Remembering three boys I never knew

A year ago today, thirty minutes from now, three boys died. I hit them with my car, and they all died. I know it wasn’t my fault, most days. I was in the wrong place at the worst possible time. But there are still those moments when an undercurrent of guilt won’t fully submit to logic.

I think about them a lot, although not as much as what might be considered normal. Not because I am callous or unaffected by it. That’s not it at all. I just had to implement an emotional amputation of sorts. This was only one of a series of events that were so unbelievably heartbreaking, distancing myself from it mentally and emotionally was the only way I could avoid self-destruction.

But I think about them, especially on holidays. I think about their families trying to just get them over with. I picture the empty spot at the dinner table they pretend to ignore and the memories that must haunt them when they think about what they were doing this time last year. I think about what I was doing this time last year, which was sitting alone on a balcony in Arlington, Texas, just trying to get it over with, wondering why it was me who lived and not them, and kind of wishing it was the other way around.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about three boys who had their whole lives ahead of them. It’s to send out love to them, (wherever their souls reside) and to their families and friends who miss them terribly. It’s to say that I truly know the pain of having to wake up every morning and think about what I was doing that same day last year…when they were still alive…. when they still had their whole lives ahead of them.

It’s to say that I feel the weight of it all today, fully, and that it breaks my heart, and that I’m so very grateful that I still have my life ahead of me.

But I would give anything for there to be three less empty spots at the dinner table this Thanksgiving.

Original Post: The accident (warning: graphic in some parts…and sad.)


28 thoughts on “Remembering three boys I never knew

  1. There are so many things I could say right now because I felt every single word of this deeply and hate so much that you have to carry this with you. But, what I know is this. That night you collided with a fate predetermined by the stars. There was a reason it was you. And my thoughts are that if it had been another, they wouldn’t have had the capacity to overcome the horror and loss the way you have. With such awareness, grace and dignity, you have moved forward, breath by breath, step by step. And not only have you sought to understand the ‘why’ but also grow from it. I am so proud of you. So proud. Your pain is your gift, and what makes you such a special soul is that I know you understand that – even in darkness there is light. Thank you, for being you… and for still being here. Like, thank you so much. ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  2. OMG This gave me the chills, thinking about what you have to live with. Of course you needed the “emotional amputation” but, as you describe, it’s not a clean operation. You’re struggle to stay sane with this is very impressive.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brooke, I read this post way back when you first published it but just couldn’t comment. Your writing, as always, is authentic and raw.

    But I suppose thats what made this post so painful for me. Its too real.

    Nonetheless, I haven’t been able to shake it. That sense of ownership (my word) over the fate of another persons life. And the self-inflicted “emotional amputation” we inflict on ourselves so we can endure. Then the guilt about not feeling as guilty as we should.

    31 patients have died while under my care over the course of my surgical career. I remember the number, some of the more graphic and traumatic moments, but the rest requires some sort of trigger to bring back to the surface. (But when these memories do return, I relive them in inescapable loops.) Knowing that there wasn’t anything anyone could do to prevent their deaths didn’t change my response. My emotional amputation became so complete that the person I am now bears little resemblance to the person I was then.

    However, after rereading this today, I see the healing and the recovery that is evident in your post here. Recognizing the loss that their families feel, sending out positivity, but not getting mired down. Thats a beautiful thing Brooke. Painful, and hard-won. But Beautiful.

    So, thanks for demonstrating hope. Who knows, someday, the guy I was and the guy I am might be able to hang out in the same room again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, (okay terribly word choice, but you get it) I saw that you read it, and it admittedly gave me pause when you didn’t comment. Not because you didn’t comment. (we would all wreck ourselves if we tried to comment on every post we liked.) But for some reason, I sensed this one got to you. Can’t say how or why, I just did.
      I can’t imagine doing the kind of work you did, Gabe. I had ambitions to go into humanitarian work once, but I truly don’t have thick enough skin for it. After what you said, I don’t suppose anyone does. Some are just more skilled at finding crevices deep enough to hide the effects. But the effect of doing that can also be our undoing.
      I hope the guy you are takes the time to count all the lives ‘the guy you were’ saved… all the lives YOU saved.

      Liked by 1 person

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