Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nick Adenhart

Unless you've spent the better part of the last 2 days under a rock, you're aware that Nick Adenhart, pitcher for the California Angels, was killed yesterday morning in a car accident. The vehicle he was riding in was hit by a drunk driver. Of the other three people in the car with Adenhart, two, Henry Pearson and Courtney Stewart, were also killed; the third (Jon Wilhite), is in critical but stable condition.

Eventually everyone loses members of their families. Each death is a sad occasion, but death affects everyone differently. If your uncle, who lives on the opposite coast, dies, it's a sad event in your life; but it won't hit you as hard as it does your mother, who's lost her older brother.

You lose a member of your immediate family, however, the pain is sharp, the grief real, the loss profound.

I lost my father three years ago to cancer, and that was really hard. But we knew he was dying when the cancer was diagnosed. I new he had had a full life, albeit shorter than I wanted (he was 65). And deep down, I knew that eventually I would spend time on this planet without him. I wanted it to be a long time in the future, but I knew eventually he would be called away.

I can fathom the pain Nick's father feels right now, but not its depth, or its weight. Reflecting on how he must feel creates a lump in my throat, because I know I would be devastated to have to bury one of my sons.

You're not supposed to outlive your kids. You're not supposed to have your child suddenly taken from you without warning.

Wednesday Mr. Adenhart sat in the stands and watched his son throw six scoreless innings against the Oakland A's. Thursday he sat at his son's locker weeping.

The Angels have rallied around him and his family. This will help, although it can't ease the pain, or mitigate the loss. Only time will do that, even though it will never fully make those whom Nick, or Courtney, or Henry touched whole.

I hope the Angels extend a hand to the Stewart and Pearson families as well. Nick Adenhart's untimely death is national news because he was a professional baseball player; those two families' grief is just as profound. They need support too. Nick thought enough of Henry and Courtney, and Jon, to celebrate the highlight of his professional career (to date) with them, and they shouldn't be swept aside.

The 22-year old kid who drove the minivan has been charged with 3 counts of murder, among other things. There have been a lot of calls for his incarceration/execution, in various online forums. At first I agreed with that sentiment; then I began to wonder how tragic someone's life has to be to have a drunk driving conviction, and a suspended license, at 22. His life is over; if convicted, he'll spend the rest of his life behind bars, and he will pay the price for his errors in judgment. My thirst for revenge has been replaced by pity.

No winners. Just dreams unfulfilled, families shattered, lives ruined.