A Father’s Tears tells the true story of David McColl and his journey through the depths of grief after the loss of his 19-year-old son, Tony. Tony was the designated driver at a rural house party, tasked with ensuring his younger sister got home safely. On the way home, Tony was killed in a head-on collision with a young man being pursued by police as a suspected drunk driver. McColl’s book is an inspiration, showing how he and his family have coped with the loss of their beloved Anthony with honesty, love and even humor.
And now, an excerpt from A Father’s Tears…
It was a long drive. Only one hour, but running all of the possible scenarios through my head made it seem like an eternity.
I pondered a broken bones scenario possibly caused by a long boarding accident. Suddenly a vision of my son connected to a multitude of machines and in a coma flashed through my mind. No, not my Anthony. He was too good for that. We were too good for that to happen to us. Death? I don’t recall the thought of my son dying entering my mind during the long drive to the hospital.
I do remember something about that drive that I recalled after leaving the hospital some two hours later. If anyone drives in rural areas of North America, it’s not uncommon to see numerous roadside memorials for people that have died in car accidents. I’ve noticed many of them over the years. Hastily constructed crosses with “R.I.P.” and the nickname of the deceased, surrounded by an assortment of mementoes, flowers and teddy bears honoring the victim or victims. I would often think about who had died here. Who was it? Who did they leave behind? I also used to think to myself, I live in a community of about 60,000 people. Someone we all know is going to have their own little road side grotto as a result of a crash, but who and when? Will it be one of the kids we know that has a penchant for getting into mischief? Some kid new to driving, getting in over his head going through a corner? Well, it won’t be us. We’re good people, our kids do well in school. They don’t take drugs. Monica and I have worked very hard to teach Anthony and Alanna the right way to live. Get involved in the community, be good at school and be polite, etc. And it worked. They are model kids and people tell us so. We don’t deserve a sad and pathetic roadside memorial, those are for other people.
In the past I remember distinctly thinking as I drove by the far too many memorials, “some poor teenager either killed himself or someone driving erratically killed him, poor bastard.”
Another thing that came to mind a few days later was how everything around us during that drive to the hospital was grey and dull. No color, spring still a few weeks away. One thing did stand out though. As we drove to the hospital, I recall counting four of those sad roadside memorials. I also recalled that at each of those memorials (it appeared that) someone had left fresh flowers. I remember now noticing how vivid the color of the flowers were at each memorial and thinking, “wow, someone is really taking care of these sacred places.”
In the weeks that followed those flowers would haunt me. The prophecy of what was to come.