I went to a funeral today for the husband of a girl I’ve known for almost 25 years. He died over the weekend when the truck he was driving ran into a snow plow. I’m told the impact of the crash knocked the rear axle off the plow and sheared nearly the entire roof off the truck. I’m also told his blood alcohol content was .28; more than three times the legal limit in the state of Indiana. In simple terms, he was very drunk.
He left behind his grieving wife, his five-year-old daughter, and an extended family that loved him very much.
I don’t have a lot of wiggle room to talk when it comes to things like this. Twelve years ago I sailed off a windy road into an abrupt meeting with a large tree. Luckily, God clearly had other things planned for me… the tree I hit was largely rotted out from the inside and broke off at about ground level, fell over and crushed the car. Had I not been alone, anyone else in the car would have been killed. As it was, I suffered minor injuries, a totaled car, skyrocketing insurance rates, and a bruised ego that has long borne the lessons I learned that day.
The point is that all of us should reach a point in our lives when we stop (or at least try to stop) doing really stupid things. As if the obvious argument of “right v. wrong” isn’t enough, when you have a family that depends on you, when you have children who need you, driving drunk should be unthinkable. The truth is, with one phone call, almost anyone you know would come pick you up and take you home. Anyone.
The saddest part of the day was watching this young widow struggle with her emotions. It was obvious there was an inner struggle taking place, a battle between lonliness and abandonment; between grieving loss and anger. You could just tell that she was trying hard not to be really pissed at him, but it’s a losing battle. How can you not be angry at someone for doing something so obviously wrong – so incredibly stupid – as literally taking his own life for granted and, in turn, taking for granted the impact of his actions on those who love him, need him, and miss him?