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The 3rd of September

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by albert77, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    "It was the Third of September, that day I'll always remember..."
    Papa Was A Rolling Stone
    The Temptations

    Sept. 3 will always be a black-letter day for me, because it was on that date back in 1972 -- right about this time of night (12:30 in the morning, on a Sunday) -- that my best friend was killed in a car crash. We'd just started our senior year, and we were tight. That was the day my childhood ended.

    Nearly 40 years have passed and not a single day goes by that I don't think about my friend and how he died, suddenly without warning. Poof! One second he was alive with his whole life in front of him, the next he was gone forever.

    I wish I could say I learned lessons from his death, but really I didn't, at least not until I was well into my adult years. In fact, I become a little fatalistic and did a lot of crazy, stupid things because I just didn't care. Now that I have a lot fewer years to look forward to, and a lot more to look back on, I can see that that day 37 years ago was the pivotal moment in my life. There is before my friend died, and there's after, and nothing was ever the same.

    I know we have some pretty deep thinkers on this board and a lot of people who have been through what I went through, some who have been through a lot worse. I'd like to just open this up to anyone who has been touched by tragedy and maybe offer some insights on how you coped, sort of as a memorial to my long-lost friend. He was a great guy, loved by everyone who knew him, and I've missed him terribly over these years.
  2. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    Damn. That was a riveting post. Very sorry for your loss, Albert, and hope today is as painless as possible for you.
  3. Hammer Pants

    Hammer Pants Active Member

    Sorry for your loss, Albert.

    My best friend is still in a wheelchair and struggles to do most things on his own after a car crash 11 years ago. As difficult as it is to see him struggle and often take steps back in his recovery, I can't imagine the thought of him being gone. He is taking classes toward his Associate's degree and wants to study sportswriting — perhaps to start a blog. Every step will be a challenge, but he's still a tough son of a bitch who I know will find a way. He wants to get that Associate's and enroll in just one course at his dream school — Alabama — and I hope like hell he gets that done.

    EDIT: To clarify, my buddy's brain problems have caused his difficulties with basic functions since the accident. Simply being in a wheelchair would have stopped him from doing anything.
  4. 93Devil

    93Devil Well-Known Member

    I have no idea how to deal with something like this.

    I have mental blocks in my mind that I am only realizing as I grow older. For example, I can never remember the date of my father's birthday or the exact day that he passed away.

    I am that way with all of my grandparents (all of them) who have passed away. Is this my defense for not dealing with their passing? Is there something locked deep down in me that I need to bring out?

    I think the fact that you remember this day after so much time is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with missing someone. We all hope to be missed when we are gone, and you missing your friend says a lot of good things about him.
  5. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    My condolences, albert. As BYH said, I hope today is as good as it can be.
  6. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Sorry, Albert.

    I had three friends die in car crashes in high school and the year after and another haunted by hitting and killing a girl. They weren't really close friends like yours was, though.

    I really fear when my kids start driving, though. Ugh.
  7. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    Whenever I see something like this, I can't help but remember a guy I worked with over a few summers in college. We worked for the Ohio Dept of Transportation, mainly painting rest stops and county garages. Good kid. He was going to the Univ of Toledo, and I was going to Cincinnati, so summers were the only time we saw each other. He was driving the van ahead of me one summer when a car driving the opposite direction hydroplaned and hit the ODOT van head-on. Everyone in the van was fine, but the other car ended up on its roof in a water-filled ditch. My friend and I - the only two not completely rattled by the accident - tried to help the other driver. Seeing he was under water, we lifted his car until he was above water, then wedged one of our latters into the car to keep him from drowning. He was still buckled in, but we did our best to keep him alive until the EMS arrived. We did it. But, the man later died at the hospital because of massive chest trauma. My buddy and I took that pretty hard.

    He went back to school after that summer and switched his major. He was now pre-med, and had plenty more bills to pay so he worked as manager of a pizza place most nights while going to school during the day. Really burned the candle at both ends. Just before the next summer started, he fell asleep at the wheel going home after working at the pizza place until 3 a.m., died in the wreck.

    I still don't understand so many things about his loss. I may never really understand it all.
  8. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    This in our town just recently. Kid who used to play bush league hockey with my son turned 20 early in August. A week later, he was a passenger in a car that was racing foolishly in the wee hours. Driver missed a turn and hurtled into the river. Three kids killed, one escaped.
    The boy's grave is in the cemetery two blocks from my house.
    My own son turned 20 last week. He does some adolescent things sometimes, some things that frustrate me and wonder what I could be doing better to help him deliver on his vast potential. But at least I have the luxury of going into the living room right now and telling him that. Telling him I love him. Enjoying that smile and that sense of humour.
    I know too many parents in our town who don't have that luxury.
  9. Big Circus

    Big Circus Well-Known Member

    It's not close to the level of pain that many of the people on this thread have suffered, but this makes me think of my only brother, who came home Easter weekend his first year of college and went out drinking. He drove home - was lucky! Made it home! Beat the odds! - and then decided he was going to drive over to his ex-girlfriend's house. On a windy mountain road. Shitfaced. He drove right off the side of the road. Thankfully, it was the uphill side and just a ditch. He goes off the other side of the road, it's down the mountain into the forest. Car was totaled, but that was the worst of it.

    It took some time to even talk to him about it - I had to write an email to really get my thoughts out. It was partly a depression thing with Jeff, and he's gotten it a lot more under control since then. He's probably the smartest person I know, and he's now in his second year at a great law school. Reading this thread, then going back and reading the email I wrote to him, brought all that flooding back. I know that he was lucky, and I was lucky and my parents were, too. So many of you can't talk to the ones you love because of similar things. I can't imagine anything more heartbreaking.
  10. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Me again. Lots to deal with, I guess. Lost my best friend and colleague to cancer in May, a five month battle, the last of which was spent in palliative care. He was nine months older than I am. I did the eulogy at his funeral. Every time I think of him, I think "There but for the grace of god go I."
    One positive: It scared me into getting a medical, my first in a decade. Still have a follow up appointment, but I think I'm OK.
    And since my friend didn't have medical benefits or insurance (he was a stringer for us and was paid by assignment), I helped put together a couple of fund raisers in the community that helped his wife and young son out, and it made me realize what a great, and close knit community I live and work in.
    Sorry for your pain, Albert. Pause today and remember the great things about your friend, as I do mine everyday. And I guess appreciate the good things you have and you've done in life, and raise a cold one to your friend on a beautiful day.
  11. ink-stained wretch

    ink-stained wretch Active Member

    Life is simply not long enough to learning everything we need to know to understand life.
  12. ADodgen

    ADodgen Member

    I just wanted to make a comment on something shockey said here. My mom died when I was 23, and suddenly everything changed. You've so eloquently summed up how I feel about that day. For 23 years I was one person, and a completely different one since.

    It's indescribable how that happened, and what it feels like.

    My best to all of you.
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