You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

I haven’t blogged all week because I’ve been insanely busy with these munchkins of mine! It’s such a hectic time of year… gifts to buy, wrap and ship; holiday parties for the kids (school, sports, friends) not to mention those for me; and the ongoing things that come along with having three children. I’ve been thinking about the blog all week but have fallen into bed exhausted each night thinking that I would blog tomorrow so here it is, finally….. 

I was talking to a friend of mine the other night about how Steve died and it got me thinking about how much I endured in losing him and how far I’ve come since then. I’ve healed but I’ve also had to let go or I could be really angry with the way things turned out for us. Let me tell you about some of the things that happened….

When Steve was killed on that motorcyle, it was the beginning of an ordeal that would last almost two years. My first order of business (after the funeral, of course) was to hire a lawyer. I was told that I needed one since it was a large box truck that hit him and everyone (even the police) were assuming it was some kind of business truck. At 33 years old, I knew nothing about hiring a lawyer to sue a company for killing my husband! It was absurd to me and felt like I was living in an awful nightmare. So, I hired one and I honestly do not remember how I found him. I am sure that someone recommended him to me but I have no idea who it was. Steve’s parents went with me to speak to him and he seemed nice enough; I signed a contract without really understanding what I was doing. This was within a WEEK of Steve being killed. I was pregnant and had started taking anti-depressants. I felt as if I was living underwater because everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. I couldn’t understand anything that had happened so I just did what others told me to do. It was almost as if I had become a child again because my decision making skills were so impaired.

In any case, after speaking to another mother at my daughter’s preschool, I learned that the lawyer I hired was overcharging me! She told me to fire him immediately and that she would help me get a legitimate lawyer. This woman was a lawyer herself so I trusted her. I fired the first lawyer immediately. She referred me to her brother’s law firm and they took my case pro bono. I was in much better hands.

Once the lawyers were hired, they went about the business of trying to settle my  insurance claims. I had three insurance companies fighting over who was going to pay me and how much. The truck that killed Steve was not a business truck as everyone had previously thought. It belonged to the father of the driver and was, in fact, underinsured. Since there wasn’t much insurance on it, our motorcyle and car insurance companies were responsible for paying me. The lawyers spent several months hammering out the details of our insurance policies so that I could get the maximum amount due to me. In the meantime, the wrecker company that was holding the totaled motorcyle called my house to see if I was coming to pick it up. I was technically still the owner since the insurance companies had not paid for it yet. I was devastated. I told them I didn’t want the bike and that I didn’t care what they did with it but to please never call me again. Then, I began getting letters from the Secretary of State because the motorcycle didn’t have insurance on it. Of course it didn’t! It was totaled! Again, another reminder of how my beloved husband’s life ended and another phone call for me to make so that I could grieve in peace.

But, there would be no peace for a very long time. As more details of the accident emerged, it was discovered that the man who hit Steve actually saw him coming. He thought he couldn’t stop so he sped up. Steve laid his bike down as he slid underneath the truck and the driver stopped. Instead of getting out to see the person that he hit, however, this man thought it would be best to get his truck out of the lane of traffic so he completed his turn, dragging my husband with his truck. There were witnesses to the accident who saw him stop and then start moving again. Who does that with a person underneath the vehicle??? He was charged with Vehicular Homicide and the long criminal ordeal started. It would be two years before I faced Steve’s killer in court and watched him get sentenced to one year of probation and a $1000 fine payable to our church (I was allowed to pick a charity that meant a lot to me and Steve). I walked out of that courtroom and I let go. I let go of the hope for justice. I let go of the hate for that man. I can’t say that I forgive him; I just don’t give him any of my thoughts because he doesn’t deserve them.

There are so many other things that happened during those two years but I will leave them for another post. Writing about my experiences helps me to heal but I believe that it also offers hope. Hope that if I can survive, then you can too. I’ve come a long way since those days when I was so traumatized that I couldn’t even make a decision for myself. I am whole again. I am ready to love again. I am happy again. Steve would be proud of me, and I am sure of that.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Colleen Bohn
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 22:49:35

    Wow your an amazing woman, your husband would be so proud , Mary:)) Love to you all:))



  2. Doris Cooley
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 07:55:21

    Oh, Mary…I never knew the details of Steve’s death until I read your post. I feel like starting a rant about the justice system, but that wouldn’t help anyone. I do feel the penalties should have been stiffer…but in the end, you can’t execute someone for bad judgment and poor decision making in a crisis situation. I guess it’s enough to know that he’ll be living with the emotional and karmic consequences of his actions for the rest of his life. When Bill died, I heard his voice constantly inside my head, encouraging me, telling me what the healthiest course of action was in every situation. I know it was him, because never before and never since have I enjoyed such positive self-talk. For ever widow or widower, the two or three years following their spouse’s death is a watershed time… I think each of us makes a decision whether we will recover or not during this time. Many do not. Congratulations on your decision to live again fully.



    • Mary
      Dec 10, 2011 @ 08:05:13

      I still hear Steve sometimes although it’s usually just his laugh when I have done something that would crack him up! Thanks, Doris. Love you.



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