Twenty years ago…

Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most changing moments of my life. And no, it wasn’t the day I met Boss Man…although, oddly enough, it would play into it. Eventually.

It was 10 days before my 16th birthday. I had big plans. I was “going out” with someone that was my other half, we had connected from the first moment we had met. Even though I couldn’t see him, (I had broke my glasses prior to a wrestling tournament. I was a cheerleader, he was a wrestler. I was blind as a bat, and needed help making sure I was where I was supposed to be. Who wouldn’t find that cute? Ha!) I knew that he was someone that I could easily fall for…and I did. Hard.

But it wasn’t meant to be, at least not for long. Derek was hit by a car while running on the highway for track practice. I never had the chance to say goodbye, to tell him how much he meant, how much he would always mean…but I don’t know what I would have said back then. I was only 15. I didn’t realize how important he was…and always has been.

It’s hard to explain it, but the days following Derek’s accident, I don’t really remember. I know that I went through the motions. I went to school. Went to the funeral. Had a TON of support from my friends and family. But it’s all kind of blank for me.

All I can tell you is that my life was changed. I knew that the person I wanted to be with for the rest of my life would be someone like him. Someone that I could be myself with, that I didn’t have to pretend with, that I wouldn’t even need to talk to communicate with…just be.

It’s been 20 years, but there are days when it seems like just yesterday.

Some days the road down memory lane just takes a little longer.

Sorry for the melancholy, but the tragedy that occurred in Boston yesterday triggered some familiar feelings. And for those dealing with pain and loss, I give you this advice: You can take that pain, and use it as a crutch. Blame the world for your problems and let it hold you back. Or you can take that pain, and use it as a tool to get through difficult situations. Remember the lessons that you’ve learned, use them to make yourself better…and know that there’s always an angel rooting you on.

Crutch or tool? The choice is yours, and yours only. Use it wisely.

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13 thoughts on “Twenty years ago…

  1. What a heart-wrenching story! But, what amazing advice…”You can take that pain, and use it as a crutch. Blame the world for your problems and let it hold you back. Or you can take that pain, and use it as a tool to get through difficult situations. Remember the lessons that you’ve learned, use them to make yourself better…and know that there’s always an angel rooting you on.
    Crutch or tool? The choice is yours, and yours only. Use it wisely.”
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Hugs to you,
    Barbara

  2. Im sorry for your loss and pain that you went through, someitmes it probably seemed like it would never stop hurting. When I was a teenager, 13, I had a huge crush on Mike Petrosky. One day he was in a friends back yard and his ‘friend’ shot him in the back of the head with a bb gun. He died. I was extremely depressed for a long time, I still visit his grave sometimes. Now I mourn for his family, his mom and sister. It was a hard time.

    • It’s not something that’s easy to overcome. The grief, the anger, the need to know “why,” it’s all hard. It took me a long time to “get” that. Although, I’m not sure I have it completely, I know that one day I’ll be reunited…with all of those that I’ve lost. Some way too early. Thank you, Sunnie, for sharing.

  3. Our daughter lost her best friend in a car accident when they were both 15….it was very traumatic. It’s extremely hard to see your child in so much pain and there is nothing you can do about it. But, she, like you, used it as a tool to get through tough situations, and, I truly believe it made her a better, stronger person! Thanks, now i have tears! but, we are very proud of our girl, and, glad that you can see some kind of light from your experience as well!

    • Thank you, Sue! It does make you a better, stronger person, if the trip through the tragedy doesn’t wipe you out. I’m grateful for all of those that helped me through it…just as I’m sure your daughter does.

  4. Oh, Val, I am so glad I read this! Makes me feel good that I am not the only one with these feelings and that Derek is not forgotten! Those of us that knew and loved him will always remember what a great kid he was. This 20 years has flown by! Also have to say, I saw this at work…thanks for making me cry! 🙂 I have read the wag’n tales before but never knew it was you!
    Take care! Janell Woehl (Derek’s Aunt)

    • Janell! Last night, I was just reading the poem that you wrote. I have a bunch of stuff in a folder from “way back when” and came across it. I couldn’t read it. I had to put it back for another day. Sometimes we have to take baby steps. Take care, and thank you for writing!

  5. remember that tragedy through my kids and what it meant to them. You put it in words so well, and hit the nail right on the head. If you make it through the tragedy, you really do find out that you are stronger than you think. Does it go away, no, but it has it’s place, and you put it away so you can deal with everyday life. When you need to remember it is always there. Take care, Val. Love to read your blog.

    • Little did we know that it would be the first of several tragedies for our small community to suffer through, did we? But as you say, the memories are there, and we are stronger than we think. Thank you, Cheryl…that means a lot to me!

  6. I don’t know who you are but was one of the many that bore the pain of losing Derek. I know exactly where I was, what I was wearing, etc. when the call came that Derek had been killed. 20 yrs., he would be 36, a family man and so much more. The pain will always be there but I do know a part of him will be with each of us. I, too, am his aunt.

    • Derek was one of those people that drew others to him. You would be drawn to his light from across the room. And you are right, a part of him is always with us. Thank you, for sharing.

  7. Pingback: Day 9 – Thoughts on music | Wag'n Tales

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