The following is a story I received from a fellow grieving dad that discribes how wonderful his son is and tells the story surrounding the loss of his 15-year-old son in 2008. The loss occurred while on a family vacation. Thank you Kent for sharing your story.
The proudest day of my life was the birth of my son Chris; I had wanted a son since I was about 13. Others that knew me growing up were watching for Chris to give me the grief that I handed out as a child. My childhood was not the best. I would say that my fathers parenting style would have been a dictator with the use of mental abuse and sexual abuse for one of my sisters. I wanted to do better as a family than was done for me.
I spent every moment that I could with my son when he was a baby and toddler. My wife had no fear of leaving the kids with me for any amount of time at any stage of their childhood. Chris was my little buddy, when working around the house he would always want to do what I was doing. My solution was to let him help me as much as he could, even though I knew many times the job would take much longer to do. It was a joy to have him there with me, talking, learning (for both of us); just being together was where I wanted to be. As Chris grew we spent more time together. Even as a teen he was fun to be with. He was respectful and caring of others, willing to help. In his group of friends he was the glue that pulled them together. Since Chris’s death, the little group has grown apart. These guys had standards that they held each other up to, like no swearing, good grades, and stuff like that. Chris never gave us any real trouble growing up, not that he was an angel. He would have little his fits but we figured out they were from him being hungry. I have always believed, never make someone bigger/better in death then they were in life. In saying that , I can not say enough about how good Chris was. In the last few weeks of Chris’s life, two things happened. 1) Chris had a sleep over with a life long close friend (they were born only months apart and we were friends of the parents at that time). Chris stated in the conversation with his friend that he could die tomorrow and he (Chris) was fine with that, he knew he was going to heaven. 2) Around the same time in bible class the teacher asked the question. Which of you would die for your friend? While the rest of the class joked that they would let their friends die for them, Chris quietly replies that he would die for a friend. Chris would always give us hugs without asking for one. As a teen he was still talking with us about everything from school work to who he had a crush on, goals he had. I work shift work, a 3 days on 3 days off schedule and my wife has pretty much been a stay at home mom. This is what has allowed us to be so involved in our kids’ lives, from our part-time helping coach hockey or lacrosse teams and school field trips. We spent lots of time in the vehicle talking while on the team trips.
The day of the accident started out like so many, Chris helped with some laughs and a hugs from him while packing the car. The three of them slept while I drove to the ferry. While on the ferry we played games, talked, dreamed as in a week we were going to provincials for lacrosse for him. Driving on our vacation we came across an accident that had us diverted after a bit. The accident was bad the air ambulance helicopter had been called in. We said a prayer for the lives that had been changed in that accident. Only hours after that again while the other three were sleeping the tire light came on. As the tire light always came on. It had been checked multiple times always with the same answer, nothings wrong. It will give a false reading on hot days. That day the temp was 102 degrees. When the light came on I didn’t think anything of it. A little while later there was a noise coming from the road like uneven pavement makes. I was thinking I’ll let Chris sleep a little longer because he is going to have to help with whatever the problem is. I started to pull over when I lost control of the car. We spun 180 degrees ending up crashing into the ditch were there happened to be the only rock outcropping on the hill-side. When the car came to rest, I heard a bit of a panic in my daughter’s voice that happened to be in the back seat with Chris. She said “mom Chris is bleeding”. I got out of the car and went around to the back passengers side were Chris usually sat. The whole back of the car was crushed in. Chris’s head was pinned/crushed between the roof and the side of the cars body. I am not new to medical/first aid situations, when I saw him I knew it wasn’t good. I dropped to my knees yelling/crying that my son was dead pounding on the ground for mere seconds. Then with hope I went to Chris’s side and training took over. I checked for a pulse, there was one (hope that he would live), he was breathing. I talked to him and tried to get him to squeeze my hand. I rubbed his chest with my knuckles trying to get a response to pain stimulus, there was nothing. I still had hope though; he was still breathing and had a pulse. However it only lasted a few minutes. From his head trauma, he was bleeding into his mouth. He started to gurgle, his breathing stopped, his heart stopped while my hand was lying on his chest. Never have I felt so helpless in my life, there was nothing that I could do. I couldn’t clear his air way because of his head being trapped. A doctor traveling by had stopped by this point and took over. With in a moment the doctor pronounced Chris dead. From the coroner we learned that Chris had died in less than 3 seconds from the initial head injury. There was nothing any one could have done to have saved him. From the police we learned that the loss of control came from the bead on the flat tire had rolled over and spun the back of the car around. We were also told that the low profile tires have not shown any consistent pattern when they go flat unlike the regular tire. I died that day by the side of the car. I fear for our last child as we have lost 2 out of 3. If it wasn’t for my living daughter, I wouldn’t even get out of bed most days. I have no energy for doing what would have been an easy job. The group of friends that we have is remarkable in the love and concern they have for us and continue to support us.