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MICHAEL'S STORY

We got the call at about 1 am. A friend wanted to know who Michael, our son, had been out with that night. He was out with their son. There had been an accident.....two boys had been sent to the hospital...wait for them to call back. We waited and waited. Nothing! We called the hospital and the report was that they had two boys in the emergency room. They identified our friends son....but the other boy did not have ID on him. They wouldn't give us any information on him either. The doorbell rang.....a police car in the driveway....oh my God....he is DEAD. The other victim was the driver. Michael had never made it to the hospital. The car hit a railroad tressle, sideways, at a high rate of speed. Michael was riding shotgun....the impact was at the passenger door. He was killed instantly of a broken neck! God cried!

This was the beginning of our nightmare, October 23, 1993. This is the day that my life was permanently changed.....the day that my old life ended and my new life began. My son was 21 years old, a very handsome guy, lots of friends, soccer and baseball star, going to college, working and a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corp. The perfect kid. Snuffed out in a heartbeat.....gone forever. Yes, my life ended that day.....just as surely as if I had stopped breathing. Over 300 kids staged a vigil at the funeral home. All of them so sad and hurting. The driver had minor injuries.....he made it to the wake. I told him I forgave him.....I couldn't think of anything else to say. Perhaps; "why were you driving over 60 mph in a 30 mph zone?" or "....why were you driving when you had been drinking?". Somehow these things did not come out of my mouth. Just, "I am so sorry....I forgive you." The other passenger, Michael's best friend, died four days later. The forgiveness was given in haste. I wasn't really ready.

Time passed and I felt the grief hit head on. I was in shock...lost....dead inside for months. My first source of help was The Compassionate Friends, a support group for bereaved parents. I had recently signed onto the Net....it was only a matter of time before I found alt.support.grief. I can honestly say that without a.s.g , I would never have made it where I am today. The sharing I was able to do there and the people I found were my saving grace. They became my only tie with reality. In a world where people do not want to acknowledge death and in my workplace where everyone wondered when I would "get over" it, my refuge was the world of the keyboard. I typed and typed until I thought I would grow more fingers. I am still typing today ... everyday ... exploring my grief to the fullest. My life has changed...it will never be the same.

My despair and denial slowly gave way to tolerable pain. I began to have moments when I wasn't centered on the loss. I even had a few periods of reasonable happiness. Each step forward was welcomed, but there were many steps backwards after that. The anger hit me from nowhere. This is where the group and my writing (journaling) really came into play. I wrote for hours and days spewing out the vile....at Shane (the driver), at Michael (for riding), at others (for having live kids) and finally.....at God! It was when I arrived at my anger with God that I began to heal. There are days of depression and days of rage...days of total sadness....but underneath it all, after this long three years...I have some peace. I believe that in spite of everything...all will be okay in the end.

My most incredible rage was for the people who made the idiotic comments like...."God wanted him more", or "it's not for us to know", or "everything happens for a reason", or "it was God's will". I was told that I would never know the answer......BUT....they were wrong. I DO know the answer. The answer is that there IS a God and I am not him! You see, my higher power doesn't operate like a puppeteer....pulling all the strings. Some things that happen are God's will, some are man's will and some things happen for no damn good reason at all. I believe that Michael's death falls in the second and third categories. God didn't have his hands on the steering wheel or his foot on the gas when the car hit the railroad tressle. The driver did that (man) and it was Michael's poor decision to ride with him in the first place. I believe that God was the first one to cry that day....the first one.

I have explored the Internet and now I have found a group for us grievers.....a group that nobody wants to belong to. It seems foolish to "welcome" people there! The people that find it will be searching......and we will be there. I thank God for putting me on the info-highway when he did....and I thank him for pages like this one. I invite those that have not found the Usenet Newsgroup alt.support.grief to drop by for a chat. Click HERE for more information on ASG. We are a loving, caring group....all are welcome.

Love & Peace,
Bill Chadwick


 

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