On 14 April, Grandpa Leo passed away at the ripe old age of 90. For those of you who don't know my family, this is my half sister, Terri's Grandpa. Which is my step-dad's father. My mom and my step-dad split up gosh, maybe 10 years ago or more? They were married for the majority of my childhood and I still consider his family, my family. I didn't end up having a big wedding (I got married in a courthouse with two witnesses, lol) but if I had, I always planned to have my dad and my step-dad (John) walk me down the aisle. I mean, he was there for everything, sometimes more then my Biological dad.
Saturday was his funeral and there was a lot to do before hand. I went and picked up my Bountiful Basket and since I didn't have Uriah that day due to the funeral, I went in at 6 instead of 7, to volunteer. We had friends coming over to help set-up Gideon's swing set so I stopped at the store for some beer and lunch meat for sandwiches. On my way back about 7:45ish, Michael calls to tell me that some stupid kid in his Battery got into an accident and a DUI the night before so he had to go into work at noon for who knows how long. Of course this really sucked because not only was Michael working on the swing set, but he was supposed to have Gideon all day so I wouldn't have to bring him to the funeral.
As soon as I got home, I hurried and got myself and Gideon ready while Michael went outside to start on the swing set. We had to call my friends to tell them not to show up until Michael got back from work but we didn't know when that would be. I called my mom to see if she was going to the memorial, which she was, so I couldn't leave Gideon with her. She wasn't going to the graveside so I could have left him with her then but that wasn't the part I was really worried about, it was the memorial at the church where I thought he would get ansy.
11:00 was the graveside funeral, and after picking up Terri and her BF Travis and meeting up with John, we were there. The weather was beautiful as I mentioned which made for a really nice funeral. Grandpa Leo was retired Air Force and a lifetime VFW member so the VFW were at out as well as two Active Duty Air Force. Gideon sat down on the ground during most of it but stayed quiet for the most part. He was playing with a graveside marker, which was kind of awkward but I guess it's not that big of a deal considering we had chairs sitting on more of them as well. The two Active Duty guys draped the flag over the coffin and also folded the flag up when it was time to give to the family. How embarrassing for them though as it took the one folding three times to fold it up correctly! I couldn't believe it. The VFW guys also did a gun salute and played Taps in respect of Grandpa Leo. During Taps a Eagle flew in the sky, it really couldn't have been more beautiful. God definitely showed his blessings for his son.
Afterwards, we hurried to the church where they had lunch set up for the family before the memorial started at 1:00. My mom called and said she wasn't coming to the funeral any more but she was on her way to pick up Gideon. I met her out in the parking lot, so it worked out nicely because Gideon was definitely wound up after eating lunch. When I went back in, I saw my Aunt Kathy. The VFW guys had given her the shell casings from the salute at the funeral to give to all of the grand kids and she wanted me to have one. This of course made me tear up and get all weepy because I always feel like the family wonders why I'm there since John's not married to my mom any more... I figure they think I just tag along as Terri's sister, not as an actual family member. That casing meant a lot to me, and I'm very thankful that I was given one. I had a talk with my Aunt Julie about it later and she told me that I was counted just as much as the rest of them. This really was a day that ended up meaning a lot to me besides the obvious.
Afterwards, I went and picked Gideon up, and went to my Aunt Kathy's for a family get together. Gideon got to run around with some other kids and I got to hang out and visit with some of the family. It was a sad reason to get together but we all knew that Grandpa Leo was in a better place.
I talked to Michael on the way home and found out that he only had to be at work for 30 min so minus the drive time there and back, he was able to be back working on the swing set by 1:00 and our friend's showed up a little after that. When I came home later, they were on step 18 of 50 (ha ha) but had a good start. We stayed up till 10 that night working on it some more because we wanted it done the next day.
The day started off fine. We woke up to another beautiful day so Michael went outside and started on the swing set, first thing. Sheleah and Mike were stopping by around 1:00 or so whenever their hockey game that they were watching was over. I had picked up a sand and water table the day before that had been sitting at John's house since last summer when I came home to visit from Korea. It was a Christmas present from my Grandpa Mel and Grandma Rosie for Gideon. I didn't set it up when we were home because I didn't really have anywhere to leave it set up, so I had just left it sitting in the box in my car that was being stored at John's house. So while Michael was working on the swing set, Gideon had me put together the sand table for him. We didn't have any sand so we just filled up the water part but he was having a blast with it.
Around 2:30 or so, as I'm sitting outside enjoying the sun, hanging out with Sheleah while Gideon and Uriah were running around, I got a phone call. My brother Bruce was in an accident the night before and was at Harborview with a broken neck. They said he could move but he was having surgery the next day. I was pretty upset but didn't think I'd be able to drive up there since I was babysitting. Michael told me to go ahead and go and Sheleah said she'd help with the kids while the guys finished the swing set as well.
I drove to Harborview, which is in Seattle, about a 50 min drive from my house. When I got to the hospital pretty much all of my family was already there. Bruce was laying down and had a big neck brace on and wasn't supposed to move his body at all but he was physically able to. When he wasn't dozing he was actually texting friends letting them know he was OK. He was pretty scratched up, it looked like he had glass taken out of his hands, and his ear had been stitched up as well. He wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything because they weren't for sure on when he'd be going into surgery and if it ended up being that night, he had to be food and liquid free.
While at the hospital and talking to different family members, I found out what happened. Him and his roommate Brandon and a friend Kyle were out at a bar celebrating. Brandon had turned 21 two weeks prior, and Kyle had just turned 21 (Bruce turns 22 in a couple months). All Bruce remembers is climbing into the back seat and passing out and being woken up by Kyle telling him he needed to crawl out of the truck. They had been in an accident and couldn't find Brandon so they though he had already climbed out. He was taken to the Puyallup hospital to be checked out and I'm not for sure when he found out, but Brandon had been thrown from the truck and was found in the bushes, killed instantly.
Kyle, who was driving, had hurt his arm, I'm not really for sure the specifics on what happened to it but that it was broken, or fractured? Bruce was up and coherent at the hospital and they thought he was fine other then the obvious and were going to discharge him. Bruce didn't call anyone because he was didn't want to wake anyone up when he was being discharged. Luckily they did x-rays of some sort and realized that he couldn't be discharged because he had broken his neck. We later found out it was a clean break so it would be fixed easily. Thank you God! They then sent him to Harborview as that is the local trauma center where he then called his mom (my former step-mom), and my brother Nate started calling other family to let us know what was going on.
We had been told that Bruce was going to be having surgery today but they weren't able to get him in until 3:00 or so. The surgery was successful and they fused his vertebrae together. He'll be in a neck brace for 3 months but is up and about now and should hopefully be released by tomorrow. Other then some limited flexibility in his neck, he will completely recover physically.
|This is where the accident occurred|
In 2009 there was 232 alcohol related fatalities in the state of Washington. In the state of Washington, a person charged with Vehicular Homicide can be convicted of a Class A Felony which carries a life sentence however they will more then likely only serve 31 - 177 months. In this situation, the lives of three 21 year olds is forever changed. They were/are so young, but this night can never be taken back.
Please don't drink and drive! Don't ride with someone else that is drinking. Have a plan before you start drinking of how you're going to get home. Call someone if you need a ride! The accident that the kids were in was roughly a block away from the bar. A block away! Please don't chance it, and get help.
Edit 4/25/2012: News article from accident