Wednesday evening (10/18/06) I received a phone call that no parent should have to receive. It was from the police – there’s been an accident, please come to the police station.
Our 27 year old son was walking home from the bus stop and was hit by a car and killed instantly.
He was a special needs person but worked at Dierbergs in Florissant (previously at Manchester & Baxter and before that at Brentwood) as a bagger for just under 6 years. He never met a stranger – everyone knew Nick.
The most comforting thing is I talked to him on his cell phone just a few minutes before this all happened, and I told him I loved him.
Nick was a huge Cardinals fan. He shared season tickets for three years, and even has an autographed tee-shirt by Ozzie Smith. So we chose not to put him in a suite and tie (which he hated anyway) and dressed him in his Cardinals jersey, red tee-shirt, and Cardinals ball cap, and his rosary in his hand. We also put his Dierberg’s (the grocery story where he worked) name badge on him as he was so proud of his job.
The wake was Sunday evening and we were dreading it. But we were so surprised how healing it was. Time flew by. The line was out the door and down the hall. Nick knew everyone and everyone knew Nick. But I had no idea that people would wait as much as an hour and fifteen minutes in line to pay their respects. We expected family, church family, and friends would be there but was blown away by the number of managers, co-workers, and even customers came.
Nicholas’ funeral was yesterday (10/23). It was very up-lifting with fast songs (Nick hated the slow ones. During church he would lean over to me and whisper “oh great another slow one.”) The closing song was “Take me up to the Spirit in the Sky” – nothing slow about that one.
At the cemetery, after the closing prayer, Paige, one of our 6 year old twin granddaughters, lead us all in singing “take me out to the ballgame” with a round of applause and cheering. I know – not typical at a funeral but it was just so Nick.
We still don’t know how the details of the accident. We don’t know the man’s name, type of truck, if there are any charges filed, nothing. We have only been told that the accident report would be ready in 5 – 10 days (from 10/18) and the coroners report wouldn’t be ready for 6 – 8 weeks.
One of his uncles (my husband’s brother) asked me, “what did you learn from Nick?” and I quickly replied that Nick taught me to move on, that even if you come to a blockade to keep moving on – find a way around it and move on. So now it’s time to start moving on and getting back to a somewhat normal life again.
But I do need a favor. If you have children, young or adult, hug them every single day – regardless how angry they may have made you, tell them you love them and cherish that embrace.
(We later learned that the man that hit and killed Nick was a 66 yr old drunk driver, who went to jail for 15 days (yes, I said 15 days) on DUI charges only. Absolutely no mention of the life he took. It was as if Nicholas meant nothing to the us or the world.)