crash in 2011. Carey and her mother have started a jewelry line called "Sister's Suitcase" in honor of Carisa.
Carey Wiley wrote this story in honor of her younger sister Carisa Herald, who died from injuries she suffered in a car crash in 2011.
It began in 2001 and the start of sixth grade for my sister, Carisa Herald. My baby sister was attending Carwise Middle School in Palm Harbor, FL.
We had moved to Florida the summer of 2001 from Maryland. Carisa met lots of new friends at her new middle school with her outgoing and charming personality. She also met a boy, his name was TJ McPhee, and so began a childlike crush.
Carisa and TJ remained friends for the next few years until the start of High School where they both attended East Lake High School and TJ played for the football team.
Their relationship changed and the childlike crush became dating and a first true love. Carisa and TJ continued to date into there sophomore year. They were the all American couple, his contagious smile and her zest for life, they were soul mates. There were many football games; cheering on number 9 (TJʼs number), parties, homecoming, family vacations, TJ became a part of our family.
It was March 17th, 2007 and we were in Nashville, TN at the Grand Ole Opry celebrating my Momʼs 50th birthday when Carisa recieved a call that changed her life. TJ had been in a terrible car accident.
We held Carisa and waited, her cell phone rang, TJ had passed away a little after midnight. We boarded a plane and headed back to Tampa, FL. My heart broke for Carisa, it was final... her first and only true love was in Heaven. NO one would ever compare to TJ.
Carisa struggled for the next couple years but finished high school and went on to attend Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, FL. She started a life there, getting involved in school, joined a sorority, worked hard, moved into her own apartment, started dating and living life without TJ.
She was half way through her junior year at FGCU and really setting future goals, planned on going to Law School, saving money and looking forward to turning twenty-one, but that didnʼt happen!
It was Friday, January 28th, 2011 when we received that dreaded phone call, Carisa had been in a terrible car accident around 1:30 pm. We had plans to hang out all weekend with family and friends. We rushed to Tampa General Hospital and I clearly remember Mom asking me to promise that Carisa was going to be okay, I just told her to pray but my heart was breaking, I knew Carisa wasnʼt going to be okay.
We waited at the hospital as they operated, the nurse came to us around 6:00 pm with the tragic news, Carisa had passed away.
We had lost a sister, a daughter, a friend and a large part of our hearts. Days after the funeral, I had to go clean out Carisa's Toyota 4runner and visit the accident scene.
It was here that I realized TJ held Carisa's hand through this horrific accident. I looked down next to where Carisa's SUV had crashed on January 28th, 2011 only to find the "I Love You TJ McPhee" bracelet laying there. It was the only item that came off of Carisa's steering column.
I believe TJ waited for his first love and crossed her over to Heaven that day.
My family and I suffer the loss of Carisa and TJ everyday, many of our days are filled with tears, heartbreak and the what ifs or why?
We have tried our hardest to keep Carisa's spirit alive, we have a jewelry line in honor of her called Sister's Suitcase, we also started a scholarship called The Carisa Loraine Herald Scholarship Fund that will go on forever at FGCU, but most importantly we cherish the unconditional love that we received from Carisa.
Many people may go there whole life without finding true love, not Carisa and TJ. Destiny may have taken them away but they are Forever and Always Soul Mates.
-Xoxo Sister (Carey Wiley)