Today I Went To A Funeral

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?

8 Comments

  1. Hey. That was really touching…Nice blog by the way.. Really witty.

  2. Wow. Powerful post. It really makes you think about the things you take for granted. Nice blog. By the way I didn’t want to post anonymously but blogger wouldn’t let me log in. Jen

  3. This is a tough post. Being a person who has difficulty stopping at one drink, I understand the difficulty that comes alone with ‘being on the wagon’. Even the most vigilant have moments of weakness.Unfortunately, one moment of weakness can change everything. My heart goes out to the family, trying to make sense of this is a fruitless endeavor.Mike

  4. Wow.Great post.

  5. SO very, very sorry for this family’s loss. What a tragedy.I enjoyed your blog very much. Very insightful

  6. That’s a sad story. Having recently married and as someone who likes to drink my share of beers, I think it’s hard to come to a decision to have too many in light of the fact that there are loved ones waiting at home. Maybe it’s selfish of me, (the good side of selfishness) but I wouldn’t want to leave my loved ones behind before my time, or be taken away through my own careless actions.Uncle Jack

  7. I’m sorry for your loss. This was beautifully written – I’m so glad you got to stick around and share your story.

  8. Yeah, I work with a lot of folks who just plain don’t think it’s wrong to drive drunk. I’m careful, they’ll say. Or I’m a better driver drunk than most people are sober.It’s just so juvenile I don’t know how to answer it. You have a great blog. I’ve read through a number of posts, and you have a great breadth of topics. Blog explosion brought me.(*)>

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