This I Believe

Charles - Monroe, North Carolina
Entered on April 20, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: death

I feel life has thrown curve balls and how I’ve decided to swing has made me who I am today.

As a child I learned that if I wanted something I was going to have to save my money and buy it. As a teenager, nothing had changed, but my drive to save and someday have something that I could be proud of. At the age of 27, I finally felt as if I had reached “my” American dream, a two story house, corvette convertible, boat, truck and a job that I was good at and loved. The same year I married Amy Carter, we seemed to have it all. Some days I can remember standing in my yard and thinking that I am so lucky.

Four years later I decided to better myself by attending a local community college, my normal routine was to work in the morning and then every other evening I was either in school or running my own part time electrical company. I can remember trying to study with sticky notes plastered across my dash while driving to my next job, I had turned into a workaholic student.

Monday, January 19, 1998, I had just left work and was on my way home to work on a home project. School had just started two weeks ago and I had finished all my side work which allowed me to be at home. About six o’clock that evening the Mathews police department called and said my wife had been in a car accident and that I needed to go to the hospital. As I arrived at the hospital, I remember telling the nurse at the help desk that I needed to see Amy Smith. The nurse gave me an odd look and said that I should go to the small room across the hall. As I took a seat, there were six nurses, one police officer and the trauma doctor walking in behind me. The doctor said “I’m sorry we did everything we could.” At that moment I felt as if someone drained the life out of me. Four days later I buried my wife.

Weeks later I had sign papers at Amy’s employer, as I was talking to her manager I mentioned to her that John, her IT consultant talked to me about wiring the computer system for her radiology firm. She gave me that same odd look and said that after John left the funeral home, he was hit by two trucks on the way home and died instantly.

Today, I try to be my best towards family and friends because I’ve realized that priorities can change in an instant and who I am today may be the way I’ll be remembered.