Eleven years ago today, our lives were forever changed. Tim, then 16, and Mitch, then 13, left early in the morning to hunt geese on the north side of the canyon their friend, Ryan, 16.
I was braiding Mollie's hair before her basketball game when the phone rang and Chuck (Ryan's dad) was on the other end. He told me that the boys had been in a car accident and were in the hospital. He assured me that my boys were walking and talking but added that Ryan wasn't doing as well. I dropped Mollie off at the gym and asked another dad to coach my team and keep Mollie with him.
I got to the hospital in about 30 minutes and discovered the seriousness of the situation. Tim's injuries were superficial. Mitch was to be loaded into an ambulance and taken to Boise because his spleen was torn. Ryan was air flighted to Boise with severe head trauma. I rode along in the ambulance praying the entire 100 miles. Mike made sure Tim and Mollie were supervised and then headed to Boise with our parents.
Several hours after we were at the hospital, Ryan's grandfather told Mike and I that we should come say good bye to Ryan. His family had decided to remove him from life support and donate his organs. Ryan died with minutes. Mike returned home to tell our kids and I stayed with Mitchell at St. Al's.
I have such strong memories. Eleven years seems like so long ago and yet, merely months ago. Our families now share an incredible bond. We have experienced real joy in the years since but there is always the emptiness of our loss.
Tonight we will make our annual trip to the cemetery and release balloons. As I write this, I am wondering who Ryan would be as a 27 year old man and I am so thankful for the very lives of my sons.