McCALLA, Ala. (WBRC) – It’s been a year since an accident on Interstate 59/20 claimed the life of Iderrika Callens.
She was eight months pregnant with her son, Dallas.
Doctors were able to save Baby Dallas and her grandmother spoke of the joy and pain she and her family have experienced over the past year.
Dallas Grandma Lisa Finley says it’s been a difficult but joyous year.
She spoke of the agony of burying her daughter and how raising her grandson helps ease the pain.
A birthday message on the lawn of Lisa Finley’s home marks a celebration of life and the sadness of losing a loved one.
“Who…it’s been long and hard and also joyful too, because we get to see him grow, which we almost haven’t, it’s a real joy to watch him grow,” Finley said.
Finley’s daughter, Iderrika Callens, died last year in an accident on Interstate 59/20 near Avenue I in Birmingham.
It’s a day that Finley has replayed in her head a million times, but still can’t believe.
Iderrika was eight months pregnant at the time of the accident; a few weeks before her due date.
Doctors at UAB were able to deliver her baby boy, Dallas, via emergency C-section, and on Tuesday, April 13, he celebrated his first birthday.
“Everything was replaying what was happening. She… and you’re like, she’s supposed to be there, you know, enjoying this, and you take it day by day because you have to go on living so… if you give in to it, you’ll give up and, you know, at this point, I can’t give up. That’s what’s important, and that’s what keeps me going. Him,” Finley explained.
Finley says she wasn’t shy about taking on the role of both grandmother and parent, saying she recognizes Iderrika so much in Dallas.
And while she can’t be there for him physically, Finley says she can sense Iderrika’s spirit all the time.
“She always shows me that she’s there, a song is playing, we saw a moth just recently, and Taniya, I was like it was a butterfly outside. She’s like it was Iderrika. You know she likes to go out at night. We see a red bird, you know, we kiss it to the sky, and like, it’s Iderrika.
Finley says his faith in God brings him a peace that passes all understanding, and raising Dallas reminds him that a piece of Iderrika will live forever.
“I just want him to know that she loved him very much. That’s all she talked about, and that’s what hurt the most because I never got to ask the doctors if she was. ‘had seen before. Everything I know she would have wanted for him, I’m going to achieve,” Finley said.
Iderrika’s birthday is April 24.
She would have been 26.
Finley plans a balloon release to celebrate his daughter.
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