I typically try to write these as though they are to my brother. Today I’m going to talk to the person who took his life. If you aren’t familiar with my story, “Setting the Stage” is a good place to start.
Today there was an accident at a bus stop in Rochester, Indiana. I didn’t have the chance to chose to read the news article about three siblings all killed, and one other critically injured. I couldn’t avoid it on social media. So many friends sharing news articles saying, “❤️ to the families,” or “Praying for all involved,” or messages critical of the poor person who hit them. I had to shut off a part of my brain and disassociate with the family who just lost three kids. (I actually have no words, I can’t go there.)
I thought of you.
I don’t know who you are. I never held you responsible. I don’t know the area this morning’s accident was in but doesn’t this sound familiar: rural, two-lane road, a curve with low visibility, something distracting one party…could’ve been our accident, huh. We’re in this together…I’ve just put that together. Took me long enough.
I don’t know why you hit Andrew. Maybe he darted in front of you? Maybe you looked down? Honestly, it doesn’t matter at this point. For your sake, I am so glad that social media wasn’t a thing in 1992. I saw a shared post on Facebook today of someone who knows the woman who hit the kids. People are so quick to rush to judgment forgetting that there is another soul who is hurting and now has the rest of their life to try to forget it. Accidents happen and sometimes that’s what they are—accidents.
We have to live with the loss but so do you. What must that be like—to know that you ended the life of a seven-year-old boy? If I put myself in your place I feel such anguish. I am sorry you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. I am sorry you have to live with this too. Your grief is one I don’t understand. I often feel alone on this island and I’m sure you do you.
You and your wife came to the viewing. That was so brave of you. You didn’t know what kind of welcome you would receive. My dad could’ve walked up and punched you. You could’ve been told to leave. You were welcomed though. I remember seeing my parents walk up to you and sit down. Someone told me who you were, I don’t think I met you. I remember where I was sitting in the room though when you walked in. I can see it clear as day. I know my dad prayed with you, I heard you smelled like alcohol but to be honest, I don’t remember where that came from. I could’ve made it up for dramatic reasons, who knows. If it’s true, I hope that didn’t turn into a problem for you. I don’t blame you for taking the edge off, if that is true.
I’m proud of my dad for praying for you. I think he was still in shock a bit. If it makes you feel better I wouldn’t know you if I saw you. Also, we never talked about you. I don’t mean that badly, I just mean we didn’t dwell on blaming someone. What is the point?
I actually think about you a lot. My biggest hope is that you are okay and you were able to move on. If not, I hope you read this and know that we don’t hold you responsible. Accidents happen, little boys aren’t always careful, we all make mistakes, we forgive you.
Sometime after Andrew died, my dad had an Andrew dream. He asked Andrew what happened that day. Andrew told him, “A bad angel pushed me in front of the truck.” If you have held any guilt that is unresolved, be released. I don’t wish you any ill will. I hope you have been able to move on and one life can be saved. I hope you didn’t lose a part of yourself and you were able to live fully. Blame the bad angel, lean on a good angel, and know Andrew is in Heaven. That’s what we do.