Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Learning about our children

I am so fortunate to have Casey's friends in my life. They recently came here to help us film segments for a video we hope to complete over the next several weeks that will focus on distracted driving. They were so sincere, eloquent, compassionate and all so beautiful in every way. They said so many nice things about how Casey had been a friend, had listened to them when they needed to be heard and that her death has caused them to think differently about life. They take life more seriously, try not to take the gift of life and health and youth for granted. I was thinking that I am learning so much about Casey and her relationships. I now know how much Casey affected other parent's children. All parents should be able to hear how important their children are to their children's friends. Absent a death it is not so likely to happen. I wonder what Casey would have said had I asked if I could sit down with her friends for a couple of hours without her just to have them tell me about Casey. She would have called me a creeper and said forget it dad-No way! If only we could learn about our children in life.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Are you happy? Yes and Yes

Last night I spoke with a mother whose son died in July. She was talking about all his promise and unfulfilled potential-how he loved life and how others loved him. He was only 20. She lamented that it was so unfair because he was so full of life and energy and so positively affected others. I thought of Casey and thank God that she lived life to her fullest for the short time that she had. I can't imagine how I would feel if I felt that while she was here she had somehow been cheated of life, was not happy or did not take chances and explore life fully.

The night before she died I asked her if she was happy. She asked if I meant then or with life generally. I said both. She thought a moment, tossed her hair, did one of her smile giggles that lit up her face and triumphantly said "yes and yes." Those were the last words that I recall Casey speaking and for that I am as lucky as any parent ever could be. I shared that with the mother and she slowly smiled as she realized that her son had been happy also-That smile was for me, for her, for her son and for Casey.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Distraced driving as impetus for positive change

Over the next month we will be creating some videos that highlight the dangers of distracted driving. We will add them to the traffic safety section of our websites in connection with partnering with a national safety organization, NOYS, on a project to help young people who lose a classmate deal with that tragedy in a constructive manner. Di and I met with many of Casey's friends over the holiday and filmed some of them speaking about how their driving behaviors have changed since Casey's death. The realization that just taking one's eyes off the road for only a few seconds could so drastically impact so many people really hit home for them. I also saw how Casey's death had impacted them in other ways. Almost every person we interviewed talked about realizing now how precious life was and that not a single day can be taken for granted. It was not enough to do well in school or make money at a job, but it was necessary to impact positively those around them. As Di and I search for meaning in our lives after Casey's death we have the incredible support of Casey's friends and classmates as they, each in their own way, strive to do better in their own lives and remember Casey with love and affection.