Thursday, December 07, 2006

Teenage Tragedies

by Joyce Tremel

Most of you have heard about the two teenagers from Shaler who were killed in motor vehicle accidents in the past two weeks, and the teenager who fell from the trunk of a moving vehicle several weeks before that. Although I don't know any of the families involved, I can't help feeling almost overcome by their loss. To me, losing a child would be the worst thing that could happen. Any other loss would be tolerable, but not the death of your flesh and blood.

It's even affected the guys I work with. One said this morning, "I never thought I'd be going to the funerals of two teenagers in the same week. It makes me realize my problems are nothing." This guy has a son (a senior at Shaler) who has had some major health issues in recent months and just had a feeding tube removed.

In the writing community, I recently read that agent Daniel Greenberg lost his two year old son, Samuel in a car accident. Samuel and his one year old brother were thrown from the vehicle, still in their child safety seats. Samuel was killed. His brother survived and both his parents suffered from head injuries.

As a writer, I hope to somehow remember these devastating feelings of loss, but as a mother, I don't like them one bit. I want to push them aside. I don't want to feel vulnerable. I don't want to think it could happen to me. So, I'll let myself grieve with these parents briefly, then I'll tuck the feelings away for another day.

I know Thanksgiving is over, but I want everyone to be thankful for what they have. I want everyone to hug their family members, especially their children. Even if they're big, bad teenagers, tell them that you love them. Sure, they'll be surprised--or suspicious. They could think you're nuts. If you're lucky, they might even hug you back.


Kristine said...

Very touching post, Joyce.

I remember when I was in high school and a classmate was killed in a car accident. She sat beside me in home room. After she died, I kept looking at her empty seat and mourning the loss of such a short life.

Tory said...

I remember in a training I took on grieving, the teacher talked about one mother who lost her teenage son in a motorcycle accident. As she was cleaning up his room, she found a dirty pair of underwear under the bed. She put it in a plastic bag and, when her grief got too much, would take a "snort" of it.

I always wondered if I'd ever use it in a story, but I haven't found a place yet.

Gina said...

Car wrecks are rough. My younger brother died in one when he was only 21. It's difficult enough to adjust to death when someone had been ill for awhile; it's something else entirely when it's sudden -- now you see him, now you don't. There was a closed casket, but my mother was concerned that the funeral director hadn't laid my brother out properly so, accompanied by my cousin's husband -- a Monroeville cop -- I was given a private viewing of his body. I was able to report that he had been laid out wearing the suit my mother had brought to the funeral parlor. I think seeing him helped me adjust to his death better than just being told he was dead. Luckily, he wasn't badly disfigured, just bruised as if he'd been in a fight. The funeral director explained that the main reason for closing the casket was the extent of his injuries -- embalming fluid kept leaking out. That really creeped me out, but I'm still glad I got to see him.

Joyce said...

I'm so sorry! I can only imagine having to go through something so devastating. I'm glad that seeing him helped you, though.