Our daughter Molly, at her 12th Birthday Party
Twenty six days before the accident
I’m so much better a man for having known her.
I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU!
(Truly, I cannot believe it’s been Twenty Years!)
There are things that are good to remember; things bad to remember; and things important to remember.
The crummy part of all this is sometimes my brain is not too good at discerning which is which, or what goes with what.
My character (being flawed and neurotic as it is) has a tendency to default to the bad.
A shrink, I’m certain, would say it’s all about low self esteem, negative messages from childhood, etc. The reasons don’t matter.
Twenty years ago, today was the accident in which our daughter Molly was killed.
I was driving – this makes me ultimately responsible, as I was The Dad. The Protector. The fact the other driver ran the red light while speeding is of no consequence.
I carry a sidearm. I’ve done so for 41 years. Long before I even met Molly’s mother, I chose to do whatever I could to protect myself and my family and friends. It’s a roll I haven’t taken lightly.
And I took my assignment as Protector even more seriously when I became a father. It’s what father’s are supposed to do!
We were making a left turn from 44th Street, East onto Thomas Road. A little after 1 PM. Going to Monkey Wards after an earlier visit to Famous Footwear @ 20th St. and Camelback. Saturday’s with 12 year old daughters meant shopping! The signal didn’t have a left turn arrow back then. It was just like in the movies – in the midst of completing the turn, I sensed something was wrong. Based on the estimated speed of the other car, we were pushed across the intersection in about one-tenth of a second.
And many lives changed forever.
I’ve no memory regarding what happened next. Nothing to recall on the witness stand months later. I was told I regained consciousness enough to give my estranged wife’s phone number to the ambulance guy, when I was asked if there was anyone he could call.
I had early drugged hospital memories of being on board a ship(!) Not enough consciousness to ask why I was on a ship. Turned out, with one (now re-inflated) collapsed lung and the other half filled with fluid, County Hospital had me on a pneumatic bed which kept hissing and rolling, to keep fluids from settling in my damaged lungs. Ribs pushed into a lung. Broken collar bone. Broken arm. Tube up the nose, and IV morphine/ativan drip.
My sister, wife and friends were there, being supportive and keeping loving watch as much as they could. Not wanting to answer the obvious question: Where was Molly?
In my few awake moments, I remember asking about the funeral, desperately wanting to be well enough to attend.
My wife was told Sunday morning there had not been any brain activity, and had the courage to disconnect life support. Had our roles been reversed, I don’t think I would have had the bravery. I am forever grateful to her for this. A number of folks benefited from her decision.
The funeral was that following Tuesday. I was largely unconscious in ICU at County for another two weeks.
Ultimately, after being moved to Good Sam, being given Tylenol in lieu of the morphine/ativan drip (!) and weeks in the regular hospital and rehab, I was able to walk and breathe again.
I was deeply depressed and pretty much just counting the days.
Until I could pay my respects.
That came weeks later.
I’ll say it again, as long as I take breath – Tell your family and friends you love them, right now!
Because you may never get another chance.
AND be an organ donor.
I try to remember the good times. The IMPORTANT ONES. It’s what has kept me alive for the past twenty years.
My thanks to all of you, family and friends, for holding me up, until I could stand on my own.
(Commentary has been turned off – I know how you all feel. Thanks, again.)
and don’t bother to come back another day! :-(
To be honest, pain is only part of the equation. Most of the problem is annoyance!
Yes, I have chronic diabetic neuropathy in my feet, legs and hands. Sometimes it’s barely noticeable; other times more so. And arthritis. I can usually tell how a given day will go, when I awaken pain free, and reflexively open and close my fists.
If doing so is relatively pain-free, then moving to exit the bed is predicted to be so, also!
This morning, I had pain upon awakening. While still horizontal. Before opening and closing my hands.
And my knees were throbbing.
My doc recently took me off an oral diabetes med, which is a good thing! (YEA!) But, she also restricted my intake of ibuprofen, not as good! I still take the bp and cholesterol meds.
Can’t have everything!
I just took three OTC IB pills – I used to take SIX, two or three times a day. This makes 9 pills in 6 weeks! Along with my prescription pain meds.
And, I get to go in to an outpatient clinic next month, get put unconscious and have them run a camera down my throat! To see if my esophagus has healed from earlier reflux damage.
Or if any cancer is present. (I’ve had both skin cancer and lymphoma – this could be the hat trick!)
And I’m on Medicare, so a 20% copay is required.
Which, on my disability, I do not have.
The future appears to hold pain, more doctor visits, and more bills.
I try to focus on others in my circle coping with much worse situations. Bob H., for example, who just lost the lower part of his left leg/foot, and will soon be fitted for a prosthesis.
Bob is doing well, particularly in his ATTITUDE!
THIS is why my crap is just an annoyance, and not a problem! :-)
Most of you know, my Father was sports addict, and as a result (because of my inability to play after the onset of my disability at age 12), I was a sports orphan.
And the culmination of all this for me is I don’t have a passion for most sports. Watching, playing, appreciating. Because I can’t play, and because I was saturated with it as a child.
(If YOU love your sports, enjoy! It’s no problem for me. But, like religion, please leave it outside my door!)
I oft wondered about the American fetish for the love of team sports – especially baseball, football and basketball. It’s been explained to me that it has to do with civic pride. And, of course, friendly bets around the water cooler.
Or the bookie.
Marx says religion is the opiate of the masses. In this country, the opiate is also sports! I guess it stops folks from discussing religion and politics(?)
MY passion is the ability to live free. To make my own choices. To not be compelled to give to others through the power and force of government. If I choose to do so, that’s one thing. At the point of a gun, that’s another.
And, of course, my passion for the love a good woman.
Currently absent. :-(
But that’s for another post…
…it’s only that people are sleeping knights.” – (with apologies from) Guffaw, in high school (c) 1968
My Daily Kona thoughtfully expounds on this very subject, that is Chivalry, the rules of Western Civilization’s gentlemen, as seen through the eye’s of libertarian science fiction author Robert Heinlein:
I have been told that I am a throwback to a bygone age, my mannerism and vocabulary are archaic from what I was told. I am a firm believer in manners, I like to quote “Lazarus Long” a character that Robert Heinlein created. Basically Lazarus Long was an immortal and he would keep notes of his experiences and observations.
“Moving parts in rubbing contact require lubrication to avoid excessive wear. Honorifics and formal politeness provide lubrication where people rub together. Often the very young, the untraveled, the naive, the unsophisticated deplore these formalities as “empty,” “meaningless,” or “dishonest,” and scorn to use them. No matter how “pure” their motives, they thereby throw sand into machinery that does not work too well at best.” – MrGarabaldi
You should really go and read all the rules, as MrGarabaldi outlines. And remember, once upon a time, they were the rules of gentlemen (and gentlewomen). And Western Civilization relied upon them for social order – the very lubrication Lazarus Long spoke of in the previous paragraph.
See how far we have diverted from them, and decide for yourself, was it worth it?
He outlines 31 Rules that used to have prevalence in polite society. In the interest of transparency, I more often than not violate number 12, but always adhere to numbers 21 and 29.
Number 17. :-(
Massad Ayoob is one of the gold standards in real world defensive firearms use.
Below is a list of 5 myths one hears around the shooting range or gun store. Surely to increase your chances of death or injury.
“IF YOU CAN’T DO IT WITH SIX, YOU CAN’T DO IT AT ALL!”
“MY CAR IS NEVER FAR AWAY, SO I’LL JUST KEEP MY HANDGUN/LONG GUN/SPARE AMMUNITION THERE.”
“YOU MUST PRACTICE ONLY POINT SHOOTING, BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO SEE YOUR SIGHTS IN A GUNFIGHT!”
“YOU MUST PRACTICE ONLY AIMED FIRE, BECAUSE YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO HIT ANYTHING POINTING!”
“YOU CAN NEVER JUSTIFY SHOOTING A MAN MORE THAN 7/15/25 YARDS AWAY!”
In short, Mr. Ayoob ends with Beware Absolutes.
I’ve never been in a gunfight, but I have had to defend my life. I religiously wear my seat belt, but that didn’t keep from from being in a fatal accident. We don’t control circumstances or outcomes, people!
You should really go and read the whole article.
h/t Personal Defense World, Facebook
I can’t find a single study from Bloomberg’s groups that aren’t loaded with errors. They have an anti-gun agenda and will lie to achieve it. – John R. Lott, Jr.
How Bloomberg’s Million-Dollar Desire For Gun Control Is Backfiring
[While I think there is a fair amount of lying going on they don’t think of it as lying. They just don’t understand facts are independent of their feelings. If they feel something then, in their view of reality, it is true. I’ve had people flat out tell me this. I would point out that what someone was saying was in direct contradiction to verifiable facts. And I would get a response of something to the effect, “Well, it’s true to them and that is what matters.”
There is also a very telling anecdote about liberal “research” in this same article:
In 2006 I was at a cocktail party in Arlington, VA, talking to a liberal journalist about his soon-to-be-released book on Iraq when John Lott joined us. John listened for a moment and then said to the author, “I’m curious. You say you just finished a book on the Iraq war. I always find it so hard to finish a book. I get so deep into the research I have a hard time stopping to write. I’m guessing you had a hard time leaving Iraq. There is so much to investigate and understand.”
The author said, “I didn’t go to Iraq.”
John paused with this quizzical look on his face before asking, “Oh, how did you do your research?”
The author said, “I didn’t have to do much. I mean, I already know what I think.”
Feelings versus facts. It’s a type of mental disorder.—Joe]
There’s a thesis in popular conservative/libertarian culture that liberals (or at least the current flavor of liberal, the progressive) act(s) based on feelings more than facts, even if the facts deny their feelings. “Oh, those cute polar bears are dying in records numbers, due to global warming!” – even though recent data shows their populations have increased and so have the square footage of ice on which they live. Not to mention they are extremely dangerous to humans, cuteness aside. “If it just saves ONE life.” or “It’s for the children.”, facts aside are other feeling-based statements.
I cannot speak for all conservative libertarians, but, I have on occasion questioned my use and ownership of firearms, looking at how doing so affects my community, my family and myself. And I stuck to my principles. And didn’t buckle to ‘feelings’ about some whack-job shooting up a school by disarming myself.
I did the same process after the accident that killed my daughter. However, I ultimately didn’t give up my driver’s license, my vehicle, or insist others do the same “for the children”.
I see that as counterproductive, and unscientific.
h/t The View From North Central Idaho, John Lott
Yeah, it’s a song title, above.
Sometimes, I get down on myself, because I once had a wife, a daughter, a home, a ‘career’.
No wife, no daughter, no ‘career’ (I’m disabled). I DO
have share a home, though.
And that’s my point.
Living Freedom recently had a posting entitled
It mentioned traits of folks down-on-their-luck who, if they are not thriving, do more than just survive.
I could have been worse off than I am. I lost my home as my income decreased, and a good friend took me in.
But, that’s not my point.
MY POINT IS I’M GRATEFUL FOR HER HAVING DONE SO!
Certainly, I wish things could be different. It would be nice to have a wife, to have my daughter back. To have my house back. To have the income I once had.
But, not being a child, I know wishing doesn’t make it so.
So (most days) I choose GRATITUDE!
When I was growing up, I wanted to join The Boy Scouts. They seemed cool, but, I was too young. There was The Cub Scouts, though! And one could evolve into a Boy Scout from there. I convinced my parents I should join.
I think I was in the Fourth Grade. I became a Bobcat, a newbie. My parents never even sprung for a full uniform, just the shirt, bandana and cap. And I had to walk about a mile to my den mother’s house on meeting days. At least I got to hang with other boys my age, and we sometimes did cool stuff.
But, soon, my den mother moved away, and no provision had been made for us to transfer to another den. By default, I left. No Boy Scouts for me!
But one of my fondest memories of The Cub Scouts was the Scout Oath. Not the solemnity or the promise. The language.
In the early 60’s, the counterculture wasn’t yet tipified by the hippie. It was the beatnik that brought societal scorn. As typified by the character Maynard G. Krebs on The Dobie Gillis Show. (the G stood for Walter, it was silent!)
When something was mainstream, whitebread, uncool, the beatnik said it was SQUARE.
And The Cub Scout Oath (of that era) was:
I, _________, promise to do my best
To do my duty to God and my country,
To be square, and
To obey the Law of the Pack.
Now, sometime after 1964, the changed the oath to read to help other people, instead of to be square.
I wonder if that was because every boy jack of us said the oath as follows:
…To be a square…
Not really comprehending what being square meant.
Being on an extremely limited disability income, I sometimes (often) find myself in a financially uncomfortable situation. Often a week or more before my stipend is due to arrive. I wish I could say it was because of extravagance, but more often than not it’s because of a math error.
Fortunately, I am sometimes assisted by my friends. I am most blessed.
And yes, today, I AM SQUARE.
I AM ALSO A SQUARE! I need one of these!
(one of my Dad’s expressions, usually when another – unwanted – opinion was proffered)
My roommate is an animal lover. As am I. The difference being I usually consider ramifications of finances, interaction with other animals, available space and other factors before introducing another animal into the menagerie.
AND, I’d ask her opinion.
So, day-before-yesterday, she advised she’d an errand to run. I did as well. Separately. Imagine my surprise when she texted me a photo of a tiny kitten!
Now, I love cats, perhaps even more than dogs, because they are less maintenance and aren’t codependent, as dogs are.
The end result is another rescue (Lola-the-chee-hooa-hooa was rescued a little over six months ago)
She is 2 1/2 months old, very pretty, and stands up to the other dogs and the big cat with the best of them.
How could I say no?
(attn Murphy’s Law – her name is BELLE, and she likes salsa!)
Boy, am I a sucker! :-)