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Strong: Kathleen

Strong: Kathleen

My heart hurts. My head hurts. My eyes won't stop crying. Whoever said that this gets easier, lied. I don't know what to do with this grief. Grief is not a rule follower, apparently.

If reading this doesn't stop you from drinking and driving or stopping someone from drinking and driving, then nothing will.

The crash was on November 26th.  Eric was declared brain dead on Thanksgiving, November 28th. 

Eric turned 18 on November 19th. Exactly a week later he was killed by a drunk driver, named XXX. XXX was 16 years old and prior to the 2002 crash, he had been arrested five times between the ages of 14 and 16 for drug possession, being drunk in public and other charges. He lost the right to get his driver's license and his parents petitioned the court to waive the penalties, so he could get his license at the age of 16, knowing full well that he had just "failed" his third attempt at rehab.

Just a couple of months later, he drove drunk and under the influence of marijuana, killed Eric and severely injured another in the car. They got in the car with him, not knowing that he was under the influence. Once they discovered that he was, they asked to be let out of the car. He refused to let them out. They also saw that there were no seats in the SUV that he was driving. No seatbelts. They begged to be let out of the car.  He drove right past the kids’ cars, and told them that he was going to take them on the ride of their lives.  Less than a mile later, he passed a father and daughter on a blind curve, lost control, and crashed.  He walked away from the crash, as did the front seat passenger (they both had seat belts on).

I had a new marriage and a 3 month old baby, and the most fabulous teenage boy. Life was truly magical. Then I got the phone call. My life changed forever that night.

Eric had been my baby for 18 years. He was my skin and my breath. Holidays will never be the same, life will never be the same.

Hug your babies, hug your family, hug your friends. Hug strangers. Scatter kindness. Love, feel, be. Choose your battles. Live your life so that you have no regrets. Pull your kids out of school for a few days so you can take a road trip. Give them a pass for a mental health day every once in a while. Have family night. Dance, sing and be a dork. Kiss and hug your babies and husbands and wives. Tell them you that you love them every chance that you have. My last words to Eric were, "I love you, baby!" His to me, " I LOVE YOU MORE!" I hold that close, real close.

Letter from Eric's Heart Recipient:

Dear Donor Family,

Hi my name is xxxxx. I am the young man that receive your sons heart. I thank God for you guys and there are not words to express how much me and my family thanks you. I not only have a new heart, but a second chance at life. And My Wife xxxx, my sons xxxx .age 9, xxxx age 5 xxxx age 3 and xxxx 1 thank you with all of our hearts. And I say this with tears rolling down my face. I am sorry, I am sorry. I am sorry for the loss of your son. I don't know him but I know his heart. And his heart is as pure as gold. I am lost with words but part of your son will always live and when I leave this earth his memory will live on in the hearts of my wife and sons.

Thank you,

God Bless you and your family

Inspired by Kathleen's story?
Remind yourself how Strong you are no matter what!


May 26, 2019

Thank you. Your story and heartache makes life and loss have meaning for those still living. Thank you. I am so so so sorry you lost your boy. So happy his heart gave life. I will think of him, and you a great deal and send you strength and love.


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