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A Billet Mom Shares Her Story Of Tragedy And Grief

This is likely one of the hardest articles I will ever write.   The horrific accident in Humboldt brought back many memories for me.  As a Billet Mom I thought that I should tell my story of how I had a tragedy in my own life.  How I had to face up to what had happened and how I coped with the situation and the grief at that time.

When they leave the house you trust they will return.  You never want to think that they won’t.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Dealing With a Misfortune in Life

Not everyone has had to deal with a tragedy but most of us have.  How did I deal with a misfortune in my life?  It took me months to come to grips with what had happened.  Have I forgotten it, absolutely not?  I went through a very lengthy grieving period and it took me a very long time to come to grips with what happened in our family.

A Devastating Phone Call on Mother’s Day

It is still as clear to me today as the day it happened.  It was on Mother’s Day and I was waiting for my parents and brother to come for Mother’s Day dinner.  I was so excited preparing a meal for them.  I wanted everything to be perfect.  Then I got the call from an Uncle that they had been involved in a serious car accident and had been taken to hospital.  My Dad was in critical condition, my Mother in serious condition and my Brother in a Coma.  I couldn’t speak I was in shock.

Read:  A Father goes to watch his Son play and then the phone call

My World Was Spinning Out Of Control

Everything was a blur, my head was spinning, my heart was in my throat.  It was beating so fast I thought I was going to pass out.  What should I do?  Who should I call?  I didn’t know what to say or do.  Should I call people and let them know what had happened or just go to the hospital?    My world was turned upside down in that moment.   I vaguely remembered my Uncle saying to meet them at the hospital.   With tears streaming down my face I remember walking to the hospital, it was only a short distance away.  Thank goodness, I would never have been able to drive anywhere considering the state I was in.  I was sobbing uncontrollably as I entered the hospital.

At The Hospital

My Aunt and Uncle met me and my Aunt gave me a big hug.  I went to see my Mom who was being treated and would be released but my Dad was in ICU in critical condition, with tubes everywhere.   I hardly recognized him with all those tubes.  I wasn’t even sure at that point if he was going to make it.  My Brother hadn’t responded and as he was in critical condition they transferred him to another hospital.     The horror of the situation still exists with me today, years and years later.

I Became a Zombie

Dad was in critical condition and I remember him with a hole in his side big enough for me to put my fist into.  Seeing him scared me but at least he was able to talk to me.  We shared many tears together in that ICU.  For her recovery my Mother went to stay with my Aunt and Uncle.

I didn’t go to see my brother as he was in a coma in a hospital out of town.  I called the hospital for updates.    My Aunt told me that if he survived he would be a vegetable.  What a vegetable?  No way, not my strong, full of life brother.  I couldn’t imagine him lying there not knowing me or anyone around him.  It just seemed like the news got worse and worse.  I remember one day entering the hospital and my Aunt meeting me and saying “that my Brother wasn’t going to make it and had I thought about what I wanted to do with his organs.”  Of course I hadn’t thought about it, he wasn’t even dead!  I remember to this day how angry I was in that moment and turning to my Aunt and saying “How can you even ask me that, he isn’t even dead yet?

Visiting my Mom and Dad did not help me deal with my own pain.  You have to realize not seeing my Brother, visiting my Dad who cried every time I went to see him and having my Mother upset was not very uplifting.  I tried to be strong for my Mother and Dad but I always felt very deflated after those visits.

I was in a state of shock and moved around like a zombie.  I kept busy by working and going to see Dad in the hospital.  I would call my Mother or see her when she came to visit Dad in the hospital.

Read:  Mom of player says he didn’t think he would survive the crash

I Never Gave Up Hope

Through that week of going to the hospital and getting updates on my Brother I never gave up.  I was sure that my Brother would survive and wake up, smile his big smile and say “What’s going on?  I was so angry and bitter when he didn’t.

Planning For a Funeral

Unfortunately, my Brother passed away a week later so now my Mother and I had to plan a funeral that my Dad wasn’t going to be able to attend.  Through all the grief of losing my Brother I had to be by my Mother’s side.  The only thing I remember about it was picking out the casket.  Mother and I went to pick it out as I wanted a nice one for him.  Through eyes filled with tears we found a casket that I thought was suitable.  I still could not believe that my Brother was going to be put in it and I would never see him again.

Visitation and The Funeral

I have no recollection of what happened leading up to the funeral.  I don’t remember the visitation, just picking out the casket.  Besides my relatives I couldn’t name one person that was at it.  This was a nightmare, everything was a blur and I had to say goodbye to the closest person in my life.

At the funeral I sat in stunned disbelief.  This was my brother who was being buried and I would never see him again.  I would never get to touch him or give him a big hug.  I would never hear his voice or see his radiant smile.  This was the end of life for me I couldn’t possibly recover from this.  I cried uncontrollably throughout the service. I had no idea what was being said or what was going on around me.  All I remember is that there was a large crowd and I sat in the front pew with my Mother.  I felt like a robot just going through the motions.  Everyone reached out to me but I didn’t respond.  I felt like I had been dealt a raw deal.  I lost my brother and everyone was to blame.  I cried for days and could barely function.

Grief Sets In

Grief is described is the dictionary as:  extreme sorrow caused by a loss; deep distress.  In reality grief is terrible to experience but it happens to all those who have suffered a loss of any kind.  It isn’t easy to find the strength to carry on.  With me grief set in the minute I found out my Brother didn’t make it.  Grief happens at different stages for anyone faced with losing a loved one.  Everyone will go through a period of grieving.  Grief will be longer for some and there is no set time for the grieving period.  Everyone will grieve in a different way.  Some will just have a harder time coping than others.

The Blame

I asked why? over and over again.  I turned to friends for comfort.  I tried to escape my grief by burying myself in pills and tears.  Did it help?  At the time perhaps but I was a mess, a total wreck.  I didn’t hear anyone, I didn’t see anyone I just existed.  I pined for my Brother who was gone.  Over a period of time it made me feel worse.  I grieved and couldn’t forgive anyone.

I blamed my Dad who was driving although I tried not to.  Why wasn’t he more careful that morning?  Later I realized that it wasn’t my Dad’s fault he just made the wrong decision in that moment.  I blamed God for letting this happen and I blamed the church.   It wasn’t God’s fault and it certainly wasn’t the churches fault.  I even blamed those around me.  Why did I blame everyone?  I had to have someone to blame didn’t I?   I blamed everyone for his loss.  After all this was not suppose to happen.  Why did it?  Do you ever get over it, no it still haunts me to this day.

Guilt Set In

For some time I was guilt ridden.  Did I tell him I loved him the last time I saw him?  Why did it happen to him?  Why was it my brother and not me?  Why did he have to die?  Why was he not saved?  Why? Why? Why?  So many questions I had but absolutely no answers.  I can’t remember if I told my Brother that I loved him and this haunted me.  He knew I loved him didn’t he?  Did I just all of a sudden snap out of it?  No.  It took me a long time to feel like going on and living.

Read:  “It’s Past a Nightmare:” Father of Humboldt survivor recalls carnage

Time Heals or Does It?

They say time heals, does it really?  No, I don’t think so it just makes it easier to cope as time goes on.

I know that weeks after the funeral, Mom was better, Dad was released from the hospital but everyone disappeared.  I didn’t get any calls from my relatives to see how I was doing, I didn’t hear from a lot of my friends.  Why did they stay away?  Did they think I wouldn’t be able to handle it?  I don’t know but to me I had been deserted.  If it hadn’t been for getting up and going to work every day, my  roommate, and my co-workers along with a few friends I don’t know how I would have survived.  I felt so alone and this is the worst feeling in the world.

My Revelation

I finally came to realize that my Brother would have been disgusted with the way I was dealing with his death.  He loved life.  He was full of mischief and fun and his smile lit up a room.  He wouldn’t want to see me moping around like this and I could hear him saying “Smarten up, what are you feeling so sad about, I am fine, now get on with life” so on with life I got.  In my grief I prayed and prayed and prayed.  I found comfort in my friends, and I got on with life as he would have wanted me to do.

The Humboldt Tragedy

I reach out to those involved in the Humboldt tragedy whose world has been turned upside down.  My heart goes out to those who will never see the smiling face of their loved one or hear their voice again.   It isn’t easy to carry on but through your grief may you find comfort in those around you.

Read:  The Story Of A Bus Crash That Left A Nation Reeling


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