Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I woke up this morning thinking about Paul. He was 24 when he died 13 years ago.

He was my cousin. I can still picture his face and I'm glad. He was funny and handsome. He also had a lot of anger in him but I don't know why and now I'll never know.

He had wonderful parents, two sisters and a brother. He was living with his girlfriend and they had two young kids.

He had just bought a new car and was letting his friend drive it. He was sitting in the backseat with another friend, and a fourth friend was in the passenger seat. The guy driving was speeding. He was speeding on purpose. It was a game they all played. They would speed in areas where they knew cops liked to park and use radar to catch speeders.

Sure enough, they went speeding by a cop who pulled out after them with his lights flashing and siren screaming. Part of the game was to try and outrun the police, so of course they didn't stop. The friend drove faster and faster until he lost control. The car went off the road, hit a big tree and exploded.

The cop tried to help but the fire was too bad and he couldn't get the car door open. He said he thought he heard one of the boys screaming. I hope it wasn't Paul. They all died.

Paul's sisters were in another car behind him. They weren't speeding or trying to outrun the police. They didn't see Paul's car hit the tree and came upon the accident right after the car exploded. They didn't realize at first it was their brother's car and that everyone was inside dying.

All that was left of Paul was a foot. The funeral director wouldn't let Paul's mother see it because he was worried it would be too much for her. So, she insisted Paul's older brother look at the foot to make sure it was Paul's. Just in case. Just in case this could all be a nightmare.

Paul's mother died suddenly from a brain aneurism about 6 years ago.

Goodbye Paul, goodbye Rita. I miss you.


Blogger Heather said...

What a horrific and entirely needless death. I am so sorry that you lost your cousin and your aunt.

1/05/2006 1:14 AM  
Blogger The Gradual Gardener said...

There's nothing anyone can say to you that will make this better. Except maybe this: Today, when my teenager comes home from school, I will make her read this post. She's a pretty responsible kid, and I hope she stays that way and will never be tempted to do what Paul did. But maybe, a few years from when they're all older, she'll overhear a friend of a friend contemplating this sort of thing, and maybe, just maybe, she'll tell her friend about Paul's experience, who will then pass it along. Maybe the fact that you posted this today will save a life a few years from now.

Anyone else out there with teenagers who reads this should do the same.

1/05/2006 10:24 AM  
Blogger Katherine said...

Thanks for the kind words Heather and gradual gardener. I still remember how angry my own mother was at Paul. I didn't understand how she could be angry at him for dying, but now I do. As a mother, she felt Paul's mother's immense pain. She was angry he put her through that because he didn't think of the consequences. But kids often don't, do they? They think they're immortal and that nothing bad can ever happen to them. Sadly, it can and does.

1/05/2006 11:57 AM  
Blogger Mama B said...

That is a very sad story. A lesson can be learned from all of this. I am going to let me 15 year old daughter read this. She just turned 15 and has been bugging me about taking a drivers ed course so she could get her permit. I don't think she should be so anxious.
People have to remember that there are going to be consequences for bad choices.

1/06/2006 3:06 PM  

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