Crazy Thoughts?

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by Joe Mudd on December 4, 2011

After your kid leaves this earth you do a lot of thinking – at least I do. I come up with some pretty crazy ideas too.

A few months before Richard died I was involved in a truck crash. My Toyota pickup truck verses a Big Rig. It ran over me on I-64.

It was the first week of February. That winter had been a bad one for driving. We’d had several ice storms. On that night, as I left work for the 45 mile drive home, the roads were clear.

There are two exits for Frankfort, KY on I-64, five miles apart. In the middle is the Kentucky River. You pass one exit and then descend down a long slow decline, cross the river, then drive up a long slow incline back to the top and then pass the second exit.

This area between the Frankfort exits, across the Kentucky River valley, is a moisture magnet. If there is any rain, snow or ice in the air, it will fall between those exits. I’ve been making near daily trips along this stretch of road for more than three decades now, and it’s always been that way.

So I wasn’t a bit surprised when ice started falling as I began to near Frankfort.

It was light at first, but like always it got worse the closer to Frankfort I got. The surface was soon covered in a slush and ice combo. As I passed the first exit the ice was much worse. I slowed down and shifted into 4-wheel drive mode. Driving down the hill toward the river I could feel the road grow slicker. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I slowed down more. As I got close to the bottom of the hill and the Kentucky River bridge I was probably doing between 30 and 35 miles per hour.

As I concentrated on keeping my truck on the road I remember looking up at the rearview mirror. I saw a tractor trailer truck coming up on me fast. I realized he was going to hit me, and there wasn’t a thing either of us could do at that point to keep it from happening. I don’t remember being really afraid about it, it was just a mental calculation of speed and distance, as the headlights rapidly filled my mirror.

The next thing I remember was looking up at the headliner of my truck. The seat was laid backward, so I was facing the roof. The top half of the steering wheel was bent backwards at a 90 degree angle. I grabbed it and pulled myself upright.

The truck was pointed uphill in what appeared to be a woods. The still running pickup (gotta love those Toyotas) was backed down in between several trees. I couldn’t see any road from where my truck sat. I had no idea how I had gotten there.

I unbuckled my seat belt and got out of the truck. There was some guy coming down the hill and asking, “Are you alright?”

I had a bit of a headache, and there seemed to be a bump on the back of my head, but all parts were still attached and moving when I wanted them to, so I told him I was.

I did consent to an ambulance ride to the hospital to be checked out when the medics arrived.

Many hours later the details were filled in.

The truck driver claimed to be doing 60 miles per hour when he rear-ended me. There was a sliding window in my truck cab, and I knocked the section behind the driver seat out with my head.

Got a concussion and a bit of a cut on the back of my head.

My truck was totalled.

I didn’t even remember the truck coming up on me until a couple of hours after the wreck. Until then I thought it was a single vehicle accident.

Everyone tells me I was lucky to still be alive. And that’s where the crazy thoughts come in

Maybe I’m not still alive.

Maybe I was killed in the crash and my body is the one buried near my mom at the cemetery, not Richard’s.

I mean really, couldn’t this be hell?

I know we all think of hell as some big sea of fire. The devil prances around above with some nice cold sweet tea, and just laughs at the bad people as they suffer in the flames. That’s the hell the good Sisters of Mercy taught me about back in my Catholic grade school days.

But wouldn’t that be soft time compared to this?

Maybe when you go to hell you think you’re still alive, and the devil makes bad things happen to your family.

That’s one of the crazy thoughts I’ve had since Richard died.

I wasn’t a saint. I didn’t even get close to it. But I don’t think I was so horrible that God couldn’t forgive me and would send me straight to hell. I’m just guessing at his standards here, but I’ve never felt I was that close to the edge.

So maybe I’m not in hell. And that’s where another crazy thought comes in

Could I have made a deal with the angel of death?

What if I was supposed to die in the crash. But while I was out of it after using my head for a hammer against the rear window, the Grim Reaper offered to let me come back, if I’d offer up one of my beautiful children in my place. Certainly either of them would be a much more valuable catch than me.

I’ve never wanted to die. The thought has always scared the crap out of me. I always liked it here. Sign me up for the immortality juice.

Could I have made a deal? Would I have done something so horrible, just to save myself?

I really love that kid, so I don’t think I would do it. I hope I wouldn’t do it.

I pray I didn’t do it.

So there are just a couple of my crazy thoughts. They are crazy, aren’t they… Or are they? Either of them could have happened. How the heck would I know if they did?

Welcome to the wacky mind of a grieving parent.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary December 15, 2011 at 2:23 am

Found this while googling, looking for relief from another sleepless night. I lost my son in 2009, and I understand the wacky mind of a grieving parent. A few months ago, I fell off a ladder and as I lay on the ground trying to catch my breath and assess the damage, I immediately wondered if I might not be fatally injured, if maybe I would die, lying there in my dining room, and that wouldn’t be so bad, I maybe I could see my son again.

I thought that way when the doc was concerned about a possible lump in my breast (turned out to be totally benign), I even dreamt of being in a car accident and in my dream, part of me was hoping I was dead.

I’m not suicidal, in the sense that I expect I might cause my own death. But I don’t fear it anymore. And I am as OK with dying tomorrow, as I am with living tomorrow, if you know what I mean.

My sympathies to you, and thank you for sharing your thoughts with this sleepless Mom.

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Joe Mudd December 23, 2011 at 4:00 am

Mary, thanks for sharing your story. I’m really sorry you have that story to share.

I know what you mean about no longer fearing death. The thought of dying used to terrify me. Now not so much. I’m not looking to go anytime soon, but I’m not fearful of it.

I do hope when the time comes it’ll be painless, because I’m really just a big chicken when it comes to that pain stuff. But I know death is my only chance to see Richard again. And I look forward to that.

I hope you can get some sleep soon.

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felis March 24, 2012 at 11:36 am

I now what you mean I also lost my son in 2009 and I don’t fear death any more. I ask GOD every day to let me see him . You now parents who lost child change.We will never be the same person again. And some times people just can’t under stand.

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harold March 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm

My son was gone seventeen years ago. I got the call in the middle of the night, from one of my close friends.
My son had be riding in the backseat of a car, the driver lost control, left the road at about seventy five, in a fifty five zone.
The car started doing endos.
It was after the patrolmen left that my son was found. When the tow truck driver was getting the wreckage loaded. I never was for sure whether the truck had run over him or not, but the mortician told me that it was almost certain that the cars bumper had rolled over him after he was ejected.
I guess I was in such shock, I never thought to ask how he surmised that.,Unless his head being about an inch thick was a most telling clue.
Being married at the time(my second), I decided that I didn’t have time to go thru the work of keeping my marriage together, figured if it was meant to be it would, another week and my ex moved out. Then about a year later, she sent me a divorce decree.
You don’t ever ‘get over’ it, things don’t return as normal, I kept my job by working like crazy, and am finally retired.
Now,after getting in trouble with law over not wanting speeders to pass me, I do’t know quite what to do, or where I am at, I know that I eventually would like to meet ‘the one’, but that may be some time yet.
Then I was listening to a radio progeam that mentioned the government wanting to put blackboxes into cars, to prove when someone was lying about there speed, etc.
It was then I realized how foolish that was, why worry or even waste our time with liers?
They we telling us that last year alone, the deaths of seventeen and eighteen year old drivers have gone up by nineteen percent!I don’t know what the total number of deaths is, but can’t we do something about saving lives?
The Colorado state patrol on its car doors, says Public Safety.
When was the last time we have seen Public Safety in an enforceable package?

IF we pay attention to what we have in front of us, what do we have?
We have cell phones that can send a message to a friend in another city!
We have started putting computer chips into almost every car built.
Why not put directional emmitters on every speed limit sign, that can send a signal to our cars, to control our maximum speed? That way it can cut back on our throttle.
We start with the highest speed limit signs, and working our way down to the slowest speeds, take control over the biggest cause of accidents?
Almost everyone has driven a car equipped with cruise control, is it comfortable? In a single word,YES!
Give the on-board computers control over our maximum speeds, kick in only above the speed limit!

So sorry about your loss, but don’t you think there may be a better way?

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Ashleigh February 25, 2012 at 8:46 am

Mary and Joe, I am so sorry for your loss and for sharing your experience which will be of so much help to others, including myself. Our 2 year old son Noah died on 25 Janary 2012, 3 weeks before I was due to give birth again. We had thought throughout the pregnancy that we were having another boy. During the 3 weeks leading up to the birth I began to convince myself that I was growing a new body for Noah and that he was on his way back to us. When the baby arrived on 14th Feb, we were surprised that a precious little girl arrived. She looks a little like Noah but I think the fact that she is a girl has helped to pull me away from those crazy thoughts. We named her Daisy as that was one of the few words Noah had before his illness impacted on his development and he lost his speech. Now we will always have a lovely little echo if him round the house when we say her name.

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Susan B December 17, 2012 at 12:40 am

The heart actually controls the thoughts in our head. If the heart is broken, the head doesn’t work so well. So sometimes we get reality and make believe mixed up. Let’s face it, after you lose a child reality doesn’t have the attraction it used to.

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Sabina February 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I lost my 22 years old son in 2011. He was my only child. My world ended that day. In the beginning I was thinking that I was being punished by God for some sin I might have committed. One day while I was praying the thought came to my mind that maybe I was not being punished. Instead he was my reward for 22 years. We were so close to each other that we spent every moment with each other. Both of preferred each other’s company over our friends. In those days when I used to pray, I used to end by saying that I’ve nothing to ask because I was content. I was in heaven. I guess you can not be in heaven while on earth, so he was taken away. Like most of you I’m not afraid to die. Actually I’m waiting for it because I had a glimpse of heaven for 22 years. I know he is waiting for me, and together we will be in heaven no matter where we are. This is my crazy thought.

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john April 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Cannot comment at this time I pray one day I can share my story about my daughter I love you Lauren daddy 6/27/86. 9/10/10

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Leanne July 21, 2013 at 7:15 am

I have had the same crazy thought. Maybe I am in a coma and dreaming that my son has gone from us, maybe I will wake from my coma one day. Life goes on as normal, for everybody else. Only me in a coma with these silly, crazy thoughts. I lost my son when he was 27 years old from a brain tumour. Why my son? He had everything to live for, he was about to be engaged to a lovely girl, he was a software engineer, a pianist, a cyclist, a photographer, a soccer player, full of life. Why him?

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john July 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

Lost my daughter 9/10/10 still to hard to talk about.

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