Now that some time has gone by – enough where I can put my thoughts into words – of the experience that happened, not just to me, but the small group of us, and what happened to a young man that I will never know.
I ask myself why this happened.
I’ve asked myself how could this have happened.
I’d like to think that if there were some way to turn back time – to see just enough into the future that this would not have happened.
Taking another road, leaving just a little bit earlier from our job site.
That this wouldn’t have happened. But it did.
What started out as just an ordinary day – sure ended up being one of the most hair-raising days of my life.
Not just in my sobriety. But in life.
I’ve written a lot of short stories on what my life in and out of sobriety has been.
The choices I’ve made, good or bad. The choices I see people make around me in and out of the Halls of Recovery.
The right ones, the not so great ones and then there are the truth ones.
Ones that just are.
We make them everyday. How we interact with others. How we hold up under stress.
To giving ourselves the chance to change.
I’ve never met this young man but I know that the chance for change is done with him. From that day forward his journey is over on this plane of existence.
How can this not affect me or the people I was with.
How can this not affect the family and friends of that young man.
It can’t. It won’t.
It will always be there – especially the family – some close friends.
For me, as time passes – the event will subside – some, hopefully. I don’t know.
This is a first for me.
The first twenty-four hours was something. The dreams of that young man sitting up with all of us standing around him.
To the van that I was driving with the clients from my company rolling over and over, instead of off to the side of the road, has played out in my head the first few days.
Talking to other people helps – some. Oh, I’ve talked to the police, the fireman, the insurance companies.
Even the local newspaper.
“What did you see?,” they all ask. To saying, “What a shame.”
A life should not be summed up by those three words.
But that’s what it is.
I’ve been sober long enough to know it isn’t God. That’s one thing I’m very grateful to have known.
Yah, sure I’ve asked God why – how the heck could I not. Praying for the family, to praying and saying thanks that it wasn’t one of the clients I’m responsible for.
To even saying why not me instead of an eighteen year old, that to me has his whole life ahead of him.
My friends say, that’s life.
These things happen all the time. It just happened to be you.
The road we were on was as busy as any other during that week.
Not too much traffic for that time of day. The road wasn’t wet or covered with snow and the traffic was going at the average speed.
Heading north when we were struck. One second nothing – the next he was in our lane, hitting the side of our vehicle.
Like I said, no reason.
Being able to keep the van from rolling, to thinking we’re going to go over the ravine, in what seemed like minutes were just seconds.
Having the clients all in shock and trying to get out so I could find out what happened, to actually seeing the extent of the damage to us and the pile of wreckage on the highway. Hearing the screams for help to see the best and worst of people.
The ones that stopped and helped, the ones that just drove by.
Can’t really blame them, I don’t even know if I would’ve stopped.
I would like to believe or think I would have.
There was a time within my cups of using that I would’ve told you that I did.
These are the moments in life when you just don’t know ‘til it happens.
That road we’re on in life has all those moments.
I remember when my foster son passed away, to holding the hand of my mother. Seeing that last moment go by.
As time moved on with these moments, those memories I’ve taken comfort in believing that they are in a better place. That God has called them home.
I’ve come to believe that there is a place and still work to be done on a higher plane of existence.
I remember that day when our country was devastated – how we all as a nation looked on in horror. I remember saying to my dad at the time that my foster son David and my mother were very busy ushering home the lost souls on this road of life.
I don’t know if that’s the right way to think, but it helps.
Believing that my God works through other people. Call them angels or what I like to think of them as agents of God.
Taking comfort in that small way helps.
I like to think that this young man is now busy working for God – ushering the men, women, and children that pass away everyday.
To know and attempt to take some comfort with that.
Life moves on for us. On any road we are on.
Be it early recovery, newly married, new job or new town or city we end up at to live our lives. Any of those firsts we have in life.
We will all have the chance to change – one day at a time, if we choose to.
When all this happened I intuitively surrounded myself with the people that are doing what it takes to live happy, sober, and somewhat a sane life.
Hearing again that we can’t live in yesterday, that tomorrow is yet to come.
That any chance of change is done now. It’s not what you leave behind, it’s how you lived through life that people remember.
For in the end, we are all just Here Today…