Today is Fathers' Day. It is also the 32nd anniversary of the day that I became a father.
My son, Christopher, was born on June 19, 1984. He died on February 10, 2002, in a car accident that shouldn't have claimed his life. This was the last photo ever taken of him. How thankful I am that I was in it too.
Christopher was lying in the back seat, asleep. He wasn't wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car when it spun after impact. The other two people in the car walked away with scratches.
The doctor assured us that Christopher felt no pain and that he didn't even know what happened. There's some comfort in that, I suppose. But had he been wearing a seat belt he would have survived it like the other two did. He would have still been inside the car.
As I wish my son a happy birthday today, and thank him for the blessing of being his father, I put this message out to all parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Teach young people you love to always, always wear seat belts in vehicles. My son is a perfect example of what can happen, even at slower speeds. (They weren't driving over 45mph.)
I don't want sympathy. I've had all the sympathy I need over the last 14 years. I do appreciate your thoughts but that's not my purpose for writing this.
What I want is to bring awareness so none of you have to suffer the loss that I did. Teenagers have a tendency to believe they're invincible and that nothing bad is ever going to happen to them. They need to be taught otherwise.
The law in every state requires seat belts yet many young drivers and/or passengers don't use them. People in the back seat of a vehicle believe they're safe without a seat belt. As I've told you – they're not.
Happy birthday, Christopher. It was an honor being your dad and there's not a day that goes by that you're not on my mind at some point in the day. I miss you – so very much.
Happy Fathers' Day to all you dads out there. Take care of your kids, even as they get older, and remind them that life is far too precious to let a preventable incident take it away.
God bless you all.