5/29/09

A life saved....


My parents had three children; two girls and then a boy. Ironically, my sister and brother and I all have three children of our own. That is, we did, until my sister lost her youngest son in a tragic car accident about two and a half years ago, when he was 16. (Yeah, you all know that.)

My daughter Bitchy and my brother’s oldest son were both Robbie’s age. They would have all graduated from high school a year ago this week. As it were, Bitchy and Garrett both graduated with my sister in attendance. She was a picture of composure, compassion and great joy. She’s just cool like that. 

She reminded me after their graduations of another event that we had  forgotten about.  It happened the summer before.  If you have a minute, I’d like to tell you about it.

It was June, 2006, and my nephew Doug, Robbie’s older brother, and two of his friends were fishing near Groton, CT. (They live in Mystic, Conn.) It was early in the morning, and the fog was still hanging low near the water as they fished off a sandbar. They heard a loud, loud noise, and as they looked toward the sky they saw a commuter plane come roaring through the fog and crash into the water right in front of them! Doug and his friends John and Randy quickly jumped into their boat, and made their way to the plane.


They could see immediately that the pilot did not make it.  Then they saw one head pop to the surface. They pulled the fella into their boat, and proceeded to rescue two other people. (Three total.) My nephew called 911 on his cell as they made their way to the dock.


Later that day I happened to be watching CNN, and saw a piece on a plane crash near Groton. I immediately wondered if my brother-in-law had participated in the rescue, as he is a volunteer fireman. Wasn’t I shocked when I called my sister, and she filled me in on what had happened, and Doug’s actions! As I attended his graduation several weeks later, I was in tears as the speaker at commencement spoke in proud, glowing terms of these young men who thought nothing of rushing to the rescue of these strangers in peril. It was a very proud moment.

My sister reminded me of this event at Bitchy’s graduation, and confided in me her thoughts at the time of the crash.  Here’s what she said...


“Sis, you know what came to my mind then? A life saved, a life lost. That’s what I thought. Doug helped save those men’s lives, and then not even a year later, lost his brother.”

And with that we sat, sipped our coffee, and tried to make sense of an often confusing and heartbreaking thing called life.





57 comments:

Kat said...

I wish life came with an instruction manual.

♥ Braja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
♥ Braja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
♥ Braja said...

Sorry, damn! Somethin' wrong with posting abilities...er...not mine :)

Kat, it does...but some people aren't interested in following all the instructions, that's all.

VM...what can be said...each man has his own fate. I like the verse from scripture that says,

To every thing, a season:
A time to be born, and
a time to die;
a time to plant, and
a time to pluck up
that which is planted;

A time to kill, and
a time to heal;
a time to break down, and
a time to build up;

A time to weep, and
a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and
a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and
a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and
a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and
a time to lose;
a time to keep, and
a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and
a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;

A time to love, and
a time to hate;
a time of war; and
a time of peace.

Tammy Howard said...

Circle of life, sort of...

WeaselMomma said...

Don't try and make sense of it all, you will only sprain your brain. Your sister will always be the mother of 3, she just can't hold him anymore. Your whole family has so much to be proud of, especially the boys actions that day.

dizzblnd said...

What an amazing and sad story.

Loved the scripture quote Braja

Irish Gumbo said...

Awesome story.

Kudos to Doug, sounds like a good kid. (clapping)

And life is confusing and sad and beautiful and amazing. Live for the Now. Sometimes its better to put the questions away for awhile, and just live.

Hit 40 said...

Bitchy graduated!!! Hallelujah!!

Don't let her go into teaching!!! Just don't.

I think the government is even moving to year round school with a lot fewer breaks. The vacation is what makes teaching outstanding..

Oh of course the kids are why we teach!! Hee hee.

Gaston Studio said...

Bittersweet story and yes, kind of circle of life. Congrats to all the young folk who graduated!

Rick Daley said...

There's much more to life than we can see from our secluded little perch inside our bodies, where sensations and emotions can overwhelm us.

Frau said...

Thanks for sharing such a touching story. Life is short and it's hard to stay focused on today and what's important.

Margarita said...

That's a bittersweet tale. ((HUGS))

Amy Sue Nathan said...

Truly the story of life.

Marci said...

My worst nightmare is something happening to one of my children. What a sad, sad tragedy for your family to have to go through...

Mango Girl said...

Thanks for sharing this touching story...

Feener said...

thank you for sharing

laughingwolf said...

incredible!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Funny how the graduation milestone dredges up memories and deep thoughts, huh? My middle kidlet (Fresh Prince) just graduated too. *sighing with relief*

Dana's Brain said...

First - congratulations to both Bitchy and Doug on their graduations!

Second - that is a wonderful story, and clearly a great kid who was brought up right. Good job, Sis.

Shana said...

Life: good and bad.

Carolyn...Online said...

I can't get past the sad part.

Ivanhoe said...

Wow. I don't know what to say. Life works in mysterious ways...

Joanie M said...

Aw, there you go again, getting me all choked up. I'll add it to my list.

Great job, Doug, on acting so quickly to rescue those folks in the water!

Will Sassy be going to Oregon State next year? (can't remember if she is graduating this year or next)

Anna See said...

I am so impressed by the bravery of those young men. Such quick and selfless action!

I am so sorry about your nephew. Circle of life or not, it just HURTS.

Mrs. D said...

I tend to think like your sister. Especially now as I am awaiting the birth of our second child. It seems that every time a child is born into our family, we also lose someone. It's the circle of life I guess, but it's odd. And so I am a little hesitant to see what's around our bend.

That is heroic of your nephew and his friends so assist a crash. I cannot imagine what it is like to save a life.

*Akilah Sakai* said...

Isn't that something else? Bittersweet...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Your sister is an amazing woman.

we_be_toys said...

Great story, and a wonderful example of why we have to keep on striving to be the best we can. Your sister truly is an amazing woman, and you guys are all so lucky to have each other!

Under the Influence said...

What a bittersweet story.

That was really nice of your sister to go all the way to OREGON from CT for Bitchy's graduation. That's a long trip. :)

JC said...

There doesn't seem to be any answers for why things happen.
I just keep going on.
It's what you do.

Sue said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes for your family. Life will never make sense, and I guess there are times we really have to just tighten our seatbelts for the journey we are sent on. Kind of makes us appreciate each day we are given.

Take care, Sue

Comedy Goddess said...

We never know how long someone will be with us on Earth.

But we should all really feel them with us even when they are not physically with us anymore.

SkylersDad said...

Standing and applauding Doug!

darsden said...

Wow, gives me chills..

foxy said...

Thanks for sharing such a touching story. Definitely makes you think...

Maureen at IslandRoar said...

We have no idea how strong we are and I don't want to find out.
So sad. Thank you.

anymommy said...

Sometimes it doesn't make any sense. You and your sister handle that fact with so much grace.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

That must have been awesome for all three of you to be pregnant and have kids at almost the same time! Its time like this when I wish I was closer to the rest of my extended family!
A life saved, a life lost. I don't know what to say...your sister is a very wise woman.

Suzy said...

So I guess you're never going to tell the story of how I saved your life.

mo.stoneskin said...

I've often wished for an instruction manual, but then wondered what the hell it would contain.

Sad story. Brave Doug.

Yo is Me said...

brave, beautiful boys.

Fancy Schmancy said...

That choked me up. I remember hearing about that story, what a small world.

Ailurophile said...

A very touching story indeed. Love your writing though, and your blog.

Cjengo said...

So true So true a life lost a life saved. Life can be a handful. What a story, thanks!

Michel said...

Congrats to Bitchy...thank you for sharing that story. It does make you appreciate your loved ones because you never know. Everyone has a purpose.

Joanie said...

Now I want to just sit and sip coffee and try to make sense of things with you, too. And I don't even drink coffee.

Hugs!

Da Goddess
dagoddess.com

Suzanne said...

I can't even imagine how your sister has managed to deal with the pain of losing a child.

namaste said...

through blogging i have met some of the most amazing people. vm, you are certainly one of them. you have a wonderful family and i envy you for that.

this was a beautiful post. thanks for sharing.

only a movie said...

xxxooo, VM. thank you for sharing.

KMcJoseph said...

Sometimes I don't know what to write...

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com said...

My heart just shattered into a million pieces for your sister. I am so so deeply and profoundly sorry for her loss.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

Hugs to you and your sister. Thanks for sharing this story with us, VM.

Kristen said...

Very powerful. Thanks for the much needed reality check. My problems are not really all that bad.

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Lynn MacDonald said...

Wow...I don't actually believe in that gain loss scenario personally since my loss doesn't equal your gain and vice versa...but...I love when people can do something awesome, and then they actually DO IT! Amazing story...my heart goes out to your sister and your entire family. Much love

Pastor Sharon said...

Big hugs. . . to your sister and to you! Love you