About This Site

Coping with Causing a Serious Accident
A Site for Information, Support, and Healing

Who We Are

We are good people who have unintentionally harmed others, in accidents occurring on the roads, at work, at play, or around the home. I call us CADI’s (Causing Accidental Death or Injury). Most of us feel grief, guilt, and distress about our accidents. Over time, we learn that our mistake does not have to define us.

maryannWho I am

I am a social psychologist and educator. I am also a CADI, as a result of an accident in which an 8-year old boy ran in front of my car and was killed. I have been talking with and writing about CADIs for over ten years.


There is no easy path to peace. Each of us must find our own way through this dark night of the soul. Although we cannot change what happened, we can control how we respond. I believe that CADI’s face three challenges:

In this site, I share information and resources that may be helpful to you. I encourage you to share your ideas and experience. You can write me privately here, or add your comments so that other readers can benefit from your input.

218 thoughts on “About This Site”

  1. Where to start?
    One story here is more moving and more sad than the next. From that I take a little solace that I am not alone. There are the nightmares, the guilt, the engulfing sadness, the realisation that even though it was an accident, I caused a life to end. How do I live with that? How dare I drink wine or feel sun on my face when she can not. I too, was not drunk, on drugs, on the phone or speeding. She was walking at the side of the road. I did not see her. I am being prosecuted for dangerous driving causing death. I will get a suspended sentence and lose my licence. I am a single mother of 2. One child being autistic. My children are very young. They only have me. Their dad, my husband of 16 years had just left us before Christmas and the accident was just after Christmas. My husband saw us 3 at the side of the road, with my smashed car, he saw us in the ambulance and he saw us in a &e when we learned of the lady’s death and that night my husband moved into a new apartment even though we 3 could have been killed that night. He moved into his new apartment with my once best friend who lived directly across the road from me who left her own two children to take up with my husband. And she knew a woman had just been killed and she also just walked away from her children. And my husband never came back. He never asked how his two little boys were. We are all in counselling. I have attempted suicide, damaged my heart, been out of work for 8.5 months and still every day I still have to get up, get my boys ready for school, lunches, uniforms, homework, dinner, dog walking, movies, holidays, play dates etc because I have no choice. Whilst I know what lies ahead legally, I cling hoping for a better future.

  2. I’ve never found anywhere to discuss this stuff other than this website.
    I would be willing to talk to her though, I would have given anything to talk to someone 3 years ago after my accident.
    If you are interested I will give her my email. I’m 34, in my accident I ran over and killed my friends 17month old daughter. It has been the hardest journey of my life, and have found very little support for this sort of thing.

    1. We have a support group/closed/private on Facebook of all CADIs so we can interact directly, one-on-one, and it’s been wonderful, educational, and super helpful. It reflects back to this website and Maryann’s tremendous work/voice, too. But allows support and direct communication between carefully-screened members. Anyone that wants to talk to others can reach myself or Jennifer at admin@accidentalcasualties.com

  3. Just prior to spring break in the final semester of my senior year of my undergraduate studies in Milwaukee, I was walking to class three abreast with two friends when we came upon the crosswalk in front of the university library on Wisconsin Avenue at 14th Street and a car protruded into the crosswalk causing the three of us to each take one step to the left and into traffic where a municipal bus struck me directly on the wallet in the left rear pocket of my jeans and propelled me 10-15 feet through the air onto the sidewalk and into the grass, ripping my sweatshirt at the elbow but otherwise leaving me unharmed except for a deep hematoma that blackened my left leg for several weeks after the incident. I spoke briefly with the bus driver and we exchanged names, and I urgently asserted to him that I had an extremely important mid-term exam for which I could not afford to be late, with the result that he would have to deal with the traffic jam and police report without my assistance. The incident was clearly caused by my friends and I because we were oblivious of the municipal bus obliviously traversing the busy thoroughfare. I lost the name of the bus driver and we never reconnected. I did not consult a physician and my leg healed and I graduated. I hope the bus driver got over it.

  4. My brother was 5 years old when he was struck by a car at sunset on a street near our home. Our babysitter and I stood close enough to hold hands with my brother when he stepped out between two parked cars and was completely run over by the car driven by our neighbor who never even saw him in the slanting rays of the setting sun. The impact shattered his femur and fibia and tibia and the ambulance took him to the hospital while I raced home on foot to tell my disbelieving mother the incomprehensible story. He ultimately recovered after spending weeks in traction, months in a body cast and wheelchair, and nearly losing his leg to gangrene. His recovery was nearly complete except for the post traumatic stress disorder that continues to plague him fifty years later in 2018, costing him several years of temporary disability due to depression and sheer inability to work/function along with a variety of inexplicable symptoms. It was clearly an accident caused entirely by my 5-year old brother, and we quickly forgave our neighbor and got on with our lives.

  5. I just read your story on BBC News Maryann and I am so glad you have attached this website.

    In 2016, I caused a major traffic accident between myself and another vechile when I went to turn at a junction but was blinded by the sun. I remember watching the car rolling three times and stopping in a nearby field. I just remember screaming and crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. All I could think about was my accident may have caused the death of another person.

    Thankfully, the other driver (an older man) had been travelling alone and was completely fine apart from shock. The thought that still sticks with me today is knowing that if I had of turned a second later then I and the man would have been dead. This is still very difficult for me to talk or think about. I still get flashbacks when I’m driving and often stick to well below the speed limit just in case I make the same mistake again.

    I was 19 years old and had only been driving properly for over a year. My friends called me a safe driver and someone they could trust. Now I am terrified to drive them anywhere.

    I don’t know how the man is doing now because I never got his name. I hope he is doing ok and knows that it was just an accident. I just feel so bad for anyone at the junction who had to witness it. Knowing that I could have murdered someone is the worst feeling in the world – especially for someone like me who suffers from extreme anxiety and depression already.

    Thank you to everyone else who has shared their story. I feel better knowing that I am not the only one feeling this way.

  6. Dear Maryann

    Greeting from Brazil! I’ve finished reading your BBC article and I’m moved about your words. My father died in a car accident due to a frontal collision caused by the other driver. The other driver also died immediately. The driver was speeding to get home in time to his son’ s 1st birthday party. It is so hard for me, as a family member, to accept the driver’s family condolences, but reading your article made me rethink my approach to that family.

    Best wishes,

  7. Maryann, thank you.

    I’ve read your article on BBC UK and impressed with your strength in talking about this. Sharing something that has been so difficult for you to bear for many years has already helped others, I can see.

    I am deeply affected by your experience, and have tears in my eyes for the pain you and Brian’s family have known. I hope that the future continues to bring peace, along with the sadness.

    Two things I can identify with. First, I have a friend, a gentle and kind woman in her 60s who hit and killed a toddler when she was driving in her 30s with a family of her own. It was an accident and she was not at fault, but the despair and pain she went through at the time and since is real and humbling. As you know, there is a layer of sadness and memory for her that even time cannot take away, and I believe we are made more sensitive and sympathetic by knowing her.

    Secondly, I personally watched my wife as a young woman pass through terrible, traumatic and irreversible health conditions that, through no fault of hers, shattered our dreams for the future. We have known denial, depression and great grief and cannot always find words to talk about it, but slowly experienced healing and peace in small ways.

    Our lives are a gift, we cannot choose when to arrive or go, and God is in control. Thank you for your strength to express your experience and suffering. Please keep teaching people that recovery is possible, even from the most terrible events.

    1. I had a similar experience.. in October 2014 a 12 year old boy ran out in front of my car, he was taken to hospital by air ambulance, he died from traumatic brain injuries the next day, I was asked to give details at the inquest which was deemed accidental death as he literally ran out in front of me and I had no time to react,
      It has totally ruined my life, I am highly stressed, irrational and irratable with a heavy heart and terrible sense of loss and guilt, .
      This site is the first time I’ve found someone who’s emotions I can identify with so much, , I will continue to read more of your site, ,
      Thank you

      1. Hi I was driving to a friends house after work one Friday in 2017 when a 12 year old boy ran out in front of me like most people on this website I had seconds to react I tried to swerve to miss him but couldn’t stop and hit him front on ,when he ran out he was looking at the other side of the road he didn’t even turn to see me until the split second I hit him he flew a good 30 meters down the road I thought he was dead it was like time had stoped luckily he got up and walked away I can’t believe he wasn’t seriously injured I think I was in more shock than he was ,he tried to run home because he thought he would b in trouble I grabbed his head feeling if he had any injury’s and hugged him and an ambulance came and took him to hospital , I was in contact with his parents over the next couple of days and he was fine but I wasn’t, it really shook me deep to my core, a lady on the side of the road witnessed the whole thing and said there was nothing I could have done I don’t know what I would have done if he was seriously injured,my heart really goes out to the people who witness a fatality in these situations and really hope they can get on with their lives because in all honesty with most of these stories there’s nothing they could have done cars don’t stop instantly when u break unfortunately ,and a lot of kids including my own have little to no road sense that’s not their fault because they are just kids at the end of the day,unfortunately it’s the driver left with pain and anxiety but it’s important to keep living your life,the death of one person doesn’t have to lead to the death of two people some accidents are unfortunately unavoidable and they are just that”accidents” most of these people are not murderes or bad people and it’s important to never forget that ,I’m sure the pain will never go ,but please don’t let these incidents ruin your your life

      2. I am incredible sorry to hear of your traumatic story. Remember one thing…..
        it is harder to continue living after this than it would have been to give up.
        Keep fighting for your life, your son would want you to.
        ❤️ Cassie (also a CADI)

    2. Thank you so much.
      I am just new to going through this as my accident was a month ago. Sadly a lady ran in front of me on a 60mph road in the pitch dark. Despite me carrying out cpr at the scene she died later. I had my children in the car with me who are also still having to deal with what they saw and although I have been told by police it was not my fault I just feel very alone. There is absolutely no support for the driver in these cases. At best you are left to deal with it and at worst you are treated as a murderer.
      The article in the BBC UK was so timely because I feel there was no where to turn.

  8. Hi Mary, I read your story on BBC and I really felt sad. I just thought I would write something to show you my support.
    You are a very good person Mary. That is the reason it affected you this much. And it is a great thing to do something to help good people like you.

    Hope you are alright now. Take care. Kiran

  9. In 1982 I was a front seat passenger in a vehicle that hit a boy on a bicycle, who hurtled down a blind pavement directly in front of our vehicle and we hit him with the left front of the car. Both myself and the driver had been in the military a year before, and in my case I was already suffering from PTSD as a result of it. All I remember is trying to find a phone to call an ambulance, and not being able to do anything other than that. Sadly the child died although whether it was on the scene or in hospital I do not know.
    Neither do I recall when the police or ambulance arrived or the sequence of events immediately afterwards. It is a portion of my memory that is seemingly blank. I don’t know how the driver dealt with it, or whether there was an inquest or not and I don’t even know what the boy’s name was. The vehicle was damaged beyond repair so we ended up using trains from then on. But I know that no charges were laid against the driver and no counseling was offered or given. There was no way we could have seen the child on the bike because of the way the houses were situated on the pavement, and it is unlikely that he saw us either. My own PTSD was probably given a jolt as a result of it, and even so many years later I still have PTSD, although that is relatively minor compared to what his parents must have gone through. It happened so quickly, and there was no way to avoid the accident.
    It is tragic that such a young life ended so quickly, and I hope that there was closure for the parents and the driver. Your story raised this memory after so many years, and so many years after the incident I cannot even visualise the circumstances of it.

  10. Dear Ms. Gray,
    I have just read your story on the BBC news website and just wanted to offer you a little supportive word.
    I find it so sad that you have historically blamed yourself for little Brian’s death. The psychological shock and horror of the event must have been extreme for you and I am sure you would have been plagued by what we now know as post-traumatic stress disorder. You were simply a victim of circumstances and no more responsible for his death than if you had happened to be driving past when he was hit by lightning. You had not infringed upon any laws or rules of ethics, decency or common sense. You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and were innocent of any wrong doing. The collateral emotional damage you sustained makes you as much a victim of this tragedy as it did Brian. Although I am an atheist, I do believe, (in the legal sense) of “acts of God”. This definitely applies in Brian’s case. You were no more responsible for his death than I am. So many years have passed that it seems pointless to point a finger of blame at anyone. If you feel that blame needs to be attributed, then the only persons that bear any guilt must be those who were responsible for supervising him on that day, or perhaps an education system that had not instilled road safety awareness in Brian.
    I do hope you have found peace and continue to lead a happy life with a clear conscience.
    Yours Sincerely,

    Pieter Sanders,
    Surrey, England.

  11. Thank you.

    I was not the driver in my story. I was the 13 year old person standing next to my eleven year old friend. Both she and the driver made mistakes. She survived but was injured in multiple ways, which changed her life, and the lives of everyone around her.

    Including the driver. I was called to give testimony at the court case for compensation from the driver’s insurance company. The driver was there and I remember him vividly at the time of the accident – literally tearing his hair out in utter horror. His wife in the car screaming.

    My friend and I are in our forties now. I can still hear the noise of the car hitting her and can see her body hurtling through the air and bumping down the road. Mercifully maybe, she can’t remember it.

    While not the driver, the fall out is terrible. I wish I could have grabbed her in time and stopped it. I have experienced anger both with myself and my friend for not stopping it from happening.

    It’s never going to go away. We are still friends.

  12. Dear Maryann, I read your heart-felt story on the BBC website today and I have read many stories from others on this website: Accidental Impacts. I was 9 years old going home in the evening from a violin lesson to cross a busy road. I stood on the pavement waiting for the lights to go red as it was green. That was the last thing I remembered. I was coming in and out of consciousness and seeing a paramedic, the hospital, my dad and then being at home late a night. What happened was that I had fainted onto the road and an oncoming car hit me. Miraculously, I was not badly injured but my angle was sprained and bruised that was all. For me, all I could think about was the young lady, who could have been the driver, was holding me in her arms crying and rocking uncontrollably, and I just caught a glimpse of her face when I passed out – I will never forget that image for the rest of my life. The next day when I was at home, my mother stayed home from work to look after me and there was a knock on the door. I limped over to answer it and found a large fruit basket on the doorstep with a note but no name. I knew it was from that lady but I wanted to meet her to thank her for caring for me. Not once, not even for a split second have I ever blamed anyone, especially that woman for what had happened. All I wish is to tell her that what happened was NOT her fault (I had fainted just at that time and I have never fainted before or after that) and that I have always thought about her and always will. I agree, accidents happen for whatever reason and we all make mistakes as we are all human – we are not perfect. Thank you for making this site and I wish you all the happiness.

  13. Hello Maryann,

    I just read your story in the BBC and was very touched by your experience. I would like to thank you for everything you have done by sharing your story and speaking on a subject that is life changing for many people yet misunderstood.

    I cannot say I have experienced what you have but it’s clear you care. Many people would try and forget yet you found a way to make something tragic a positive and it shows you are a very kind person. Anyone could have been there and such was a unpredictable experience but you felt remorse and the life of the child was not forgotten or lost in vain. I think Brain would be proud of you.

    Speaking out is not easy yet you have faced your experience in front of the world and did not give in, that is absolutely courageous. I would like to commend you for your efforts offering people a support and understanding. Thank you.


  14. Hi. I just listened to Maryann on BBC-radio. Although my traumatic guilt-experience isn’t accident-related, I recognized every sentence she spoke. 30 yrs ago, when I was a mother with two kids 3 and 2 years old. I separated from their father who then killed himself. I have since then felt myself to be a, albeit unwilling, murderer and a dangerous person. Besides causing his death, I made my children fatherless. In some senses I have gotten on with my life, or more like a shadow of what my and my kids life could have been. I have not had any serious relationship since then based on the fear that “who knows what damage I could cause?”. I have often wished that when tragic non-intent incidents occur there could be some kind of “official tribunal”. Where all aspects of the incident are investigated and discussed by everyone involved together with professionals of some sort. Any question may be asked, all possible facts established, the deceased/injured honoured, and the verdict of innocence agreed upon by all or as many parties as possible and settled as a legal fact.
    Though traumatic guilt can destroy or darken lives I do also believe that guilt and shame, in another sense, define a good human being. It is connected to compassion and decency towards others. To be able to just walk away with little or no remorse would perhaps be psychopathic. I guess there’s a balance somewhere there.
    “How complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.” ― Kurt Vonnegut,

    1. Birgitta, I know it must be hard but there is no way you caused your partner’s death and you & your ‘children’, who maybe now have children of their own, deserve to have the happiest time possible with the future part of your lives.
      I spent a long time denying myself true happiness because my firstborn twin sons died shortly after birth. Nobody’s fault except that they were premature but the subconscious search for blame and punishment were totally real so I can emphasise to a point.
      And I have two people in my life, a friend and a colleague, who have each come home to find their partner had comitted suicide while they were alone so I’ve had lots of conversations about the issues.
      Please forgive yourself. (I don’t believe in religion but I think the Roman Catholics may be on to something with their ‘confession’ and pennance – I’m pretty sure your pennance is done!)
      Please try to catch up for lost time and don’t be afraid of new relationships, you wouldn’t be here and leaving nice messages if you were a ‘bad person’ so go forth and enjoy. There may be someone who needs exactly you to make their life whole and happy, just as they will do the same for you.
      With love, xox

      1. And of course I am sorry for your loss(es) Stuart. It must have been heart and mind wrenching. I does sound like you no longer deny yourself happiness which makes me feel glad and peaceful. X

  15. When I was 14 I was hit by a car while riding my bike. It was on a major road and the car was traveling nearly 100kms an hour, which was within the speed limit. I was badly injured. The driver and his daughter were also injured as my body went through the windscreen. And the truth of it, it was my fault. I rode straight across the road without looking. The driver and his daughter were distraught. They came to visit me in hospital but I was unconscious. When I had recovered I visited them to apologise. I wanted them to know it was my fault and that I was sorry for the distress I caused. As an adult I drive carefully and I hold my wife’s hand to cross the road because she doesn’t always look. I am very lucky to be alive and I am grateful still today to be able to tell the father and his daughter it was my fault and to ask their forgiveness. The lesson for me on this site is that the situation might make it appear the driver was to blame in some way. I was a child hit by a car. Children are innocent right? Children can be dumb too. God bless.

  16. My little brother was backed over by a truck when he was just 18 months old. We were at a picnic and my dad didn’t realize that my brother had toddled behind him across a gravel parking lot. By the grace of God, my brother survived and sustained no serious injuries that day. It was just luck that the loose gravel provided some cushion that he sunk down into when the weight of the truck rolled over him. I witnessed the accident, but being only 4 at the time, I don’t remember a lot of detail firsthand. What I do remember after hearing my mom retell this story so many times over the years, is that the first thing my mom did after finding out my brother would be okay was call the driver’s mom. The driver was a 16 year old boy, the son of a friend, who had just gotten his license. It wasn’t his fault— there was no way he could have seen my brother behind his truck before he backed up. But I always thought it was pretty great that my mom’s immediate thought was to make sure that young man knew that my brother was okay. I think about him sometimes and realize that the story we have lived with all these years is also his story. I know what sort of impact it had on me. 40 years later and I’m completely paranoid about my 4-year old around traffic and stories about pedestrian accidents affect me profoundly. I always wonder what sort of impact it had on him.

  17. I, too, am here as a result of the recent New Yorker article. Thank you for creating and maintaining it. It’s important work. One of the things that stuck out for me the most in the article was the extreme paucity of professional resources for people dealing with this issue. In hopes of being useful, there is a modality which is ideal for finding some peace – in a way that truly respects the weight of what has happened and has been done – called Family Constellations. This work is performed specifically for honoring and attending to the unthinkable in human life, of all kinds, without simplistic answers or polyanna assurances. It’s a peace that comes from honoring what is and what’s happened, and the inherent dignity of human fate – which I know all sounds easier than it is! Practitioners of this work can be found around the country and the world; just google it with your location, and see if you can find someone near you. Feel free to contact me for more information if this works resonates with you or if you have questions: http://www.conviviumconstellations.com.

  18. I just read the story about you, Maryann , in the New Yorker. Wow – I understand. When I was young, I was in the passenger seat of our family sedan as my mother drove down the 5 freeway at night. This was about 1971. We were in the fast lane. From out of nowhere, two people jumped the concrete divider and ran in front of our car. My mom slammed the brakes on, but it was too late. We hit both people and I recall turning back to see their limp bodies being hit and run over by other cars. I recall the woman’s white light cotton skirt wafting in headlights and pieces of I don’t know what rolling and lolling. It was dreadful and haunts me to this day. My mother was in disbelief screaming “I hit people!” We later found that more people to follow would be struck and killed. Undocumented immigrants were paying coyotes to deliver them above San Diego, and they were instead dumped and told to run across the freeway to the ocean. We were never given details of the families these poor people left behind, and it makes me very sad.
    In a bizarre twist, our brake lines had actually snapped so we had come to a stop far ahead of other cars involved. We were the first car to strike and the last to be found. We were told that it appeared our brake lines had been sawn down to eventually snap. We knew it was the work of my father, who hadn’t planned on us killing people, but for us to be killed. Truly a bizarre night. My mother, reeling from just having killed two people, had a new awareness to adjust to. That part is for another essay.
    After this incident, there were signs posted on that part of the freeway – you may be familiar with them. They were yellow and had silhouettes of a running father, mother and child. Those signs held deep meaning for me, and I would chastise people who would point at them and laugh. Those signs are no longer erected. I guess the smugglers are finding other routes, which I’m glad for. I have great sympathy for people wanting to come here for a better life. They face peril at every turn. I rarely have this kind of conversation, since we like to keep quiet about this kind of trauma. Thank you for giving us voice and I grieve for your experience as well.

  19. I was hit by a car when I was a child. I was on a bike. Obviously, I lived, though I broke several bones and had to go to the hospital. Nearly ten years later I tried to track down the man who hit me… so he’d know I was fine. I was unable to find him, but I do still hope he has moved on.

    It was an accident.

    1. I was ALMOST hit when I was on a bike. I was a young teenager and I lived in the country. I was riding on the very narrow shoulder right in front of my house. I heard one car go by and assumed that was the only car, so I turned out into the lane. There was another car coming close behind the first one. The driver was able to swerve around me with squealing tires into the oncoming lane, and also there was no car coming in the opposite direction, or it would have been a horrible accident, and it would have been my fault. If the driver had hit me, I would have felt that I deserved it. I simply felt at fault and stupid. I have a feeling that this little boy that the site host hit would have felt the same way. It sounds to me like the reason he ran out in front of the car was probably the same as why I turned in front of the car.

  20. When I was sixteen I killed my best friend in a jet ski accident at Lake Powell. I’m twenty-six now and honestly it’s still hard, every day. I’m on medications for bi-polar disorder and psychosis, and I’m depressed most of the time. I think the worst part about it is the fact that he was a really great person. His life, and the lives of all people killed accidentally, just go(es) unfinished. I think that’s a real shame, and I feel really guilty about it to this day. People are always kind and they say that he wouldn’t want me to feel this way, but they don’t understand what it’s like. I’m glad I found this site. Peace, y’all.

  21. Thank you for all of the comments. I have never caused the death of another, but I DO like to speed about town in my car. After reading all of the posts, I am going to slow down and give all a safe chance when I am out driving. How I have so taken for granted that nothing would happen — how things can change in an instant. Thank you all so much for your experiences, as sad as they have been. Your stories have made a difference.

  22. I believe a huge part of the suffering that comes from being in this situation (I am not, but I know someone who is) is because our everyday worlds, our social relations and society, exists on a very thin shell of idealism about what life really is. Very, very few of us ever get beyond that thin bright shell over reality: the way it is “supposed to be,” where we all go through step A, step B, step C and then live happily ever after until we die at age 90 or whatever. This is the source of the grief of people who have had someone taken from them, and also the source of the great distress of those who were involved in the loss of a life. And unfortunately our society, to preserve this thin shallow shell of “how it’s supposed to be,” has to get back to “normalcy” and since the dead can’t be brought back (or the severely injured healed), there has to be a social scapegoat. And also the self guilt tells us this as well.

    But the real world, reality, the universe is much bigger and more unexplored and dimmer than this bright thin shell. I think of society as being a bunch of people packed into a theater, watching a play on stage. The play is about everyone growing up happy and healthy and meeting the love of their lives and being successful in the world’s terms. Nobody can see past the footlights into the back stage area – the real world, where all the real stuff is – the props, the pulleys that raise and lower the scenery, the stage hands, the actual theater building we are really in (which is nothing like what’s on stage at the moment), and we can’t even begin to comprehend what “outside” is because we can’t even get past the show that’s on stage. When a terrible thing happens, everyone involved is suddenly plunged into what’s behind the show. But we’re all enjoying the show, so nobody wants to hear about the reality or share in it.

    I don’t think that anyone who has been through this (either as victim or someone else who was involved in the situation) can really return to the stage show and pretend it’s real life. That’s what makes it so painful and distressing. You feel so alone. But you’re not alone. Many people have been here before you and others will come after. You have lost something but you will also gain something, which is wisdom about the universe… and there is a world beyond this one, you are not trapped in a dark back stage area. Keep moving, don’t avoid the stage but don’t avoid the darkness either. Keep going. Keep going. There is an outside.

    1. Hi Ellen,

      I was very moved by your eloquent commentary. I found the imagery of the stage thought provoking and poignant in reflecting on the pain we experience in this life. I am both a therapist and a member of the Baha’i Faith. There is a story in my religion’s history of Baha’u’llah making this same connection between the illusion of a stage play with life in this material world. Your comments helped me reflect on this story at a deeper and personal level. Many thanks.

  23. As mentioned in another post, I have not accidentally killed someone. But I have had reason to contemplate that “there but for the grace of God go I” — or any of us.

    A few years ago, I had a large rental SUV loaded up with family during a family reunion. We were traveling down a very busy commercial street with at least five lanes of traffic – at least two lanes going in either direction and a central turn lane. I was not speeding (keeping up with traffic at no more than 35 mph) or distracted in any way and was carefully negotiating through the busy traffic.

    At some point, I noticed a family of father, mother, and three young children — two being held by the their parents and the oldest on foot. They appeared to be waiting to cross the side of the street I was driving on. They were not at a crosswalk or light. I was horrified, thinking how irresponsible the parents were to try something so dangerous — and with their children, no less.

    As I got closer, all of a sudden the young boy broke away from his father’s grasp and ran into traffic. Then, as both of his parents naturally screamed out to him, he turned and froze IN MY LANE. Of course, I immediately slammed on the brakes, but he was very close and I had no idea if I would be able to stop in time. By then, everyone or most of the rest of my family members saw what was happening and we were all in a panic.

    During the next second or two, a few things ran through my mind as I imagined that I might hit and even kill the child. The main thing that I pondered: In the next moment of my life, both this family’s life AND MY LIFE could be forever ruined.

    Every person on the planet understands that the accidental death of a child would ruin the lives of the parents. It’s less easy to understand how it might ruin the life of the person who, unintentionally and through no fault of his/her own, caused that death.

    In my case, my vehicle came to a stop no more than five to eight feet from the child, who was still frozen in the road. I have replayed that scene hundreds of times, grateful that both the boy’s family and I were spared from the cruel hand of fate that day.

    My sincere thoughts to those of you for whom fate was not so kind.

  24. My adult son told me about the New Yorker article after I shared two personal stories at a family birthday party last night. That’s how I found this site.

    I have not accidentally killed anyone. But, I would like those of you who have to know that at least *some* of the rest of us “get it”. Naturally, we cannot understand what it has been like for you because we haven’t gone through it personally. But, I have understood for as long as I can remember that it must be horrific for people who have accidentally killed another human. Maybe because, when i was five years old, I was struck by a car and (had the particulars been slightly different) could obviously have been killed. The many impressions from that even have been with me since.

    My mother, father, sister, and I were at my grandmother’s house in the city, which had sidewalks and lots of cars parked along the street. That day, I violated two cardinal rules of childhood: Don’t cross the street without an adult present and don’t run between two parked cars. Without even looking, I ran into the street and was struck by a car that had just come around the nearby corner.

    Fortunately, I was not badly hurt. Although I was obviously upset due to what happened TO ME, that is not what has been most memorable. Two things have continued to haunt me: The first was the sight of my grandmother standing on her front porch watching the aftermath, wringing her hands and with a look of unimaginable worry on her face. The second was the sight of the driver of the car, a young woman, standing in the road looking almost as destroyed as my grandmother did.

    Naturally, it was traumatic for my parents, who were also there at the time. But, for whatever reason, it was the reactions of my grandmother and the driver that stayed with me.

    Over the years, my grandmother retold the story of my accident numerous times. So I well knew what a traumatic event it had been for her. And I felt some guilt about that — since I knew that the accident had been MY FAULT and no one else’s.

    Over the many years since, I have wished that I could find the driver of the car and apologize to her for what happened — because I saw, in her face at the time, that she had been badly traumatized.

    Then, a few years ago, I was doing some family tree research and was surprised to discover that my accident had merited publication in the local newspaper. The details of my name, my parents’ names, and where it happened were included, as well as the name of the driver. I thought about trying to track her down to apologize. But she had a relatively indistinguishable name, may have married and changed it, and I don’t know anything else about her. Also, I’m now 65, so she is probably almost certainly dead.

    My best wishes for peace to all of you who have been the unintentional cause of another person’s death.

  25. I also discovered this site after reading the New Yorker article and was touched because of my own connection to an accidental death 38 years ago, at the age of 28, while crossing an urban street around 11:00 PM with my best friend. We were chatting, wearing dark winter coats and as we neared the curb I remember noticing lights and sort of jumping or hoping to the curb when I heard a sound, a strange bump and then looked around and realized that my friend had been hit by a car. In that instant of realization my life changed, I felt I could see darkness, felt an overwhelming horror consume me and I screamed out to the night: someone help, my friend has been hit by a car, help.
    My friend had been hit by a drunk driver, her body was thrown many yards up the street. I ran to her. She was lying on the road, not moving and I was screaming for help yet strangely calm as I took off my jacket and tried to keep her warm. People appeared, I borrowed money to go to a pay phone to call my friend’s husband. The driver had stopped well beyond my friend’s body and he didn’t get out of the car. I thought he didn’t care but later was told that he was filled with remorse.
    My friend was hospitalized in critical condition and I thought she would recover, but it soon became clear that her brain was dead. It was horrifically sad waiting in the hospital with her family and friends, feeling so sad, wishing I had been the one to die, feeling judged and realizing that her young child, whom I loved dearly would grow up without this incredible mother.
    A kind nurse, offered me solace by suggesting that I help care for her. So with the nurse, I lovingly washed her hair before she was taken off life support. It was a profoundly moving experience because I knew she was dying and I felt deeply responsible and heartbreakingly sad, yet being able to do one kind thing for her helped.
    I was not at fault and I loved this friend, so how could I have emerged without physical injury? How could I not have seen that car? Why didn’t I save her? Why didn’t I grab her and pull her out of the way? There are no answers.
    In a few seconds, on a seemingly innocuous walk, my friend was killed. I was alive on the exterior, but grievously injured in my heart and soul.
    Since that time I have experienced many difficulties grappling with survivor’s guilt and PTSD. I want to share with you what helped me: therapy particularly EMDR, yoga, meditation and tons of reading. That’s therapy more than once, with tune ups about every 10 years around the anniversary of the accident.
    For many many years I did not speak about this with anyone. I felt I couldn’t, didn’t want to burden others, didn’t want to cloud my children’s happiness and that was not healthy. In the most recent therapy about 5 years ago, my amazing psychologist suggested EMDR and after that work, I was able to speak about this without crying. Acknowledging the deep pain, and emerging from the isolation of it has made a huge difference in my life.
    I hope all of you reach out, find as much support as possible, forgive and heal. Healing isn’t forgetting, it is life affirming and healthy.

    “You hold in your hand an invitation:
    To remember the transforming power
    of forgiveness and lovingkindness.
    To remember that no matter
    where you are and what you face,
    within your heart peace if possible.”
    Jack Kornfield

    Thank you Maryann for creating this site.

  26. Very powerful stories here. As a chaplain, I work with combat veterans who have suffered a wounding of the conscience, what is popularly called a “moral injury.” Some of these veterans are dealing with the pain of killing (or possibly killing) other human beings in war, sometimes accidentally (particularly with children or civilians in the combat zone). One had his PTSD symptoms exacerbated by being involved after combat in an accidental death back in the US. I’m glad this site exists, to let people know they are not alone. I also hope people find a God who mourns and grieves with them and who wants to bring healing.

  27. Oh my. Like many, I came here after the New Yorker article. Strength to all of you.
    “I love that there was a way of recognizing the true devastation that’s been wrought, the harm that’s been done, without condemning the individual”. This part reminded me on something completely different. AFAIU, in Finland, if you have a medical mishap, you can get a compensation without having to sue your doctor and prove their mistake. You don’t have to ruin their life. it’s recognized that no matter how good and thorough a doctor is, accidents happen. There are no winners in such a situation – both sides are already losers, so there’s no need to make them lose even more.

  28. There is a thin line that divides one outcome from another and it is measured is micrometers and milliseconds. On one side of this thinnest of imaginable boundaries are close calls and non-events, and on the other loss, tragedy, and death. The close calls are the ones we know about. A pedestrian runs in front of you, a cyclist swerves unexpectedly, or another car runs a stop sign, but you are able to avert a collision. The non-events are all those things that don’t happen but could have it you hadn’t taken two extra minutes to find your keys, or stopped at a yellow light, or not stopped. Then there are the incidents that end in tragedy that you will forever think might have never happened if you were a fraction of a second quicker to react, or if you had or hadn’t run the yellow light.

    When I was a junior in high school, I was driving south on the main street of our town around 8 p.m. It was a week night, a school night, and I probably should have been at home, but I wasn’t. A good friend was with me and we saw the car of other friends going the other direction. I made a U-turn and followed them. They were several blocks ahead of us and I was driving too fast, maybe forty instead of thirty. A few blocks later a pedestrian crossed the street in front of me. The intersection was poorly lit, he was wearing a dark suit and hat, and he came from a side street onto the main thoroughfare. I saw him at the last moment, hit my brakes, and skidded into him. He fell onto the hood of my car and slid up to the windshield. When the car came to a stop, he slid off and landed on the pavement. I don’t remember a lot of the post events, or even whether I was ticketed. Fortunately, the attorneys’ fees and whatever settlement there was was taken care of by my parents’ insurance.

    The man I hit was a doctor, around eighty-years-old at the time, and he was walking home from his office. He was well-known and well-respected, and, I would soon learn, somewhat notorious for walking around town lost in thought, head down, and crossing streets without looking. After my accident, I heard from a number of people who had stories about almost hitting him.

    I was to blame, but so was he. Either one of us could have prevented the accident by being more careful, more responsible. I should not have made a U-turn, and I should not have been speeding. He should have done what every first grader is taught to do before stepping into the street: STOP-LOOK-LISTEN. My actions, for which I bear full responsibility, could have ended his life, and his could have ruined mine. The difference between his relatively minor injuries, and some difficult times for me, as opposed to his death and devastating consequences for me, i.e., a vehicular homicide charge that could have sent me to prison, were minuscule.

    There are cases of simple right and wrong, black and white, but, as many of the stories here attest to, there are many that are painted with a pallet of grays. In some cases the blame should be shared, and in some it falls squarely on the one who dies or is injured. If you were the agent of another’s injury ore death, that they were at fault doesn’t necessarily make it easier to deal with. Anytime I see a CADI story, my mind flashes to that poorly lit street and a man in a dark suit sliding up the hood of my parents Oldsmobile fifty years ago.

    I was lucky. Very lucky. One second sooner or later I would have caught him with the corner of a fender and he would have been knocked to the pavement and possibly been run over by a wheel rather than landing on the hood, which buffered the impact and mitigated his injury. Three seconds earlier or later and it would have been a non-event, a close call that could be forgotten.

    My children are now grown, but my son was particularly rambunctious when he was young. I used to call him POG, for Proof Of God, because he put himself in so many perilous situations it seemed that if he were to survive to adulthood it would prove there was a benevolent and protective god who wanted him to. I lived in perpetual fear he would do something like the eight-year-old who ran into the path of Maryann’s car did whose death Maryann has lived with her entire life. I don’t know anything else about the situation, but had it been my son, as it could have been given the number of close calls he had, I would have put the blame entirely on myself as a parent, whether I was there or not, whether there was anything I could have done, or not.

    My advice to those who go through something like this…I got nothing. Every situation is different and every person is different. Except this: get the help you can and the help you need in dealing with trauma. I am a writer, I’ve always been, but to some degree that experience has shaped my life and informed my writing. I know for some writing can be therapeutic. Among my writer friends there are a number whose careers began in earnest as a means of dealing with trauma.

    Every day we get through without experiencing a tragedy is, I believe, a blessing.

    David H.

  29. I found this site through an article in the New Yorker and it was funny – I first thought “this sounds familiar but how does it touch me?” and then I remembered.
    I killed my mother.
    It happened when I was 9 and I am 61 now and got some professional help that worked out about 40 years ago. So the good news is that time and help can work it out.

    The story is that I was visiting my mother in the nursing home. I did not know her well – she had been in hospitals etc. since I was 3 or so. We had a great day doing arts and crafts and then my older sister (11) and I took her out in a wheelchair. At the point where the sidewalk changed to pebbles – I did not realize that this would be a problem- the wheelchair tipped and for a moment I could have moved to block her fall – but did not. She did have a condition that made that fall fatal.

  30. In February, I was driving home at night in the rain. I was really hungry so I was going faster than I should have been. I also had only been driving for about eight months total then and didn’t know how much more careful you have to be in the rain.

    A car in front of me suddenly swerved and revealed a car stopped in the left lane to turn. I hit the brakes and tried to cut the wheel at the same time. Maybe if I’d committed to either of them it would have helped. I hit the car.

    I just screamed in my car for a long time. I was afraid to get out because I thought someone would hit me like I had just hit him. It turned out I was right in front of the ambulance depot, so a paramedic got me out of the car. I had only minor injuries, but the old man I rear ended had a pacemaker and it went off. They took him away in an ambulance and I never heard anything else about it. I was in shock and I never even got his name so I have no way of looking him up. I still feel so guilty, even though I tell myself he probably didn’t die. Even if he didn’t die directly from that, I’m sure I damaged his heart and made his life worse or shorter.

  31. Dear unmet friends,
    16 years ago, a young man stepped from behind a visibility-blocking truck and in front of my car. I was unable to stop. Thankfully, he lived, but he was badly injured. I was not speeding, impaired or distracted; I’ve replayed those moments again and again and cannot find anything I could have done differently. But, it happened and a young man’s life was changed, as well as my own. I am writing here not to unburden myself about the incident but to give other CADIs some guidance, in case any of the story might seem familiar.

    The feelings that I had for several months after the incident included a desire to disengage from many facets of the modern world, because I felt culpable for participating in it. I did not drive for 4 months despite taking two young children to separate day cares every day. I also had a strong feeling that nothing I could do could ever make up for the damage I had caused. I moved my entire family to a place that seemed bleak, that I might have never considered otherwise. Exile seemed too good for me.

    Three years ago (after 13 years) I was able to seek therapy after finally recognizing that the incident had left me with PTSD. The symptoms were (and are) a feeling of having an unbreakable connection to a dark place in the universe that was trying to escape to our brighter world through me. My response was to shut myself off from my family so that they could not also be contaminated. They needed to be protected from me, so I walled them out, sometimes with rage against them. At my worst times, thoughts of suicide were common, not because I wanted to end my pain or out of self-hatred, but because sealing myself in the dark place away from everyone I cared about seemed like the simplest and safest solution.

    I think it is quite normal and human to have sorrow and grief for months when you see harm or cause harm to another person. Other things may take longer. PTSD is a condition that can’t be “cured” just by talking about it or assuring the affected person that everything is OK. In my understanding, goes to a very deep place in your brain and body that words cannot access. I encourage anyone who has had an experience like this to be evaluated for lasting effects, like PTSD, perhaps after a year. In addition to the damage in which you were a participant, you have a lot more to give the world in joy, caring and love, and you cannot do it if you remain in suffering for years.

  32. This page has became my best friend. Four nights ago, I was driving back to my college from McDonald’s. I got a frappe because I was staying up all night to do homework and catch up on Netflix. I was sipping my coffee and driving when I rear ended a moped. I’m from Missouri and in my state, mopeds and scooters must be in the right lane unless turning. They were driving in my lane with no helmets on and without back lights. It all happened so quickly. It’s like my memory is gone from that time but yet it seems like the longest night of my life. The driver of the moped lived but the passenger didn’t. I already struggle with depression and anxiety and am on medication for it, and I also self harm but I haven’t in months. This just pushed me over the edge. I keep telling myself I wasn’t doing anything wrong and that it was just an accident but I am making myself sick thinking about what I could have done differently or if I was just a second later. I feel numb to life and I can’t stop crying. I don’t know how to think or what to do. Both the driver and passenger go to my college and they are pretty popular in the frat scene and I had frat guys messaging me saying I hurt their friends and everything. I had to delete all social media and now I’m just isolated. I need help.

    1. Dear Emily,
      Your college probably has some kind of psychological counseling service for students and, even if there is a waitlist, they will see students in crisis right away. I encourage you to make your way there as soon as you can and ask for support. You have just experienced a severe trauma and you need — and deserve — help coping. I am so sorry that you are suffering. You can write me privately, if you’d like, via the “contacts” page of the website.
      You are in my thoughts,

      1. What if we can never quit thinking it is our fault? A lot of things went wrong the day I was in a fatal accident, Even the other driver’s actions were reckless but I still believe in my heart…what if? What if I had gone straight home? What if I hadn’t stopped for gas and a coke? What if I used a route I was familiar with? What if everything? I didn’t drive for four months afterwards and have not gone more than 12 miles from home for almost 18 months. I don’t drive if I am tired, or had a drink the day before and never have a passenger with me. I don’t sleep, I have cancelled Dr’s appointments, Church commitments, and basically life. The State Attorney ruled it an accident but I am not so easily convinced. I did go to therapy 4 months after the accident and she has been incredible and literally kept me alive -At least suicide is no longer a viable option – and it was for months. My therapist actually read the entire article to me and has referred me to another therapist for EMDR on November 1st. It was definitely good to read a post about EMDR being effective .I don’t ever want to forget but I need to get back to living. I have not even told my 3 brothers about the accident for fear of being judged and shamed and for once I am glad that my parents are deceased because they would be crushed. Obviously, I can judge and shame myself on my own. Every day I think of the family left behind and pray for them to find some peace.I don’t care or even expect them to Forgive me. I think about them on holidays without their Dad, Husband and Grandpa. I think about them during Hurricanes, major news events and when I accidentally laugh out loud or find myself enjoying a meal. I lost 55 pounds in less than 3 months. Saying it’s tough right now is an understatement. Even though this website is hard to read through tears and no one strives to be a CADI, I am grateful for this forum.

    2. Hi Emily, please send me a message if you need someone to talk to – I have no idea how you must be feeling right now but I’m here to talk anytime you want.

    3. Oh Emily honey. You need to talk to someone, and the sooner you do it, the better off you’re going to be. As horrible as the aftermath of my accident was, the one thing I know I did right was getting help immediately. And sometimes the only accomplishment I had for the day was not drinking myself into oblivion. If you’re already struggling with self-harm, you really need to see someone to help you.

    4. Does your college have a counseling center? However you can find professional help right now, please go out and find it. You did nothing wrong. There are many professionals who will be able to stand beside you while you heal from this trauma. You do not need to do this alone.

    5. I am so sorry to hear this – am very much holding you in my heart and wishing you the peace that everyone who is involved in an entirely accidental and unintentional death deserves.

    6. I am so sorry, life can be incredibly unfair. I am not a CADI, but I have a son who was accidentally killed by his best friend. I never blamed my son’s friend, because just like you, he meant no harm. It was a tragic accident, just like yours. So many people are able to walk away from these situations, so many people make small mistakes and walk away unscathed, while others are scarred for life.

      I hate that you, and so many others, have to bear such a burden. Any one of us could have such an accident, a series of actions that no one intended. No one had malicious intent. We all make mistakes while driving and most of us are lucky and never know how close we came to disaster. It is monumentally unfair that a small percentage do not get to walk away. That unfairness enrages me, it is so unfair to everyone involved.

      That is why I hold no anger or resentment towards my son’s friend. I understand that my own boy could have been driving them and easily made the same mistake. I know I have made many stupid, even careless, mistakes that could have hurt someone else. Why did I get lucky?

      Because of these reasons, how could I condemn my son’s friend? His friend is so devastated and I try the best I can to make sure he knows we care about him and are not angry. I ask others in my family who were angry if they would be just as angry if it was my boy who caused the accident? That makes them understand how unreasonable they are being. If we want forgiveness we have to give forgiveness.

      In my mind, you are a victim too. You were only part of the reason your accident happened. The people on the moped were incredibly careless to not have rear lights. I assume you were sober and driving with care…what more could you have done? Nothing. It is all random and massively unfair

      Find a friend or family member, or a therapist. Someone you can talk to and go over and over what happened so you can convince yourself you did the best you could. Forgive yourself for being human and imperfect. We all are. And every one of those frat boys bugging you would be begging your forgiveness if they had accidentally hurt or killed someone you love.

      If I can forgive and love the boy who accidentally killed my sweet boy, you can love and forgive yourself. ❤️

    7. Miss Emily, my names Denny. I understand. I live in missouri as well, and if you every just need a friend to listen then ill be here. I was injured in a head on collision on route B, a little north of Columbia. I understand the trama of it. Non of us were suppose to live through that crash. One second sooner or later and I wouldent be here now. If you need to talk, im up to listen.

    8. Hi Emily,

      I am around your age and want you to know that if you would like to talk to someone I am here to listen and help in any way that I can.

    9. Emily,
      Something like this happened to me when I was 15 and killed a high school classmate. The police proved that it wasn’t my fault but it took years for the guilty feelings to subside. Get counseling and take care of yourself.

  33. I would just like to get all of you in a big room so we can share our stories and comfort one another. My story happened 55 years ago, when I was 15 and had had my driver’s license for two months. A high school classmate died and the police proved I was not at fault, but that never stopped the feelings of guilt and shame. These accidental deaths happen so quickly that one second one way or the other would have changed everything. I guess the corollary is that many more such accidents are avoided because of one second more warning. My wife and I were driving across British Columbia at 70 mph last week and missed hitting a bear running across the road by inches, an avoided accident that would have devastated our car and maybe killed one of us. After my accident in 1962, I had a difficult time for many, many years, but I feel like I’m at peace with it now. I hope others can someday find their own version of peace.

  34. On 12/16/2012 my car struck and killed a 26 yr old woman as she was crossing the street while going to dinner with her husband. He has no recall of the accident. She died 6 days later of a head injury she sustained from falling into the street. No other part of her was damaged. Her husband had a small fracture in his lower leg.
    It was just an ordinary dark night, I was returning home from work on my usual commute path on a busy city street. I never saw them. I wasn’t distracted, a street light was out and they were wearing dark clothes, I was only going 5 miles per hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic. It seemed they came out of nowhere. No one saw them in the street until the accident. Many of the drivers in other vehicles held my hand, told me it wasn’t my fault, gave me their contact information, directed traffic, tried to provide assistance, and gave statements to the police and ambulance driver. It took 7 months for the district attorney to file charges of involuntary vehicular manslaughter against me. The young women’s uncle is a DA and pulled strings to have me picked up and arrested. The family wanted blood. This was the third child they had lost to accidental death. They were inconsolable. They are very wealthy people and filed a civil suit as well.

    Even though I was found not guilty in a criminal jury trial in 2015 it took all my savings for lawyers and therapists and consultants to hold myself together and to defend myself. Then there was the civil trial with pre-trial mediations full of screaming accusations and so much grief and anger. They were furious that I had not been found guilty. Psychologically I became walled -off and single focused. I had been an outgoing and gregarious person all my life but I became depressed and anxious, sleep was non-existent, and joy was out of reach. I eventually had to declare bankruptcy. They never got any money because I didn’t have any. They wanted my paltry retirement funds but those are protected by law.

    My grief for the family is still active. I forgive them. But it is still very hard for me to forgive myself. It was hard to fight for a not guilty verdict because I felt and feel so guilty about the death of their child. I was suicidal for a while. I tried to have empathy. I’m not a saint but I found it was too painful to hold the strong emotion of anger.

    It gets a little easier with time but there are still days when I need to slow down to just take one breath at a time and that’s all I can do.

  35. Subway Deaths Haunt Those at Trains’ Controls https://nyti.ms/TzQv8h

    This 1/3/2013 article from the New York Times stayed with me — it’s about NYC subway conductors who have accidentally struck people who have fallen, or who jump, onto subway tracks. I hope somehow those conductors can find their way to your site.

    Thank you for your mitzvah in creating and maintaining this resource.

  36. Our Lawyer sent me a text message about the NewYorker Magazine article today citing that it was an excellent article with circumstances similar to me son in it. I didn’t hesitate to search for it and spent the next hour reading and rereading it. It became therapeutic for me. Something I could cling to and a beacon of hope that “this too shall pass”.

    I am a very strict Mother who has plans A, B, and C in place for nearly everything. However, in all his years I never had a plan in place for CADI. Yet, here I am surviving and coping with the aftermath of my sons experience.

    He was headed to my office to clean. I pay him $25 to clean my office once a week. Kind of as an allowance but more as a means for him to pay for his cell phone and data plan, and then have some spending money left over. He hadn’t been there for a few weeks and after school shopping headed out to my office.

    When he called so soon after leaving I sensed that something was up and when my husband asked him what happened I got mad. I demanded an answer, “Did he get into an accident? Was it his fault?”. My husband said yes, and you need to go, it’s not good.

    Anger evaporated and I rushed out the door to be with my son. I arrived relatively quickly, trailing the fire truck and blowing past a civilian trying to block traffic from that road. I yelled out he’s my son and kept going as a cruiser pulled in behind me to barricade off the road.

    Not two miles from home he was involved in an accident that claimed the life of a man pushing his land motor vehicle on the edge of the road. All I knew is that a man was dead and my son was in the backseat of a police car.

    In Drivers Ed you are taught that in the event you are forced to make a choice to avoid a collision, go right instead of left. My son went right. It didn’t work out that way.

    I was reassured that my son was not being arrested or detained, that he was placed there for his protection and safety. It was comforting to see firsthand the gentle and considerate treatment he received at the hand of the State Highway patrol. But the Mother in me was scared. Is still scared.

    The case is still outstanding. We are continuously reminded to lay low by our Lawyer. My son has not been charged, was not on his cellphone, was not speeding, was not “distracted”. But where we are today is in holding, waiting… The waiting never seems to end. The waiting is tearing me apart. I keep trying to plan for the worst and my heart is ready to fall out of my chest with the weight of anxiety.

    Someone died. That is a fact. Someone is to blame. That is the assumption. Someone must pay. That is the expectation.

    He’s a good kid. I mean, truly. Sticks up for the bullied. Fights for the weak. Volunteers for the cause. Never been in trouble. Gets good grades. Has been accepted to a Nursing School. He is everything I could have ever asked for in a child. He’s my baby. And he’s the subject on online scrutiny, speculation, rumors, and outright lies. Fortunately his name has not been made public. I can only imagine what will come if it ever does.

    He’s in therapy, as am I. He has to take sleeping pills to keep the nightmares at bay. He goes to school and does his best to forget about it each day. But it’s there. Its everywhere, as we wait.

    “This too shall pass”. The waiting will end. Until then it’s killing me. It’s tearing me down with worry. My anxiety is at an all-time high. It was an accident. I know this. In my heart I know it. But will the Prosecutor see what is clearly in front him? Only time will tell.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story; I also came to this site via The New Yorker article. Your family’s experience struck a resonant chord.

      Over 50 years ago, I was a 14 year-old front seat passenger with my 18 year old sister driving when our car struck three pedestrians at a crosswalk, killing one and seriously injuring another. There were no drugs or alcohol involved, my sister was found guilty of negligence and manslaughter with a five year suspended sentence and license revocation. While she was never again was in trouble with the law, she battled alcoholism and failed marriages and we never spoke of the experience; her subsequent children were unaware of it until her death two years ago but I believe a part of her died that evening as well.

      Although not charged with a crime, I lived with guilt and shame for decades, struggling to maintain normal relationships, employment and sobriety. The turning point came when I became an RN at the age of 40, and dedicated the next 20 years to helping others. With this work came a sense of purpose and self-regard that I hope will suffice for atonement and healing ….I can’t bring back the lives that was taken and forever changed, but have helped others to achieve health and continue their lives.

      I’m not a religious man, but please know I have empathy for your son and family, and pray his path will lead him to peace with himself.

    2. This is a horrible situation and you I feel for you as much as someone can who hasn’t been through it.

      All other considerations aside – and depending on what happens – have you and your son considered taking a hiatus before he starts nursing school? Nursing school is very stressful in its own right and he shouldn’t have the extra burden of this while starting that new challenge.

      There is no shame in taking a break due to what happened — any more than there would be shame to taking a break if he were recovering from a physical / medical ailment or accident.

      Best wishes.

  37. When I was 18 I was involved in a car accident that killed my sister’s best friend. They were both 16. She was the only one of the four of us who wasn’t ejected from the car. I have lived with that guilt for the past 48 years. It was really never spoken about in my family or anywhere else. The cause was a car passing on a double yellow line across a bridge, and I didn’t know how to react properly, so our vehicle went off the embankment and flipped over.

  38. I was a witness to an accident where a young boy darted into the path of a car and was struck & he received fatal injuries. I got out of mmy car & after having my partner call 911 I ran to the woman’s car and waited with her while police and EMTs dealt with the injured boy, traffic etc. I just held her, saying over & over, “I saw the whole thing, you were not at fault. You were not speeding. He darted out. It was not your fault. It was not your fault.”
    I have always hoped that I helped her. Just a little bit. Just by being there. By telling her, in the moment, that she was blameless.

    1. I am lucky not to have caused an accidental impact death. When I was twenty, I hit a young boy on a bike squarely who rode in front of my car. I watched in horror as he flew across the intersection. His mother appeared out of nowhere and ran to me saying “I have told him not to cross this intersection without looking.” While that comforted me, I was even more comforted as he rose uninjured. It seemed a miracle. I knew I had done nothing wrong, wasn’t speeding etc but in those excruciating moments that meant nothing. Forty years later, I have not forgotten this incident. I was grateful for the immediate forgiveness of his mother but much more grateful that he was uninjured. I can only imagine if both he and I had not been so lucky.

    2. As a CADI, I can only speak from my own experience, but at my accident, there were three witnesses who stayed and gave statements. I read them all, and they all exonerated me. The one woman stayed with me, let me sit in her car, just talking to me, much like you did. It kept me sane. I am quite certain you made a world of difference to your person too.

  39. I was so glad to see this site exists. Not for me, but for someone I have never met, who may need it.

    In 2001, my father-in-law was on his motorcycle. He made a left turn at an intersection without a turn light, and was hit broadside by an oncoming car. He was thrown off the motorcycle, hit the side of an overpass, and died at the hospital 7 hours later.

    The ultimate decision by the police was that there was fault on both sides. We heard later from the police accident investigator that the driver was “struggling” as a result of having hit my FIL and caused his death. I have prayed for her many times over the years. What a horrible thing to have happen to her, out of nowhere. There but for the grace of God go we all, right? I’ve nearly hit people with my car. The fact that I didn’t make contact is luck, not anything else.

    Speaking as the family member of an accident victim, I can say we have never born any ill will or anger towards the driver who hit my father-in-law. Only empathy. We are sorry this happened. I wish it had not happened for lots of reasons, but a big one is that the person who hit my FIL had to live through something awful.

    For all the people out there who have lived through this – my heart goes out to you. That’s all I can say, I can’t say anything that will make it any easier or better. I am so glad there is a support community for people who have had this experience.

    1. This comment made me cry. I was in the same exact situation but I was the driver. I don’t know how to feel or how to respond to this. I pray the family of the person I hit is as understanding as you. May god bless you and im so sorry for your loss.

  40. I came to this site via the New Yorker. I am extremely touched by the work you do and this platform your provide for people who really don’t have too many resources to cope with having been dealt an extremely bad hand. That’s all it is, dumb random luck – can happen to anyone, at anytime with no warning whatsoever. I feel tremendous compassion for anybody who has to go through this. May you have the strength to endure and overcome.

    1. I’m here from the New Yorker, also, Pooja, and you so beautifully posted my thoughts upon reading its article about this site and the very fragile humans who occupy it. My thoughts are with each and every one of you.

  41. Hello……Just read The New Yorker profile about your website. Thank goodness I do not have a shared experience, but do admire what you’re doing with your life in the wake of such a tragedy. Hope I never have to recommend this site to anyone, but it is reassuring to know that at least it would be a step in the right direction of healing if such an unfortunate incident should occur. Thank you and your contributors for showing such bravery and compassion.

  42. In the midst of my despair and after months of searching for a site where real stories of accidental tragedy, anguish, safe blame and guilt are shared I found this site. Thanks to those that started this site by sharing their stories and to everybody else for telling their own as well. A little over a year ago my life as I knew it became over, it was a sunny afternoon and I was driving south on the southbound lane on a two lane rural road, my dear husband was my passenger, suddenly I realized that a small vehicle was driving north on the southbound lane, coming straight at us, I remember my husband telling me to be careful and me answering that the other vehicle was the one that had to be careful since I was on the correct lane, next I remember was the horrible accident as none of the drivers yielded. The driver on that vehicle in his early forties died on the spot, my husband, mid fifties, sustained several injuries to the head and died a week later, I didn’t receive any physical injury but needless to say emotionally I died along with him. Since that horrible day I haven’t been able to stop blaming myself for the death of a stranger and the probable agony of his family, but mostly and worst for causing the death of the person that was my everything, and for the pain that both our families have endured too. I have tried psychological therapy and antidepressants but has done little, and like many other expressed, I also hate waking up and realizing that the nightmare is real and about to start over again until I fall asleep. Every time I hear of a child or a young mother battling a cancer I ask God why them and not me since I’m convinced that I’m not worthy to be on this planet anymore.

    1. Wishing you peace. You deserve peace and comfort. You are not to blame. It was a horrible alignment of events. I send you much love ❤️

    2. I can think of no more original response than I am so sorry for your pain and I hope you find a way through it. I have benefitted immensely from the book Man’s Search for Meaning…don’t know if this will be helpful but as a social worker and someone who has lost someone close to her (my twin sister, to suicide — so not responsible but I should have saved her!), I feel compelled to contribute my thoughts to you…I wish you Godspeed…

    3. I have no words of wisdom. I want to let all of you know that there are thousands of us who do not blame, but wish you to find peace.

    4. My heart goes out to you KA. I have not been in your place so I won’t say I know how you feel but I do empathize with you. I pray you will find the strength to get past your self loathing and my thoughts will be with you. So please know there is a stranger in Florida thinking about you and hoping the best for ou.

    5. This was a tragic situation that you didn’t cause. It seems to me that the guilt you are feeling is because you are the only one alive to feel guilty, and the grief of losing your husband is multiplied exponentially on top of this tragedy. I hope that you can find some comfort and solace here. <3

    6. My heart breaks for you. I wish life wasn’t so cruel, but it is at times. Why you were in the cross-hairs of it’s indiscrimination is for wisdom beyond our understanding. I don’t know why I felt the need to write to you. Maybe it is because I feel unworthy to live myself at times. This is when despair gets the better of me. Is worthiness really the question? My answer keeps pointing me in the direction of life. We are alive. We owe it to the living and the dead to embrace our life as it is…….my love and light reaches out to you. May there by meaning you discover from your horrific loss. Much love……..LSM

  43. First let me say thank you for sharing your stories and making this site.

    My child had accidentally killed his best friend with a gun he goes ton court neXT mon the . He is pleading out and will receive a 5 year probation. In the beginning the family of the victim supported him telling the police they were best friends and it was an accident. 6 months later they are against him telling lies about the case and as we live in a small town it’s spreading like wild fire. Some support us some dont. There have been indirect death threats towards my child as well. My child has been going through counseling and has been diagnosed with ptsd and lost a career and the best friend. In the beginning I felt so much guilt for having my child here. As they were wrestling around and the gun went off. It could have been my child that day. I’ve went to a few counseling sessions myself. But not sure.they are helping. I feel angry now instead of guilt and all I want to do is protect my child from hurting more. I understand the pain they are going through and it’s easier to hate someone than to love them in their situation. As they had contact with us now they dont. They have put thoughts in one of my other children’s head and he seems to be turning against his family. Im lost.

    1. Kaz,

      I wish your son, you and your family–and the family of the boy–peace. My sister accidentally shot her best friend. In contrast to your situation, the victims family was lovely, but my sister emotionally beat herself up instead and wished they would punish her. Maybe a silver lining to your awful situation with the other family will be that your son will feel that he has paid the price for his role in the accident and be able to move on with less self-blame and guilt.

      While life is the most precious of gifts, you, your son and your other child have experienced a tragic loss as well. Your worlds have been turned upside down and this terrible accident has become the focus. Please continue with the counseling–for your entire family–and know that you are not alone.

      While the scars will always be with each of you, please know that time will heal these wounds. The anniversaries will always be tough on your son–be sure to touch base at that time as the years go on.

      May peace be with you.

  44. Well I’ve been struggling more lately, 25 years ago in 92′ I was 1 year graduated from high school and 18. Basically still a kid, just a normal check of the surf for me and while crossing the bridge a 9 year old boy ran in front of my car. I was only going maybe 25mph so I stopped immediately and he hit the ground and passed away the next day. 25 years and various therapy sessions and still not one day can go by without every emotion possible running through my head. There was no fault in my driving, immediately I was taken to he hospital for a drug test. So clearly I can remember being frozen staring at my stereo completely paralyzed. So many people showed up, the evac helicopter. My parents sorry to say were drunk as usual and did not help. I can remember my father who is a retired police officer running up telling me this is the worst thing I could ever do. I’ll be 44 this year and I still have not discussed it with them. They live 15 miles away and I barely see them but his words will haunt me forever. Sorry for rambling on. I’m just looking for some sort of support group or something. I don’t know. This guilt is never ending.

    1. Hey Erik,
      I understand how hard it is not to be able to talk to parents. In my case my Dad was the one who died and my Mum was there and I can’t keep reminding her of it. I also had parents who were difficult – my Dad drank too much and neither of them were able to really understand my problems with mental health. Last year I felt so bad I had to talk to my sister and cousin and a few friends and they were all supportive. Hopefully you can get some directions from this site – it shows there are people out there who care and who understand. There are lots of kinds of therapy you could try, and things you can do on your own like writing about it. I still struggle but there are plenty of times when I do feel happy and calm as well. Please feel free to reply to me on here if you’d like to talk about it.

    2. Read the article in the New Yorker…It could’ve easily have been me. I left my house 22 years ago, for a brief errand,after a coating of snow, telling my husband, not to let out our chocolate lab puppies, as I didn’t want to hit them, and as I rounded the corner of the garage and drove past pine trees on the left, I saw a flash and the car thumped over something..I immediately stopped and there were two kids on the ground, wailing…They had been sledding from their house up the hill and their route took them through the pine trees across our driveway and then it would have continued on to the bottom of the hill. On the sled had been a boy and his sister..Thankfully she wasn’t going head first, (or she would have had her skill crushed) I ran over her leg (which turned out to need surgery and a cast for 3 months..) the brother was just scared…I had nightmares for months…When they brought the child home from the hospital, they stopped to show me that she was going to be OK and then said, “We all make mistakes” – which I took as he was implying that I had made a mistake which in fact, I had not…one month later, after another snowfall coating, I walked out of my house and saw sled tracks coming from their place, across my driveway again and down the hill. I called the mother and she said her husband was outside watching the kids..They do not have a sight line down to my driveway. I told her that and said I did not want to run over another child. One year later, the same thing, tracks in the snow. At that point, I called the mother and told her her kids were no longer allowed on our property because I did not want to risk harming them accidentally. They moved shortly after that. I understood that even though it was not my fault, if their child had died I would have had to live with that thought the rest of my life. It still frightens me..

    3. I am so sorry for you and what you have been through. Please know that i will be thinking of you and wishing for the best. I don’t think you are any worse (actually probably better) for not seeing your parents (esp. dad, he should know better). You do not need his toxicity in your life my friend.

  45. About a month and a half ago my whole world got flipped upside down. I lost my boyfriend in a car accident where I was the driver. He came in to town to go with me to a wedding the next day. That night we went to visit his best friend who had flew into a city closeby for the weekend. We both talked about how long of a week we had and how tired we were however my boyfriend really wanted to see his best friend so me, my boyfriend and roommate went to see him. After we met up with him had dinner and decided to head back home a few hours later, my boyfriend and roommate fell asleep in the car and I was faced with the rest of the drive alone. I thought I had it under control because this was a drive I did pretty frequently however this time was very different. I felt fine when I started heading home however, once I got closer to home, it got a little more difficult to focus. I was about 10 minutes from home when I veered off the side of the highway into the terrain area which was what woke me up. I was able to get the car back on the shoulder where I gathered my thoughts and realized what had happened. The system in my car notified authorities and ems and I immediately got out the car, pulled both my roommate and my boyfriend out and away from the car as we awaited the ambulance and police. Both were in a state of shock and in some pain however the ambulances came and took them to the nearest hospital which happened to be named one of the best. I spoke to the police and explained what I remember happening. My boyfriend and I are both in medicine and work long hours which I explained to the police. After recording my statement, my best friend picked me up and we went to the hospital to see my boyfriend and best friend. Upon arrival, I was able to almost immediately see my roommate who was in a lot of pain but preparing for surgery due to abdominal injuries from the seatbelt. I remember asking the nurse about my boyfriend and she hesitated and told me she would have the doctor come talk to me which I already knew was not a good sign. About 5 minutes after, the doctor came and sat with me and explained that my boyfriend had suffered abdominal injuries as well and was bleeding alot and had to be taken to the OR.. he was in critical condition. My heart sunk.. I could barely stand up. A couple hours later they allowed me to go see him in the ICU where he was intubated on a ventilator (machine breathing for him). They told me he was bleeding alot and they weren’t able to find the source of the bleeding the first time around. He was taken to and from the OR 2 more times before he acutely decompensated and care had to be escalated. I went to the ER to get checked out when this all happened, I wish I stayed by his side. I texted his mother to check on his progress and her response was “it’s not good.. I think you should come”. Upon arrival, she told me there was a change in his neurological status and when they did a scan of his brain.. there was blood everywhere and he would be neurologically devastated. I immediately fell to the floor in tears.. I could not believe this. His parents made the decision to withdraw support because the doctors said he would be in a vegetative state. My heart hurt.. I never would have imagined that within 24 hours, my boyfriend would be gone from my life. They withdrew support and he passed away shortly after… I cried consistently for a week.. couldnt move off the couch, eat, sleep.. I couldn’t imagine living without him. The next week I had to face my fear for the funeral which I am ever so grateful to my friends who were there for me during this time and made sure I always had someone around to comfort me.. even if it was to sit there while I cried. The amount of hurt, pain, guilt that I felt.. Im not able to put into words. Thinking about the pain his parents, siblings, close friends & family were feeling tears me up even more inside. It has been a little over a month and the pain feels worse. I have started therapy and have tried to work on compartmentalizing my emotions but sometimes I randomly break down in tears. I havent been eating much.. I hate sleeping because everytime I wake up, I have to relive the fact that he is gone.
    I hate the position Im in with this whole situation. I hate the fact that I will always be known as “the driver”. My boyfriend was very well known and he had such an impact on so many lives, its so hard to see all the posts and tributes and videos being shared on social media. To complicate the story, we were in love and had plans to get married once he was finished his medical training but we were very private on our social media accounts. My family had stopped talking to me a few years prior when I came out to them with my ex boyfriend. His family knew about his orientation however they were very religious so it kinda was just not talked about. I made a post expressing how much I missed him and I could never imagine life without him and got very hateful messages from random people trying to preserve his “image” and how he never posted about me therefore im pretty much irrelevant. I have always hated being gay and struggled with being comfortable with who I was and this situation made it so much worse. I deleted my social media account and was told to not publicly express my feelings for him via social media.

    He was my heart, my world, my entire purpose for being alive. We had all these plans to move, get married soon, start a family and just take on the journey of life together. Given my family situation, my boyfriend was my rock, my motivator, and my support system. A few months before this incident, my dad got in a car accident and was hospitalized requiring a hip replacement. My boyfriend was by my side throughout all this. He made sure I was good especially knowing how important my father was to my life because when I was 12 I lost my mother to cancer. He was the best thing to ever happen to me and I don’t know how to get through my days without him. I miss him so much and life seems so purposeless without him in it. I reread our messages all the time and realize how truly in love we both were and it just hurts to feel irrelevant just because we didnt post each other all over social media, to feel guilty for being the driver and to have to imagine continuing life without him. I have never in my life experienced this much pain, hurt, guilt and I dont know what to do to escape these feelings. My heart hurts, it feels like a knife is stuck in it and I just cant fathom living life without him feeling like this forever.

    1. Hey KS,

      I read your post and in a way it sounded like my own experience, which is just above yours on this site. Although the facts are different it feels the same – something terrible happening when you think things are going in the right direction, then the horrible time at the hospital and then somehow having to deal with it all, and seeing the pain of the family. I can relate to all of it and really feel for you. I’d had difficult relationship with my Dad and just before I lost him I thought things were finally going to get better in my family.

      I think the way I got through the first few months was seeing friends and sometimes getting drunk with them (not that that’s a good thing to get into regularly of course), seeing various therapists and councilors, support from my Mum and supporting her, and just doing mundane things like boring work, admin. Also exercise helped me get the worst of the anxiety under control. I started taking anti-depressants too, which I’d used before. I guess it’s a very personal choice whether to use them though.

      I definitely gets easier over time. I’ve had lots of happy moments in the 9 or so years since losing my Dad. In my case I struggled with OCD and depression before the death, and it can be very hard to know if I’m being rational with my guilt or if it’s the illness.

      When I experienced my loss this site didn’t exist and there was nothing much online about what I was feeling. I think it’s good to know others have experienced this and it’s not completely unique.

      I don’t know exactly what I could say except just hang on and work through it, try different things until you find what helps you. It does get easier.

    2. ks my heart goes out to you for your loss. My best friend growing up was gay(I actually had to tell him he was and he was so grateful to know why he was feeling the things he was) We were inseparable (i am female and straight but he never ridiculed me for it). I would love to be your sounding board so you have someone to talk to about things thatyou may be feeling. I am a retired R.N. and am very empathetic and compassionate. No judgement here. Feel free to contact me.

  46. So glad to have found this site. I wish I’d known it when my tragedy took place.

    Mine was a medical situation in Christmas 2008. My Dad was at home having chemotherapy. Due to lots of small mistakes – bad advice from doctors, him not saying how bad he felt (to protect us), my Mum busy trying to help him and her elderly mother, the distractions of the time of year, he was able to become dehydrated and catch pneumonia, we didn’t realise until it was too late and he died after a few hours in hospital.

    I certainly did nothing intentionally wrong, in fact I couldn’t have tried harder to help over the whole time, but I did misunderstand things and not check certain symptoms out. In my case it’s like lots of small mistakes and what ifs, and just thinking how on earth could I not have known he was in danger, he seemed do ill.

    The impact on my family was the hardest thing for me, especially his parents. It was doubly tough as well, since after a very difficult teens and twenties I was finally starting to find some happiness and direction. My Dad had been a severe alcoholic for a time in my teens. I was also just starting to get closer to him as he’d recently given up smoking, which I really appreciated. It was like the one moment my life started to work out then it happened.

    I think one thing which helped me was working through what took place and realising how confusing the situation was. It took years to really put it in perspective. Hindsight leaves you feeling so stupid, but actually there were many things which made it do hard for me to spot the danger. Also I left my Dad on good terms, thinking I’d looked after him really well, even though we hadn’t got on well for a while. I think he was happy I was helping him.

    Doing art has helped me – not art about what happened, just my own stuff. Also being at work with friends is good. I’ve recently spoken to my sister and cousin about what happened too. Recently I’ve finally started to grieve for my Dad a little, it’s a nice feeling, to remember him tenderly.

    I’ve got so much compassion for people on here! Hope you can all find your way on to the next thing.

  47. I have a question I was not in an accident but my boyfriend was recently the driver in an accident in which his coworker and good long time friend was killed in I’m wondering a any tips of how I can help him in anyway and B is there any kind of group for people like me that weren’t directly connected to it but whose lives are totally changing due to it

  48. I killed my baby and I ruined my life. I forgot him in my car. He came to work with me every day. I was running late. I had to open. I had so many things to bring in and so many trips to make from the car to the shop. He was going to be the last trip. But I got stuck with something. Dealing with a customer and the morning chaos. And I never went back out to get him. I just carried on my day. I can see him, sitting there, waiting for me to come back for him. Like every other day. And I never came. He was my soul mate. The best thing that ever happened to me. He was always so happy. And he loved me. And he trusted me. And I let him down in the worst way possible. The weather had been crappy for days. But on this one day…. I don’t know why it had to be on the one hot day. At 4:00 I brought some things out to my car. As I unlocked my door this feeling came over me. I realized I didn’t remember bringing him in. I opened the door and put my stuff on my seat. I couldn’t see him in the back. There was no movement. But the air wasn’t the air of an empty vehicle. I went to the back and opened it. I saw him, most certainly unconscious. I screamed and I pulled his body out and realized it was slightly stiff. I carried him running back to the shop. I was losing my grip on him. He was so heavy. My guy friend grabbed him from me and I yelled to get him into the tub. I ran cold water all over and couldn’t accept that not only had I made this mistake but it had resulted in his death. I put him on the floor and tried to do CPR. But I was trying to resuscitate a dead body. I couldn’t stop screaming at the top of my lungs. They shut the shop down and locked it up. And I held his body and cried for hours. His tongue looked like he had chewed it. I think he had vomited. I think about all the people who had been in the lot, feet away from him, did they know he was there? That he was in distress? They took his body away when I finally let them. And they took me to emergency. He was just shy of 2. We were supposed to have the next 15 years together. I can’t live without him. My life has become a living fucking nightmare. I don’t want to live without him and I can never forgive myself for my negligence. How could I just forget about the single most important thing in my life? Every day is hell. I hurt more than words can describe. It has been two months. I have since lost my home and my friends. I feel judgment from everyone who knows, which pales in comparison to my own self hatred. I begged for help but I didn’t get any and I cry everyday alone just wanting it to end. I don’t know how or why to go on. Don’t know how to honour him. The most beautiful little soul. I’m so sorry…

    1. Dear Sylvia,
      I don’t often reply to people on line, but your message moved me. First of all, I am sorry for this tragic loss. I have talked with several parents who made this mistake. All have endured almost unimaginable grief, trauma, and guilt. It is extremely important that you seek psychotherapy. This can help you cope and find a way to go on. In the meantime, if you are suicidal, I must urge you in the strongest terms to go to the nearest emergency room, contact your doctor or therapist, and/or call the suicide hotline at 1 800 273-8255. The parents I have talked with who had similar experiences eventually found solace in various ways — through church, through activism for child safety, or through caring for a child with special needs, for example. Over time, they learned that redemption comes through the choices they make, not through the psychic punishment they dole out to themselves. For now, however, your challenge is to cope and to find help for yourself. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    2. Sylvia, I’m so sorry your are going through this. I don’t have advice or insight except for this: I want you to know that there are many people in the world, myself included, who can read your story and feel only compassion. If I judge you at all from your story, it is only to judge you as a loving parent. Not everyone is thinking poorly of you, at all. You’re living every parent’s worst nightmare. I’d give you a hug right now if I could. My experience in life has been that the people who judge the most are the people who don’t realize how easily bad stuff happens. They could so easily be in your shoes. They just don’t realize. I hope eventually you will find healing and peace. You deserve it just as much as the next person.

    3. By telling you story, you have honored your son. Your courage to face such a tragedy, to experience this extraordinary pain is a testament to the love you have for your son. Only great love could face the anguish you must feel. I will keep you in my thoughts and may your hell become lighter with each day. Children are unconditional and so pure. His physical body suffered for a short time but his soul is yours forever in a realm that knows no suffering. May you be blessed with self forgiveness. Find a home and make peace with tiny things – a cup of tea, brushing your teeth, a soft breeze. These too are unconditional gifts – timeless like the soul.

    4. Sylvia,
      I know you loved your son. I loved my 2 kids and I did something so stupid that could have killed them both at the same time. I put them in our garden tub and filled it with bubble bath. I thought I Would plug in our bubble machine for added fun. I balanced it on the edge of the tub and watched them giggle and grab at the floating bubbles. My husband happened to come home early and freaked out at my stupidity. To this day, I realize that my dumb decision could have altered our lives forever. I also watched my 18 month old get his stomach pumped after I left out medication that was prescribed for me for a miscarriage. I have also drifted into other lanes while driving on several occasions and have done a million more things that could have harmed others during my lifetime. I HAVE COMPASSION FOR YOU AND WOULD NEVER JUDGE YOU and I know there are MANY others just like me who know they are only one incident away from experiencing agonizing pain. May God comfort you when your mind reverts back to that dark place. Sylvia, I have prayed for you every day since I read your post and I will continue to lift up your name in prayer.

    5. Play an instrument. Sing songs. Read fiction. Get lost in the stories of others in books. When you do these things, you will feel in an other world. Your mind will be distracted. Give yourself this gift. You will start to heal, very slowly. God bless……

    6. Dear, dear Sylvia,
      There isn’t a parent alive (who has actively parented) who hasn’t come close to doing exactly what you did. There are insensitive, judgmental people out there who will bring you down in their need to feel superior. We all get distracted as busy parents. I know I did, and I am simply fortunate, lucky, (or whatever) that I didn’t make the same mistake you did with my own children. I could tell you some scary near-misses with them that to this day, I can’t let my mind revisit. My heart grieves for you. I hope you’ll find a support group like this one and a well-qualified compassionate therapist. Your baby boy was lucky to have such a loving mother even though you don’t feel that way right now. I hope someday you will find peace from this horrendous accident and remember mostly the love you and your sweet little boy shared. Please try to forgive yourself. It truly could happen to any mother.

  49. I, too, am in the healthcare industry. I have had close calls that could have ended my patients’ lives. In my profession, we are required to work in teams, so I have always admitted fault immediately, BUT if I worked alone, my first instinct would mirror yours. That blood pumping feeling that occurs when you first realize you’ve made a mistake is surreal. I think self-preservation is human nature.

    I remember reading about a pharmacist who hastily signed off on a chemo prescription for a little girl. He trusted an intern and didn’t double-check her work. The chemo mixture was wrong, the little girl’s brain swelled, and she passed away. I also read about a nurse who ran to get an oxygen tank for a boy getting an MRI after brain surgery. The metal tank was sucked into the scanner and it crushed the boy’a skull. NEITHER ONE OF THESE PROVIDERS WERE MALICIOUS and neither were YOU. I love all of my patients, but I am literally one button away from severely injuring or killing them on a daily basis. I have considered changing jobs because I know that one mistake could change EVERYTHING! I realize that I could be in your shoes tomorrow. EVERYONE in the healthcare field has experienced that sinking feeling, whether they will admit it or not. I’m praying that you forgive yourself. You are not a monster. Shame on ANYONE who judges you!

  50. I would be honored to talk to your daughter. I’m 33, and my accident was September 16,2014. I ran over my very good friends 17month old daughter and killed her. Much of what i struggle with sounds very similar. I’d be happy to speak personally with her as I would have given anything for that person to be there for me just after my accident.

    1. God bless you, Cassie. I am not in this situation, but I think that your offer to speak to someone is incredibly wonderful kind. To all of you who torture yourselves over innocents mistakes—and I consider no one to blame in any of the stories I read—just ask yourself, did I want this to happen? Of course you didn’t. You would have done everything on earth to prevent the tragedy. I wish I could life your suffering.

  51. December of 2015 I was involved in a accident where a lady was walking down the side of the road. I did not see her and struck her with my vehicle. I called 911 instantly and the cops arrived but she was just laying there motionless. The nxt day I found out it was a girl I graduated high school with and was friend with during and after. Even tho this dosent matter bc my heart was crushed this just made it extremely more difficult. I have not slept in almost a year my minds just keeps going over and over the situation every day. I’m pretty much heartbroken. I feel so sad for her family but I feel there will never be any way to make this right .
    Tomorrow is my court date finally and im hopping it will bring closure with this accident. I understand I was at fault and I understand it was a accident(wrong place at the wrong time). I just hope one day I can move forward and not have this lingering over me.

  52. I am looking for someone who has walked through the experience of being in a car accident that took the life of another. My 29 year old daughter and a 17 yr old young girl both hit, ran over and pinned a man under their cars. The man was stalled on a freshly oiled road, dark at night. The 4 lane road runs east and west. Instead of logical pushing his car ( which was traveling west in the lane closet to the north side of the road, right beside him, he turned the car AGAINST all 4 lanes, and began pushing across all traffic east and west, to the complete other side of the road). First my daughter hit the 41 yr old man, then the young gal behind her also hit him where he got pinned under her car. After one month he has died. My daughter and the 17 yr old behind her were: not on their phones, were not under the influence of any alcohol nor any drugs, were not speeding, were not distracted. Both girls immediately offered phones up to the police. Both girls gave their vehicles up for police to test. Both girls offered up their blood drawn and hair test. All without asking for attorney present. Both girls were completely cleared by investigators of any fault. The police report citing the man as completely his wrong choice. With that said, my daughter is having nightmares ( the little she can sleep), flash backs, guilt, PTSD, depression, anxiety attacks, etc. she immediately began counseling however of course she is struggling with feelings of how to forgive herself, how to ever smile again, how can she ever enjoy life when another family has lost their father, brother, son, etc. Is there an actual group or Facebook group or any real survivors of causing accidental deaths that she can actually TALK to? I am searching for people who will literal talk, share together- not just post and hope for a reply of ” I understand”. Please let me know if such a group exist. If not, perhaps I will find a way to start one. The grief she and others are suffering is so very real and support is desperately needed for these people. Thank you for reading and any help would be very appreciated. God Bless.

    1. 4 months ago in 2016 a car hit my husband while he was crossing a zebra crosswalk. He died as a result of the injuries 2 weeks later. Both were at fault. The driver and pedestrian. How do one move on? Asking for help with counseling and not isolating. Taking time to grief , surrounding myself with nurturing people and environment.No point killing myself, it be just one more tragic lost. Seeking spiritual counseling from pastors . Being the family left with the lost and just knowing that other family have gone through this helps me alot. Gently, 24 hours at a time, through faith and community, and facing reality, acceptance …..inner strength slowly, replace the sheer grief, to integrate the family’s life changing lost, to slowly moving towards life, joy, and living again. Life is short and death is sure. I aim to make the most of my remaining life that will be the best way to honor the dead. Best wishes to All.

    2. I believe your local Hospice group could help with grief counseling. Hospice offers free counseling for up to a year after the loss of a person important to you. Call the Visiting Nurse Association to find the number or Google Hospice for your city. Best of luck to you.

    3. Linda, please reach out to me at ssbarbie@aol.com if you are still looking for a person with whom your daughter and the 17 year old girl could talk to. Our experience is much more recent but similar on many aspects. I am hoping that my son will want to open up to someone and talk about his experience. He keeps hiding behind a wall and diverting meaningful discussions and therapy. He needs someone who can say, been there done that and now what. He is hiding his emotions and it scares me.

  53. I am looking for someone who has walked through the experience of being in a car accident that took the life of another. My 29 year old daughter and a 17 yr old young girl both hit, ran over and pinned a man under their cars. The man was stalled on a freshly oiled road, dark at night. The 4 lane road runs east and west. Instead of logical pushing his car ( which was traveling west in the lane closet to the north side of the road, right beside him, he turned the car AGAINST all 4 lanes, and began pushing across all traffic east and west, to the complete other side of the road). First my daughter hit the 41 yr old man, then the young gal behind her also hit him where he got pinned under her car. After one month he has died. My daughter and the 17 yr old behind her were: not on their phones, were not under the influence of any alcohol nor any drugs, were not speeding, were not distracted. Both girls immediately offered phones up to the police. Both girls gave their vehicles up for police to test. Both girls offered up their blood drawn and hair test. All without asking for attorney present. Both girls were completely cleared by investigators of any fault. The police report citing the man as completely his wrong choice. With that said, my daughter is having nightmares ( the little she can sleep), flash backs, guilt, PTSD, depression, anxiety attacks, etc. she immediately began counseling however of course she is struggling with feelings of how to forgive herself, how to ever smile again, how can she ever enjoy life when another family has lost their father, brother, son, etc. Is there an actual group or Facebook group or any real survivors of causing accidental deaths that she can actually TALK to? I am searching for people who will literal talk, share together- not just post and hope for a reply of ” I understand”. Please let me know if such a group exist. If not, perhaps I will find a way to start one. The grief she and others are suffering is so very real and support is desperately needed for these people. Thank you for reading and any help would be very appreciated. God Bless.

    1. Hi Linda, I’m so very sorry to hear about your daughter and 17 year old girls accident. I don’t know of any other site that deals with these things. When I had my accident which claimed the life of my best friend 20 years ago, the nearest thing to a local support group here was the drug and alcohol classes I had to go to because I had been drinking. They really did help in a lot of ways but non of them had ever been in an accident like mine so they didn’t know how to help with that aspect of it. I couldn’t find one person around here who had been in my shoes much less a support group of this nature. I read once that the best group one could go to would be a war vets group, because many of them know the nightmare of ending a life. Many of them struggle with it really bad. By talking to my neighbor who was a war vet I understood. We could talk for hours and he did know.
      I am grateful for this group and that they share their stories. I would certainly talk to your daughter if she wants to. My email is bonbish1@yahoo.com. God bless you two and the others. I pray you all are able to get the help you need and start healing soon. I know how hard it is and I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy. Also Maryann Gray is a great person to share with. Just send her a note with the contact button on here.

    2. I was involved in an almost similar accident. I was headed to work at 2:40 in the morning when I hit a woman in the middle of the feeder. I was not on my phone I don’t drink just simply going to work to provide for my family. The lady died on impact and it was also ruled an accident. If either of them would like to talk please feel free to email me at buckhunter0311@gmail.com I told my wife that yes I still struggle but I would like to be able to help others out as well. My accident was back in August of this year. So I’m well aware of what she is going through

  54. Chandra,
    My heart is breaking for you tonight as I realize how fresh and raw your accident is.
    Two years ago as of September 16, I ran over my good friends 17 month old daughter in her driveway as I was leaving to take my son and her brother to preschool. She died immediately. It has been such a struggle, in a small town, with family and friends of hers everywhere and grieving. It has made my grief almost unbearable at times.
    What I can tell you is that there is hope, and you may not see it or understand it now, but it will gradually get easier to cope with because you get used to it, not that it will ever get easier as many people like to say.
    My friend (forgiving since day 1) and I founded a charity in her daughters honor. It has brought healing to both of us and our families. We began blogging in the early months, and I think you will be able to relate to much of what was written in these blogs. You can find them at http://www.raiseforrowyn.org
    Hang in there. If you haven’t already, seek Jesus and the Kingdom of God. He is our savior and comes through daily. Life will never be the same, but there is hope and God is Graceful. Be kind to yourself, we are good people who never ever would do this intentionally.

  55. This is my story. I was headed to New Holland to take my two children to their babysitter so I could go to work. I drive past the Dakota Christian school handfuls of times a week. That day a truck pulled out in front of me. Inside was the 14 year old driver, his 11 year old sister, and 10 year old Andrew. No one in the truck was wearing seatbelts and I T-Boned them at 65mph. I had my seatbelt on and my children were in car seats. We walked away with minor injuries. All three children in the other vehicle were ejected from impact. The driver and his sister also had minor injuries. Andrew died. There was nothing I could do. I was not at fault an my tox screens were clear. I was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyday I deal with the guilt and grief of being involved in the accident. I have nightmares and rarely sleep. My mind is my worst enemy. I went to Andrews prayer service and funeral. So many people loved that little boy. I took away his life.
    This happened on Aug 24. Media has posted about this even several states away. I even fear what others think of me now and have a hard time with social anxiety. http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2016/08/24/10-year-old-dies-crash-near-platte/89315984/

  56. My daughter was a driver in a 2 car head on collision 3 months ago. She is still in hospital as she sustained horrific injuries. She has no memory of the crash and it looks like she skidded on an oil spill and her car crossed to the wrong side of the road. The passenger in the other car died but my daughter does not know this yet. As everyone but her knows about the fatality I will have to break this news to her soon before someone lets it slip. Any advice on how to tell her as she has no idea anyone has died.

    1. Hi Bernie, I’m so very sorry to hear of your daughter’s accident and how badly she got hurt. And now such a hard thing to have to tell her. If you have faith in God , I’d say to get prayed up because according to the Bible, He is the master of everything and will help you if you ask. Philippians: 13 says, For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me strength and power. Maybe you can find some good scriptures to share with her.
      For me, I knew my dear friend passed and the one thing that brought me any kind of comfort was the Bible. I needed answers from God , all kinds of answers. Thank God I had a good friend who knew her Bible well and could point me in the right direction in the scriptures for most anything I needed to know. I kept my Bible near by for months. Anytime I felt uncomfortable I picked it up and began to read. I have a few different ones now that loved ones gave me. I refer to my living Bible a lot because it’s easier to understand. Sometimes I pray and ask God questions, then open the Bible to a random page and usually I see the answer. It’s amazing how that works. Other times, I look in the beginning of the book where there is a place called: ‘where can you find it’. It lists pertinent stories of the Bible and under those is a place titled ‘where you can find help when you are’
      It lists and gives you scripture to go to on all kinds of feelings and emotions, like from fearful to lacking direction, worried, making decisions and many more.
      If that’s not the way you’d want to go then I’d say just be as gentle as you can and maybe have a counselor name ready and ask her if she’d want to talk to them about it. Either way she’s probably going to need some degree of counselling to point her in the right direction so she will be able to move forward. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
      With warmest regards

    2. Hi Bernie,

      How old is your daughter? I am soooo sorry for what she (and you, as her father) are going through. Please let her heal from her physical ailments and protect her from that information for as long as you can. As someone that went through her situation, the grief, survivor’s guilt, etc made me further physically I’ll and even temporarily suicidal. Please, please protect her as long as you can and start OUT with a good psychologist who specializes in trauma. I went through many psychologists and psychiatrists near and far before finding one 2 years on that actually helped. If I had found him from get go it would have saved me a lot of grief.

      It’s hard to advise HOW to tell her but I know for me, personally, every time someone dismissed his death with “accidents happen” or “it was just an accident”, it made me angry. Four years in I can say that myself and realize it doesn’t disrespect or dismiss it But is in fact what it was. But every person is different.

      If you can find a good counselor that specializes in PTSD that can be there for her from the beginning, it will help enormously! If you or she need anything I would be glad to help. But I would get a professional involved RIGHT away. Please. You will be saving her a great deal of strife down the road. You are a good father!! Hope she recovers quickly!

  57. I’ve been coming to this site for awhile now. This summer will mark two years since my accident. My friend and I went out to dinner on a Tuesday night. We each had two drinks. We left and I was driving. That is all I remember. I woke up in the hospital and was told I was in a very bad car accident. I was injured- broken ankle and broken ribs along with lacerations all over my body. The police were at the hospital waiting for me to be discharged. Nobody would tell me anything about my friend except that she was airlifted to another hospital. I later found out that she had broken her back and would never walk again. The legal process was grueling and downright scary. I was charged with a felony DUI. My friend did not want me to serve jail time so the judge ordered my license taken away for 1 year, drug and alcohol counseling and hefty fines. I almost felt like I had “gotten away” with something. Now I realize that couldn’t be further from the truth. My whole life has been damaged by the guilt I feel because of the accident. I feel I don’t deserve anything good to happen to me because of what I did. I hide all the good things in my life from my friend because I don’t want her to think I have moved on or that I will ever have anything good again. I have tried so hard to forgive myself but I just can’t. I just have to think about the accident and I start crying. The guilt will never go away. I feel like such a failure at life. The last thing in the world I wanted to do was hurt anyone. I never even considered it when I had the two drinks at the restaurant. I can’t imagine anyone doing anything worse than hurting someone the way I did. I don’t know how to move on. I spend so much time going over and over the accident and the aftermath in my mind. Nothing takes the guilt away. I’m ashamed by what I have done. My friends and family try to make me feel better by saying that we both made the decision to drink at the restaurant and we both got into the car knowing we had drank. For some reason I can’t put any of the blame on her. I own it all. Can anyone help me?

    1. Hi Joyce,
      So sorry for this most painful time in your life. I know it’s so hard to rise above and move on. I remember when all those feelings consumed me too and I wouldn’t wish them on my worse enemy. MGray wrote something under blogs on here I’d recommend you read if you haven’t already. It’s called,’No such thing as an accident’. I’ve wrestled with most everything it says. And to me, she sums it up real well, makes good since to me. Also I found great comfort in this book titled: ‘The Road to Forgiveness’ by Bill and Cindy Griffith. It’s a true story about how they forgave the drunk driver who hit and killed Cindy’s mother and their youngest daughter while on vacation far away. They have even shared their story on Oprah. You can find the book on line just type the name of the book in and it’ll come up on several different sites. It’s been 20 years since the accident I had which claimed the life of my best friend of 30 years. Today, I still think about my dear friend everyday. I’d do anything to take it back but I can’t. What I can and do do is give presentations every year for students, with the hope it’ll keep them from making the same mistake I did. That is what has helped me the most. God bless you and thank-you for sharing your story. You never know how many it will help. I’ll keep you in my prayers, hope you will find a way to move forward in your recovery. I know it’s hard and takes time.Just keep trudging along One day at a time, easy does it.
      Sincerely Bonnie

  58. I tried EMDR therapy the other day. I don’t know if it is for me because I felt so awful for 24 hours.

    I caused an accident last December. Luckily, nobody was hurt or killed but the guilt eats at me.

  59. My son was recently in an alcohol related car accident, still unsure of the driver (either him or the other person), the other person did not make it. There is not much hope that he was not driving but I still pray, he is only 20 and his girlfriend is 7 months pregnant, I don’t know how to go on. I feel as if I failed somewhere.

    1. Dear Joyce, So very sorry for your loss and your son and his family. Please don’t blame yourself. Lots of bad things happen to family’s even with the best of parenting skills. Some times it isn’t anybody’s fault. Bad things that we will never understand happen even to the best of people. Different factors will play a part of what will happen. Like if the other family wants to push incarceration, who the DA is, the judge, if you have any previous record. In my case, I had no record, the other family didn’t want to push for incarceration, the Judge was fair and decent. In the end, I got 5 years probation, a fine, community service and had to go to drug and alcohol. It was a terrifying experience. I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy. It is quite a long process. It all takes time. Some times even if the other family wants to push it, if you get the right judge, he won’t over do it. I’m keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  60. My estranged husband recently had a DUI car accident in which a 5 year old boy was killed. He has not gone through the court system yet as he was very injured and just released from the hospital and taken directly from jail. I want to help him get counsel and other help but it is very hard dealing with what is happening to him and what he has done. Are there any books that you know of that I could send him in jail to help him, and our family, try to cope with the outcome of his actions? Thanks for any assistance.

    1. Dear Bobbie, I am so very sorry to hear about the accident. There is so much turmoil and so many things to deal with. It takes time. For me after my accident that claimed the life of my best friend, reading the Bible, going to church and counseling helped the most. I was facing up to 5 years in prison so along with all the intense emotions of shame, guilt, sorrow, and remorse, I was terrified of going to prison on top of everything else. My 2 boys were 6 and 19. My husband was an over the rd. truck driver and couldn’t be with me a lot of the time. I didn’t know if I’d ever be okay again. I didn’t know anyone else who had been through this to ask. So I wrote a book about my experience called, “Shattered: A Tragedy of Drinking and Driving by Dawn Day,” It is for sale on several websites. It takes you through my personal experience from beginning to end. There is also an excellent book for sale on websites called, ‘The Road To Forgiveness,” by Bill and Cindy Griffiths. They lost a mother and daughter do to a drunk driver and forgave the driver. They are an amazing couple who have even been on Opera to tell their story. I love that book. Keeping you in my prayers.

  61. Sixteen years ago, while I was in seventh grade, I was severely bullied and harassed. My only consolation was my best friend, Josh. He had a condition that confined him to a wheelchair for his entire life, and he had already beaten the doctors’ prognosis that he would only last for eight years, by a whole six.

    Due to the harassment at school, as well as harassment by the school board and Child Protective Services, I was under a lot of psychological pressure, and had to change schools for my eighth grade year. While we didn’t visit or talk as often, we still did. After I changed schools, Josh’s physical and emotional conditions got steadily worse, until one day, at lunch, he just died. He was revived three times, on the way to the hospital, and kept on life support for 60 days. During that time, whenever I would call, I was told he was sick, and I should call again next week.

    After Bible study, one night, I thought it would be nice to drop him off something from the class, so I asked for us to swing by his place. His father told me he was dead, but I couldn’t believe it. I walked into his house, and shouted that it wasn’t funny for him to act like he was dead. When I saw his empty, black leather wheelchair, with his name monogrammed in gold on the backrest, I knew it was real. The guy I called my “twin” was dead.

    This 11th marked the 16th anniversary of his death, and though I couldn’t make it yet, I do have an opportunity this year. I guess that’s why I’m taking it harder than usual. This is where a question comes to mind, and I thought some of you could tell me, for sure, whether it’s true or not. Did my leaving cause my friend to die? Am I to blame for his death? Intellectually, it’s untrue; in my heart, I can’t tell for sure…

    1. No you are not to blame. Let me share my story: a friend and I were working on a project upstate; not for money but I washer hope of completing it. To help her I postponed seeing my sister in NYC who was terribly worried about a pending diagnosis, with good reason. My friend and I had been working late, til 3 sometimes and both sort of high not from substance but in my case anxiety and hers excitement. She agreed to drive me down so I would have some things I needed in the empty apt I was moving to and so I could meet my sister at train next day. That evening on her way back my friend hit a tree, killed instantly. Have never dealt well with it. Feel like my soul stolen. Intellectually we know some things can’t be helped yet there is not a day I don’t feel grief and regret. But I know you are not to blame.

      Try to know some peace. You do deserve it.

  62. Hi. I was recently asked to help a young family member of a friend of mine with a legal matter. This case involves three 18 year old boys, best friends. August 2015 a tragic accident took place, an accident that will forever change the lives of all three families, and everyone who knew and loved these boys. One of these boys had a loaded weapon that discharged after dropping it and shot his best friend. The kid stayed with his friend trying to stop the bleeding, crying, repeating I am so sorry it was an accident. I cannot imagine what a traumatic experience this young man endured with this alone, but what happens from there only gets worse. This kid is put in handcuffs covered in his friends blood. He is interrogated by several officers, taken to a police station stripped naked of his clothing, given a paper suit to wear and there his is interrogated for hours. His mouth is swabbed his hands are swabbed, he is devastated, emotionally distraught and in tears. Nobody offers this kid help, nobody asks this kid if he is ok, and nobody cares. He is being charged, and forced into to taking a plea bargain that will incarcerate him as a dangerous criminal for the next 10 to 21 years, because he is not financially able to defend himself and he does not feel he deserves anything better. This kid is falling apart inside, I can see it in his eyes. He was publicly smeared by people who know nothing of the events that occurred, but just judged him anyway. The judge, prosecutor, and everyone involved say they all realize this is just a tragic accident, they acknowledge the emotions displayed by this young man make it hard to contain emotion themselves. I myself, break down and cried with this kid. Yet, still no one has offered this boy any type of help. He is definitly experiencing what I have read in all these posts….guilt, shame, isolation, fear of going out, blame, punishing himself, and a sadness. loss. and grief unimaginable to those who have not experienced such a tragedy. He feels he deserves to be in prison, or worse. His trial will be here in less than a month, and I need to know how or where I can get some help for this kid. He is in Phoenix, AZ so if anyone has any resources that my be of help to this young man Please let me know. This is a good kid, and I know he can make his life better by giving meaning to his friends life to prevent this from happening to other kids. I know if he could share his story with other kids that he may save others from the same fate. How can I get him involved to share his story. Where who how does one go about doing that? Anyone any suggestions would be helpful. I look into this kids eyes and it just breaks my heart. Thank you all for sharing your stories. I cannot wait to show this to him tomorrow. I know he will find comfort here. Thank you again for any information or resources you can provide.

    1. Hi Colleen, So very sorry to hear this. And can imagine his sever turmoil. Accidents do happen and it’s so awful to face prison on top of the great loss of your dear friend. Hopefully these people can help. It’s worth a try.
      Community Legal Services is an organization that was created by attorneys and several law firms throughout Arizona. The focus is on the city of Phoenix. They can direct people in need to legal programs and other resources that can provide them with help. Contact the organization at 1(800) 852-9075.
      I’ll keep him and all the family’s in my prayers.

  63. Hello, I have written before on this site several months ago. I was involved in a tragic accident September 16, 2014. I was picking up my friends son for preschool, when I accidently ran over her 17 month old daughter in her driveway, taking her life. It has been the hardest year of my entire life. In the midst of it all, somehow God led us in the direction to write a book. My friend and I have joined forces and started a charity in honor of her daughter called Raise for Rowyn, but the book we just published is called, Life of an Angel. I think anyone who has gone through what any of us have on this site, could benefit from reading a book written chapter for chapter by the childs mother, and me, the one her took her childs life. It’s gotten amazing reviews, I and felt I should share this with all of you.
    You can find the book on amazon, ibooks, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. It is in ebook form at this time, but should be available for paperback purchase by Monday. Thank you for listening.


  64. Hey Everyone just wanted you to know I got my license back a couple of days ago I had lost them for a year because of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle. The victims family was very vocol that I lost them. It seems strange to be able to drive again. I will always remember the things the family said the day if court. But I’m asking that you all be in prayer for me as I try and get my life back in order and be able to take care of my family. This site has been very soothing and inspirational to me love you all Rone

    1. Congratulations Rone, Thanks for sharing. It’s good to hear the positive things. These things may help others. Maybe if we all share some positives, and ways we are moving forward, it’ll help all of us.

  65. So sorry to hear about your nieces accident. The love of family and friends is always a good thing. Maybe if she sees this site she may find some comfort just to know she’s not alone. After my fatal accident that claimed the life of my best friend one of the things I needed most was to find someone like me who could tell me if I’d ever be okay again. Back then there wasn’t anyone I knew who had ever been through it. I was so happy to find this site. Also, she may want to talk to a friend who can pray with her. Thank God I had a friend who knew her Bible well and could answer any questions I could throw at her and back it up with scripture. She prayed with me and took me to church. I needed to be as close to God as I possibly could. I’m keeping her in my prayers.

  66. This didn’t happened to me, but my niece crashed into a bicyclist yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t her fault, the guy just went in front of her and she hit the breaks but it was to late. The guy was ejected from the bike, striking the windshield and roof of the car and he wasn’t wearing a helmet. He died at the hospital and now she feels awful and guilty. I wan’t to comfort her but I don’t know how, what can I do to help her? She’s only 20 years old and her mom is not even in town.
    Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do for her?
    Thank you

    1. Hi. I am deeply sorry to hear about your niece. That is honestly so very tragic. I actually went through the same thing when I was 21 years old, on September 29, 2012. My family and close friends tried their hardest to comfort me with words and gifts, like flowers and cards, but in reality, nothing they said or did really helped me cope with the emotion and trauma that I was dealing with. In my personal opinion and from my personal experience, I truly don’t think there’s anything anyone could do or say to make her feel any better at this moment, but what you can do is pray for her and hope that she gains the strength to understand that this was just an accident and it was not her fault, and to not allow it to control her life or to let it define who she is. Something like this is extremely difficult to deal with and, for me, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with in my entire life, and I’m sure it will be for her as well. What I did was I immediately sought counseling, which was very scary, but helpful in the end. There were also alot of helpful books, and of course, God. It was also very helpful to speak with other people who have gone through the same thing, which is why this website has brought a lot of comfort to me. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think of the accident or the man that I killed, but I have learned to move on and to be happy again. I hope and pray that she gets through this and that she has a great support system behind her. Please let me know if there is anything, anything at all that I can do to help.

      God bless,


  67. Cassie – I did not realize anyone posted here after I did. I want you to know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Your accident was something that happened to the husband of one of my mom’s very dear friends years ago – actually decades ago. My mom was a “story teller” – actually her whole family was and I heard about various things sad, wonderful an everything in between. I look back and realize they were wonderful life lessons about how messy but wonderful life is. It’s never easy but the more “real” stories we hear I know understand the more we all have in common. This dear old friend of my mom’s really suffered but everyone knew it was truly an accident and he moved on. He lived his life and was supported by those who loved him and I realize now it didn’t define him – it was part of his life and “part of life” in general. For some reason one day when I was trying to get out of the house for a while (I was packing up my own house to move but in the middle of all that my mom, who had navigated late stage lung cancer for several years so well, suddenly got worse and was attempting chemo). I was her main caretaker and just needs a break but mom kept talking about tragedies that had happened to people she knew in a very calm manner, almost in a way that seemed she wanted to tell me that things just happen sometimes and people move through it and go on. She ended with recounting a fictitious story she had seen on the old show Touched by an Angel. I was so intent on getting away for a few hours I struggled to patiently listen. A few months later she passed and then in a few more I had my accident. It hit me sometime after when I was wishing I still had my mom for comfort, I realized she had already done that with her stories of people she knew. I don’t know what compelled me to write all that. I hope you see it. I feel terrible I didn’t see your post and offer you support sooner. Please take care Cassie.

    1. A bible school teacher recently gave me ‘new meaning’ concerning Psalms 23. “The Lord is my Shepherd”. He pointed out that the staff that the shepherds of old had a straight end and a crooked (curved) end. If the sheep had a tendency of straying from the flock, then the shepherd would break the sheep’s legs with the straight end. If the sheep continued to stray, then the shepherd would use the crooked end to ‘collar’ the sheep back into the fold. I have began to think that my accident was a message from “God” my higher power, however you want to imagine it, that was meant to ‘break my legs’. I have overlooked so many earlier messages. I have always kind of lived life on the fence …. basically a good hearted person, but with a few indulgences. I do not know what kind of person Cassie has been, but instinctually I feel like she is a good person. Random things happen to good people! You can NOT let your accident define you! You must find a way to make this world a better place to live in for every person in your life and every person that you meet from now until the day you die!

  68. I have been in a similar situation but unfortunately I didn’t realise my mistake till along time after. I feel like a horrible unworthy person but all I can keep doing is to keep try and better my self I will never forget and will never get the answers I want but if I can keep plodding on and doing the best I can.

  69. My heart is broken for you as I struggle with my own thoughts and feelings right now. We are approaching the one year since i tragically ran over my friends 17 month old her her driveway. The season, the feelings and the overwhelming guilt flood me daily right now. Keep your head up I also feel in the fog. Xo Cassie

  70. I found this site in the middle of the night after doing a search on support for drivers in fatal accidents. I woke and knew I would not go back to sleep. I had my accident three years ago today, late afternoon, on a road I’d driven over a hundred times, headed for a sibling’s birthday party. A woman had just started to cross the road to join her husband is on the other side – there was a makeshift parking lot on the other side as there was an outdoor family event onnthe other side. I had just slowed to an almost halt because I saw something I thought was about to cross oj the right side then realized it was a big dead bird and its wing was flopping in the breeze. I started to accellerate and in just seconds somethings on the left side caught my eye – at the time it seemed it was a person coming across I hovered my foot over the break and in a split second there was a person dashing in front of me. It was an intensely hot and mostly sunny day and sunlight seemed to be bouncing off those cars and even with sunglasses it was the actively on the left I thought was cause for stopping. My phone was off – I had purposely shut it off because it was a new phone and the ring startled me miles earlier. I got no ticket, no points, a slap a year later because I did not file some DMV form in addition to what seemed like the hundreds of other reports with local officers, the insurance company, etc and has a short license suspension my lawyer wanted me to allow him to contest (DMV hearing) but for fear it would tick someone off and it would make that worse I didn’t approve. Thank-you for this site – reading it in the middle of the night made me finally feel like someone understood. Not that people haven’t tried or been kind. I go back and forth – fear i have no right to get on with things, take one step forward two steps back. Driving this time of year makes me literally SICK. Three years later most people do not get that. I will understand why they don’t understand. They see a no fault accident because I got no ticket. I am still afraid to say what I feel for fear it sounds I don’t care that I snuffed out a life. I do care. I lost my mom to cancer a few months earlierand my boyfriend of 16 years 5 days after my accident to cancer. I know the impact of those losses to me – I can understand the family’s pain. I don’t know what will happen to me I’ve sort of floated in a cloud of pretend competence for three years. I had therapy till it ran out. I’m not looking for answers here per we but I sure am glad to be acquainted with you all.

  71. I had an accident last Wednesday on a dark state highway near my home. My daughter and I were driving along, rounded the top of a hill and starting down it all of a sudden a bicyclist flew up over my windshield. I saw him at the very last second. No time to react , nothing. He had no lights, no reflective gear, nothing. But still, I am feeling such despair. I cannot get out of this. I wasn’t drinking I wasn’t on drugs, I wasn’t texting, we were both looking. I can’t even deal with this at all, any ideas on how to keep going for my three children?

    1. Angela – hoping and praying you have found some peace. I wish I knew why these random things happen. But at least through this site you know you have company. That’s one thing I needed – just company who “gets it”. I remembered after hearing about an accident near where I live last night that I posted here a while back and looked once or twice but then forgot. Actually a relative of mine informed me her sister witnessed it and spent time comforting the person driving. Now I want to encourage everyone on here to take heart. It happens – why? Why us? Why anything. But it happens and here we get it so it with so many more. Not a club anyone wanted to join I’m sure, but at least we know it happens to others and in that hopefully we find resolve to keep on. I hope you do. Take care…

  72. I definitely feel your pain. I hit a pedestrian with a .39 bac. He had to have been almost comatose. Yet, here I am, a year later, still dealing with the legal and human variables. I struggle with survivors guilt every day.

  73. I just had my accident on June 30, 2015. I live in Costa Rica. I hit and killed a man who had stopped his motorcycle on a blind curve. Very narrow dirt road.
    I am scared. I have a long history of PTSD because I grew up in a very violent family. Both of my parents were mentally ill, and back in 1950-60’s the government did not intervene the way it does now. My siblings and my mother were beaten by my father but I never was. The reason for that was that my father was sexually attracted to me. What a family! What a childhood!
    So I’ve been in therapy my whole life. My PTSD is really C-PTSD – Complex PTSD. It happens to abused children. My biggest problem has always been guilt. I have an overly acute weird sense of responsibility for all suffering… and it stems from what is literally “survivor guilt”. You know, the one person who survives the plane crash and spends the rest of their life living with shame and guilt. I will get up and walk to my swimming pool to rescue a struggling bug. That really says it best. I cannot tolerate suffering.
    I don’t want to leave my house. Has anyone else had this reaction? I forced myself to go for my beach walk yesterday and had a panic attack and ran home and burst into tears.
    The man I killed was in his early 40’s with two young boys. His name was Danilo. He was very well-liked in the community. He was a tico – native Costa Ricans call themselves ticos (and they don’t capitalize it).
    Due to my past, I have long history of helping people. I only take on difficult situations. I helped save the life of a man on death row… I was an attorney in the USA. I was an advocate for 10 years for a man with multiple disabilities. I made him be my brother. And here, I work to alleviate poverty. I started a Food Bank, a summer camp for kids in a poor neighborhood, and on and on.
    So….. all of this is the making of my fear. I’m already on a psychiatric disability and I already am in therapy and I already take medication. It is only since moving to Costa Rica that I have learned to be happy and enjoy life – mostly through lots of physical exercise and friends (never had many friends before).
    Do we have a right to enjoy life after we kill someone? I think so. I think that at 60 years old if I don’t continue to be happy I will regret it. And yet… with this….
    Well I am still right in the thick of it. I am hoping time will help. I am not a religious person and was raised an atheist, so praying is not an option.
    How long does it take before you – any of you – could go into public again? Could stop feeling the rawness of it? It seems to be getting worse for me… and I think maybe I am still coming out of shock.

    1. Hi Linda, So very sorry this happened in your life. You sound like such a nice lady who has already had your share of heartache. I was 38 when I had an alcohol related accident and my best friend of many years died. I was charged with vehicular manslaughter. So along with my sorrow, grief, intense shame, guilt fear and worry for her family and mine plus all our friends who lost her, it took some time before I felt okay enough to go out and about by myself. It’s like one day I thought I knew who I was and then this unexpected accident happens that I certainly never would have intentionally done and the next day I didn’t know anything. I was knocked right off my perch and buried right along with her. It took maybe a year to be able to go out by myself with out stressing every minute and about 4 years for me to feel half way normal. If it wasn’t for being forced to go out to Drug and Alcohol meetings, community service and probation, I don’t know how long it would have taken. Slowly as I attended these functions and talked to other people the healing began. I lived way out in the country and of course lost my drivers licence for a couple of years, so I couldn’t just go out into the public very easily. My husband was an over the road trucker who was gone a lot. Thank God for a friend who came to stay with me to help with our 2 boys 6 and 19 and drive us where we needed to go. I kept wishing there was someone who could tell me if I’d ever be okay again but I didn’t know anyone who had gone through this. Eventually I wrote a book titled, “Shattered: A Tragedy of Drinking and Driving” by Dawn Day, hoping it could help others not to do what I did, or maybe help others who had and were looking for answers like I was. It is for sale on Amazon and Create a Space. It is listed on here under recommended reading along with quite a few other good reads. There is also a great book on here called,” The Road To Forgiveness” by Bill Griffith. He and his wife Cindy, lost their daughter and and Cindy’s mother to a drunk driver. The book tells how they came to forgive the driver and even befriend her. They are amazing people and I love their book. Hope this helps some. Again, I’m so sorry. I’m wishing you a speedy recovery. Hang in there and if you ever need to talk, bonbish1@yahoo.com

  74. I too had an accident 2.5 years ago. I was driving my truck with my 3 children ( all under the age of 8) to go get crafts at the Dollar Store. On this day, all three of them were quiet, and actually getting along. My cell phone sat in it’s holder not being used. I was stopped at a red light and was going to turn left when it went green. I looked away for a second while still stopped at my red light, looked up and the light was green for me to turn left. I proceeded left and BANG… hit something really hard. As it turned out that something was a 70 year old woman but I never ever saw her. I wasn’t going fast so she did survive. This just happened to be right in front of a medical building so the lady was tended to right away…while I tried to help my children. They were not hurt but they were highly distraught and I stayed with them. I feel guilt for not getting out and helping her first. She was being tended to, and I was protecting my children. . was charged with failing to yield. The cop screwed up the ticket and all the information was wrong… Wrong address, wrong street, wrong turn. I did not fight it over the fact that I did hit a person. But, the stress the cop caused was over the top. The worst part for me ( I think ) was the judgements from by standers ( although some were helpful)… it was an accident.. I still don’t know where she was ( in the walk way or if she stepped off the curb). Regardless I didn’t see her and people’s thoughts can be harmful. Within a week of the accident the family decided to sue us. To me this seemed like a slap in the face. I was beyond words upset. I was thankful the lady didn’t die but also upset that this had to be dragged on. The accident happened Sept 28th 2012 and it just settled this past April 28th , 2015. Was I happy it was over? I should be but I have been experiencing the whole thing all over again and feeling bad about myself, and guilty. I started journaling which has helped and also realized that something good comes out of everything bad. I would like to start a book of everyone’s stories to aid in the healing of all drivers. If you would like to participate, please email me danafawcett@yahoo.ca

  75. Hi Orla,
    So very sorry to hear about this accident. It is definitely a hard road to tow. My accident was 18 years ago and there wasn’t anyone I knew that I could talk to about it who would understand because you have to have experienced it to really know how horrible and painful it is. It just crushes you into the ground knowing all the lives that were shattered that day. Feels like something ugly that you just can’t wash off. I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy. I wished that I had someone who could tell me if I’d ever be okay. It does take time for it to get less intense. I was amazed my hair didn’t turn all grey and fall out. In time with my support groups and caring people, I slowly got stronger. For me, I think it took about 4 years to feel half way normal. And it never goes away, you just learn how to live with it and things will get less intense. I do believe if I’d had a place like this to go, I may have healed quicker. There is some pretty good books on here in the recommended reading that may help some. Thank you for sharing your story. You never know how many people you may help. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    1. Thank you for sharing . your words are exactly how I feel, crushed and ugly. My accident was 20 months ago, a boating accident causing the death of a friends teen age son. it was devastating and there was many of us involved from the kids on the boat to the friends and family on the shore as first responders. It was horrific , his injuries caused his death 4 days after the event. I have been doing many things from counseling to listening to religious passages on the radio, reading books. All have helped greatly. I feel I am moving forward, but I struggle with his family, they have not wanted to see me talk to me, this is difficult as we live in a small town and our paths have crossed. The mother has verbally attacked me many times and just recently she had a few people with her and they were very aggressive to me. This accident is very traumatic and horrific, I would never intentionally do anything to hurt him or his family.

      1. Karen, I am so very sorry you’ve had to endure the horrific pain of this kind and even worse to be attacked by the family. I’m keeping you in my prayers. I encourage you to read the book called,”Road To Forgiveness” by William Griffith. It’s listed in ‘recommended reading’ on this site and Amazon and a few other places has it for sale. It helped me a lot because this family lost 2 family members and tells how they forgave the driver. If you ever want to talk you can reach me at bonbish1@yahoo.com I’ll keep you in my prayers and hope you keep healing.
        Sincerely Bonnie

    2. Bonnie – you are such a kind person for commenting on all of these stories and retelling your own. Although you experienced a terrible point in your life 18 years ago look at how many people you are helping now. I think this helps the healing process and helps us to make amends. 7 weeks ago I accidentally dropped my 3 week old son while carrying him which resulted in a skull fracture. We were told he doesn’t have brain damage but there is a chance he will require surgery in the future to repair the bone. The amount of guilt and anguish I experience on a daily basis is incredible and makes it even harder to put on a brave face and soldier through each day when I have to be there for him and provide for him. I can’t fall apart because he relies on me to take care of him, feed him, etc. I know that all of us here would do ANYTHING to go back in time and replay that moment over and over in our minds but I think you’ve unlocked the key to recovery which is helping others and being there for those who need you. Whether it’s the students who you talk to (I read in your other comments) or, for me, my son. Picking yourself up and trying to make a difference now reminds us that it is not too late. We can still bring positivity into this world and change other people’s lives FOR THE BETTER which is something many of us have forgotten is possible. Thank you so much for reminding us that we CAN heal and that it does get better.

      1. Thank you for your kind words Liz,
        It always helps me to hear positive feedback. So sorry to hear about your sons injury. You sound like a very caring and loving mother. I will keep you and him in my prayers. He is so young he won’t remember this. And God knows it was an accident. Thank God there’s no brain damage. Just remember, God is the master of all miracles and with him all things are possible. I pray your son won’t have to have surgery. But if he does, God will be the one preforming it if you ask him. I remember feeling that heavy guilt and anguish everyday from the moment I woke up, till the moment I went to sleep. I remember when the crocodile hunter got stung and died by that stingray. A reporter asked his wife how she was doing and she said one minute at a time. I totally understood that because that’s how heavy it was for me. With time and the help of God and a lot of support, as the days went by, I slowly got better. It never goes away but I have learned to live with it better. And it kills me that so many others have been forced to live with it. You are welcome if I helped in anyway. That helps me to know that. And it does get better. Just takes some time.

        With Warmest Regards

  76. A few months ago I aquaplaned on a road I drove almost everyday for 12 years. I hit the on coming car and the driver died. He was in his 70’s and I have been told he died of a heart attack but the only reason he would have had that is the massive trauma he would have sustained in the accident.
    When I was lying on the road waiting for the ambulance to arrive I worked out he had died as no one would tell me how he was. I remember retreating into myself and wishing I had not survived either. The next few days in hospital were horrendous as I read about this man I had killed and the wonderful life he had lived. For some reason it helped that he wasn’t a young father but a man entering the last phase of his life and it helped that he had lived such a good life but I can’t get away from the thought that I cut that life short. I can’t get away from thoughts of his huge family that loved him and would miss him everyday. I worked with his nephew and he is a good friend of mine – that was a terrible discovery. I always think about his wife and imagine her lonliness without him with her children all adults.
    I spent 9 weeks in a wheelchair and had so many visitors I could hardly get time to think – I always put on a brave face because I was afraid if I cracked I would never be put back together again. I have three beautiful young children that don’t deserve that either. I was surprised how well I was coping – I started to drive, laugh and even genuinely enjoy myself. I felt so guilty and thought I was cold hearted that I hadn’t fallen to pieces. Then I came to the conclusion that I had to honour his death by living a better life – spending more quality time with my children and realigning my priorities. I was doing well.
    Last week I was charged with negligent driving and another offence related to my back tyres not being good enough. I feel like I’m back at square one. I am profoundly sad and it is a real effort to brave face it. I had hoped that the accident would be ruled an accident so I would know I couldn’t have prevented it and the family would know he didn’t die because someone was stupid on the road. Now I really feel like I killed someone. It is such a horrible thing to even think. The guilt is immense. Given time I hope to get back to the place I was at pre charges but I am thankful for your stories to know I am not alone. I was grateful to read 6 mth mark can be hard (that is what I am close to too) and I am going to place the quote about the three choices all over my house and work space. I am not a religious person but I pray for peace for the family and acceptance for me.
    Thank you for a site to discuss a situation and feelings so few can understand.

    1. Hi Everyone may I ask what sentence did you all get for your accident. I got a 60 day jail sentence which was waived for 18 month supervised probation loss of license for one year and the accident incurs 12 points from DMV . I had a clean record until that day had never had a ticket. The family was furious with me but I cried for there loved one everyday they only saw me as a killer and they wanted justice. I have worried so much till my hair had fallen out. Sometimes I feel so ashamed. My family think I’m doing fine cause I put up
      A front but I’m really broke to pieces.

      1. Hi Rone, My sentence involved alcohol and my best friend died so it was 5 years probation, a fine, 250 hours of community service, loss of my licence for 2 years and of course all the emotions from it will never really go away. Just gets less intense over time. I’m so grateful that her family knew what good friends we were and did forgive me. They didn’t push for me to be incarcerated. Her mom although has forgiven me, hasn’t been able to talk to me. She said right from the beginning that she was glad I was okay and to do what ever I could to get me through this. And when she feels ready she will get a hold of me. There is a wonderful book on here in ‘recommended reading’, called ‘Road to Forgiveness’ by Bill and Cindy Griffith. A couple who lost their youngest daughter and Cindy’s mother when a drunk driver hit them. They forgave the driver and Cindy befriended the driver and even went to see her a few states away. There was quite a story about it on Oprah. You can still find that Oprah partial interview on line. I found great comfort in this book. I strongly recommend it. It helped me a lot and I believe it can help many others for all kinds of situations. Hope you get feeling better.
        With warm regards. Bonnie

    2. Hi Everyone may I ask what sentence did you all get for your accident. I got a 60 day jail sentence which was waived for 18 month supervised probation loss of license for one year and the accident incurs 12 points from DMV . I had a clean record until that day had never had a ticket. The family was furious with me but I cried for there loved one everyday they only saw me as a killer and they wanted justice. I have worried so much till my hair had fallen out. Sometimes I feel so ashamed. My family think I’m doing fine cause I put up
      A front but I’m really broke to pieces.

  77. Thank you for creating this site. I am a mom who accidentally injured my child and it’s a daily struggle for me. When my son was 3 months, I was headed to the playground with my older daughter and husband while carrying my son in a front pack baby carrier. Suddenly, I tripped and fell while walking on a cement path. I fell too fast to break my fall in time and my sons head hit the ground. We called 911 and he was rushed to the hospital instantly. He had a severe skull fracture and epidural bleed and required brain surgery. He was in a medically induced coma for almost a week. We are very fortunate that he survived. He is now 14 months old and doing well but goes to physical therapy due to a weakness on one side of his body caused by the accident. He can’t crawl or walk yet. I know these milestones will come in time and I am grateful everyday for the progress he has made. However, as a mother, I cannot help but feel overwhelming grief and sadness over what has happened. I know it was truly an accident but that doesn’t take away the pain. I appreciate reading others stories as it helps me to see I am not alone in this struggle. I wish you all inner peace.

    1. I had a very similar situation happen to me. I am a first time mom and 7 weeks ago when my son was 3 weeks old he jerked his head as I was carrying him and fell out of my arms hitting his head on our hardwood floor. We took him to the ER immediately and although he never lost consciousness or vomited, etc. he also suffered a large skull fracture. He was discharged from the hospital after being observed overnight and the swelling went away a few days later but has recently returned about 2 weeks ago. I’m afraid that this is indicative of a growing skull fracture and that he will need surgery to repair the bone. He is being closely monitored by a neurosurgeon and will go back in 2 weeks for another MRI to make sure the bone is healing. I can’t express the amount of guilt and anxiety that I experience constantly. I know my son needs me to be strong for him, especially at this young age where he relies on me for literally everything but it is a daily struggle to function when I feel like the worst mother on the planet. I replay the moment over and over in my mind and torture myself with what I “should’ve” been doing – holding him with a tighter grip. I know it was clearly an accident but I can’t help but feeling like I just should’ve been more careful. To make matters worse the hospital called Child Protective Services (they claim they have to for any child under a year old with a head injury) who came to our house twice. Thankfully the “investigation” was closed and there were no findings, as it was clearly an accident which the doctors at the second hospital corroborated but it only served to make me feel worse! Every time I look at my beautiful son I see the swelling on the back of his head and feel terrible that I caused him to go through this and conjure up the worst case scenario of him eventually needing surgery and having possible issues in the future. I pray for all of you because I know, as we all have learned, that our lives can change in a matter of seconds – bad things happen to good people and while these things could’ve happened to anyone we were the unlucky ones. I hope that we all find the strength to move forward with our lives and be there for the people who love and need us. I wish that one day we will all have peace. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  78. Hi! I am so grateful to have found this site and to read posts offering support and guidance. I am so sorry to read some your experiences and tragedies that you have had to go through.
    I am really struggling to deal with an accident that happened last weekend, and keep seeing it happen, replaying it over and over and over, in my mind’s eye. I accidently injured my little girl last weekend at our son’s ice skating birthday party. She is 3 and a half and is determined that anything her older brother can do (he is 7), she can do too. We have all skated several times before, except for our daughter. I took her onto the ice and she was really getting into it, and getting the hang of it, with me supporting her by her hands. I wanted to get off the ice for a bit as more guests were arriving and she asked if we could skate further, as “I’m doing it, Momma, I’m really doing it”. In my heart, I wanted to get off, and I so wish I had listened to myself!!! However, we skated a little further, with me supporting her by holding both her hands. She suddenly pitched backwards and to counter it, I let go of her right hand to reach for, and move us towards the railing.
    She then countered her fall and pitched forwards with her right hand hitting the ice, right in front of me. I accidentally stepped onto her tiny little hand, with my skate, severely cutting three fingers, fracturing her pinky and damaging three tendons. That moment when I realized what had happened, and she realized what had happened and started wailing is quite honestly the worst moment of my life, to date.
    She had to have emergency surgery that night to reattach the tendons, suture the lacerations (almost to the bone) and set the fracture on her pinky.
    We spent the night in hospital after the surgery and she was discharged the following afternoon, and in three weeks, we will have the cast off to see how the healing has progressed, and if there is any damage to her tendons and her joint capsules.
    My reason and intellect know that this was a terrible accident, one that happened in a split second and that I probably could not have avoided, but I cannot seem to stop thinking about this. My husband has been reassuring and has really been such a rock, but he cannot understand why I can’t seem to move forward and stop being so emotional about it. He is 100% right that we have to focus on getting her better and supporting her through this. I am trying to hold it together but I have been physically sick and the image of when my skate cut her hand keeps replaying in my mind’s eye.
    She is a little soldier and the orthopedic surgeon seems confident that she should make a full recovery. And if not, then he is confident that we can pursue other treatment and therapy. However, I am petrified that I have done serious damage to her hand. I know that this may seem less serious than some of the other experiences on the site, but I keep thinking that I am supposed to protect my children, and here is an instance where I seriously hurt her, albeit accidently. I feel rocked to the core and even typing this, have a constant sick feeling in my stomach, and tears are never far away. Any suggestions on how I can move forward? xxx

    1. Hi, I’m very sorry to hear about the accident you were involved in. I can relate a lot to what you describe with the replay the tears and guilt and coulda woulda shoulda. As for me an my experience I now have a diagnosis of PTSD. Your accident is so fresh possibly this will be acute for you. Unfortunately, as parents we cannot always protect our kids and you are very blessed it was just her fingers and not life threatening. I myself hAve become extremely spiritual and I attend therapy sessions 1-2 times a week. I continue to struggle with off days and moving forward. I’d say hold your heAd high and be the strong one because that is what you children need to see. I lose it at times around my kids but for the most part we have to keep moving forward. Take care of yourself, and take it easy on yourself. Hug

  79. Hi Francine, So sorry for the accident and what you have to endure. As for me and the accident I had that claimed the life of my best friend of many years, I found it odd that I didn’t seem to cry much. I’d get tears in my eyes a lot but wasn’t really sobbing the way you’d imagine considering what had happened and how much I loved this lady. Finally, I talked to the psychologist I was advised to see during my time in drug and alcohol, just to make sure I would be okay and wouldn’t fall apart 20 years down the road. I also told her it seemed weird that I slept good most nights. She said that I had been dealing with so many stressful and legal and emotional things, that I hadn’t had time to grieve and that I had so many strenuous things to deal with each day that I was so exhausted at night that I had no choice but to sleep. Then she asked me if I’d ever lost anyone else in my life. And if I cried much then. Yes I had lost friends from my childhood and no I didn’t cry much then. I felt horrible but found it hard to cry much. She told me some people aren’t cryers and that it doesn’t mean you don’t care, you’re just not a crying kind of person. She advised me that if I felt like I needed to laugh or cry to release pent up feelings, I could watch a sad movie or a comedy which ever I needed to do, laugh or cry. And it may help to laugh or cry. Hope this helps some and I’m wishing you the best. With kindest regards. Bonnie

  80. Hello

    I killed someone when a guy who had drunk some alcohol stepped in front of the car I was driving. He died after the accident. I didn’t cry and grieve after the pedestrians death. Is that healthy?

    Thank you.

    Kind regards


    1. Dear Francisco, I do not know if there is a “right” way to react after such accidents. I have found that many people do have strong emotional reactions of grief and guilt, but I have talked with people who coped more easily with involvement in a serious accident, especially if they felt they were not at fault. If the accident was recent, you may find that your feelings about it change. In addition, some people mask their feelings in various ways, which can be unhealthy, such as by drinking, over-eating, immersing themselves in work, or just pushing themselves to deny what they are feeling. So, I would suggest that you “check in” with yourself and honestly assess your feelings and behaviors. You can also ask a friend or relative you trust for some input. I hope this helps.

    2. Francisco,

      People react differently to all situations. I am not one to judge or look down upon anyone, ever. But I must notice that it has been on your mind often if you took the time out of your day to, first, find this website and, second, leave a post with concern. Perhaps you are grieving in a way of your own. I suggest you seek therapy, regardless of how many tears you have shed or have not shed.

      My warmest regards,


  81. Hello…. I have often wanted to search for others like me online but I had never taken the time to do it. I am so grateful that have. On September 16, 2014 I was picking up my good friends son for preschool. We shared in the duties because we both had boys in preschool, both working moms and we both had babies, (mine was 9 months and hers was 17 months). That day quickly became the worst in my 31years of life. Her son was crying didn’t want to get In my car. During the fiasco her 17 month old came out the front door. She was smiling at me and we were standing at the back of the car which was a Toyota hylander. I finally said I bet he will stop crying as soon as we leave. She said are you sure, and I said yes he will. I got in the car, we waved one last time and I slowly pulled forward. I felt a lump, that I slowly rolled over. It was baby Rowyn. In complete hysteria, I gave CPR while talking to the paramedics on the phone. Her mom and I praying like crazy when the first responders took over. They said it was too late, she was killed instantly. I struggle every single day. My dear friends do not blame me, they love me more. How can that be, I feel so unworthy. I feel so lost, alone and broken hearted. Days get easier and time goes on then all of a sudden I am non-functional, and a mess. Feeling like I took a million steps back. I know my friend can relate to several people in our small community who have lost a child or a loved one. I killed a child unintentionally, I feel so un-relatable. Until I found all of you. Thanks for your stories….. It is really nice to know that I am not alone in all of this. I do have a therapist that I see regularly. I have finally went back to work, took a demotion and am down to part time hours. I get to spend more time with my two beautiful children, but I can’t help but look at them and see her. Her mother and I have started a public charity to assist grieving families with medical and funeral expenses. Together we are doing God’s work through Rowyn. It’s fulfilling at a time when nothing feels good enough. Nothing feels right and nothing ever the same as it used to be.

    1. Cassie, I am so terribly sorry that you have had to endure such tragedy. It seems like you are very strong in your grief and have managed to both accept and give support. The charity to assist grieving families is a very beautiful idea. I’m glad that you are receiving some counseling, as there is strong evidence for its effectiveness following these traumas. The pattern you describe of doing okay, then suddenly feeling like you have slid back, is — unfortunately — part of the process. But, over time, you will have more periods of feeling strong and fewer/shorter periods of feeling badly. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  82. Hi not sure if anyone can help or what I am looking for but this is my story.
    A few months ago I was driving on the highway and a lady walked in front of my car I cant really tell you what happened where she was or what she was doing there because it is like I have blocked all of it out I cannot remember anything accept seeing her hit my car and fly back and land on the highway. I can’t even begin to explain how I feel. I wish there was something i could have done I am having a hard time with the fact that I hit a person and killed her even though I know it is not my fault I still think about if there was something I could have done or how her family feels just a million questions. Up until here recently I was doing alright but now I am constantly thinking about it. I can barely get into my car at night. I don’t what is causing this but every time I go to leave for work at night I have to have someone out there with me because I have flashes of her standing behind my car and me hitting her when I back up. I don’t know how to explain how this feels. But it is horrible

    1. Dear Meagan, I’m so sorry to hear of this accident and all your turmoil. I know it’s very very hard and stressful to say the least. My accident was in 1996. I was driving my best friend home after a fun filled day of visiting with good friends. We had some beer but I felt fine to drive. Then on an unexpected gravel filled curve, I lost control, hit a small embankment and she died instantly. Two weeks later, I was charged with vehicular manslaughter because we had been drinking. Felt like all the weight of the world was on me and that my world as I knew it had come to an end. I didn’t know who to be or how to be. And I didn’t know if I’d ever recover or be okay again. The constant turmoil I felt was horrible. Thank God I had a merciful judge who sentenced me to probation. I had already started Drug and Alcohol and he said for me to keep going. I was terrified at first. I thought they may all hate me because of what I had done. Before to long I realised that wasn’t the case. Most admitted they too had drank and drove. They thanked me for my story and remained very supportive the 10 months I attended. I also had to attend 3 AA meeting a week and counseling. At the time it seemed like torcher because I was such a wreck with all my sorrow, guilt and shame. But really I know now, it was the best thing for me. All those people helped move me forward and helped me through the worse time of my life. I do remember feeling like I was going backwards and I asked my counselor about it. She said it is common to have those bad feelings come up at different times of your recovery. Usually at 3 months, 6 months and and a year. I don’t remember why 3 months. I think it had something to do with starting to feel a little better then felt guilty about it like I didn’t deserve to feel better after what I’d done. So I continued on and got back with it and at 6 months I was starting to feel upset about everything and she said it was because I was starting to recover and was getting my spunk back. She advised me to think of things that I took joy in and go do them. That was good advise and it helped. At one year is because the 1 year anniversary is coming up and it makes you think about everything all over. The counseling end of it, both from the groups because it is counseling that could probably help anyone rather they drink or not. And the counseling itself was very good. They pointed me in all the right directions with most everything. But there is a process, it makes you look at everything and teaches how to deal with it. They deal with the guilt, the sorrow, the spiritual end of it. They teach how to look outward instead of getting stuck looking inward. That’s why it’s so important to get some kind of counseling. They can help you move forward. It takes some time to work everything out but with time it does get better. It’ll always be there but you learn to deal with it better and it gets less intense. Thank you so much for sharing. You never know how much Your story may help others. Now days, I tell my story to schools and sometimes the County. I hear nothing but positive feed back. That has really helped me. Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery. PS My Church and Sunday School helped me a lot too.

    2. Hi Meagan

      My story is very similar. A little over three weeks ago I was a mile from my home going to work. It was quite dark, I was following another vehicle at the speed limit or quite possibly 5 miles under the limit. All of the sudden a loud bang and a face in my windshield.
      I immediately stopped and I saw a lady lying behind by SUV. I did not have a clue that anyone was in that crosswalk until I saw her on my windshield. I went right over her. Both her and her sister had been crossing in an uncontrolled crosswalk wearing dark clothing at night. Not sure if they ran or walked in front of my car. I was following another car about 3 or 4 car lengths ahead of me, so my guess is they tried to run between the two cars. One made it the other was not so lucky.
      Anyway I am at peace knowing that I could not have changed the outcome, no cel phone, no texting, no drugs or alcohol, no reaching for the radio or food, I was paying attention to the road. The police were great and told me it was an accident and it could have happened to any of them.

      Still scared of possible unknowns which include possible jail time, lawsuits, loss of drivers license, how is her family coping with the tragedy, my own sanity. Your mind can go wild with thoughts after a tragedy like this no matter how unfounded those fears may be!

      Only thing that is helping me get through this nightmare is realizing it was an accident that I could not prevent. Life is still good for me. As others have said it does no one including the victim or the victim’s family to let this get the best of you. I hope you will learn to move on as I am hoping to! In closing every day is better than the last one for me.

  83. Hi Daniel,

    I understand the grief and pain you are dealing with. Every day I think about the man I killed. However, we must accept the fact that this was just a tragic accident. A matter of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I try to think about all the events that took place that day that led up to the accident. What could I have done differently? Would any small change in my actions that day have made a difference? Perhaps avoided the incident altogether? I will never know, but what I do know is that it happened and there is nothing more for me to do but move forward. Easier said than done, but I hope you gain strength and acceptance. A favorite quote of mine: “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you”.

    You will be in my prayers.

  84. I don’t know if anyone can help me? I live in the uk and was involved in a nightime hunting accident in 2004 in which a 14 year old boy was killed. I seemed to cope with it for 8 years afterwards but suddenly the thoughts and feelings can back so strongly that life is now an everyday struggle. I think about his mum and family and feel such shame, remorse and guilt. I didn’t pull the trigger but i made decisions that night that contributed significantly towards his death. I look at my own little girl and imagine how he was and how innocent he was and it breaks my heart. I daily feel like ending it all. God please help me i am truly sorry for my sins.

  85. Thank You for making this site. I got in a wreck yesterday in a company vehicle, my fault. Hit a woman right in the driver’s side of the door. She walked away, but its the next few days when the injuries can show themselves. I consider myself fortunate not to have crippled or killed her.
    It happened sooo fast. All it took was not using my turn signal and looking away for a few seconds.
    I seen a couple of posts of people who where drinking when they had their accidents. I can attest it can happen when you are stone sober. I have 16 years sobriety.
    I don’t know if I’m going to have a job in the future because of this, at least not in my trade which involves a lot of driving. (I’ve had two accidents in the last 4 years in my personal vehicle, this may be the tipping point).
    Finding a new career can be a tough deal when you’re 55 years old.
    I can’t fathom what some of the other posters have gone through, because what I’m feeling now is excruciating guilt.
    While I haven’t killed anybody, I’ve still jeopardized my employer’s livelihood and my wife’s well being by the potential loss of income. All due to those few distracted seconds at the wrong time.
    I found this site this morning, and its helping the horrible feelings.
    I wish everybody the best, may God bless and may you find a path to inner peace.

  86. There is, of course, more to my story. I had been drinking. Mind you, I consider myself a very careful person. I hadn’t had a speeding ticket since 1975, and the only car accident was where a fellow rear-ended me at a red light. Most all accidents can be attributed to carelessness on one side of the equation. I did not feel impaired, but I instinctively knew that no one could defend themselves against a purely random event ……. and lo and behold…..here I am trying to do just that. I don’t think there was anything I could have done at the point of our collision to change the outcome. However, there is still a gash in my soul that still needs healing. I feel for you all. I have gone through remorse, to survivors guilt, to………..(where I am now)….should I just let it scab over and heal by time. That’s what we did as kids when we fell off our bicycles. This seems a lot more important than that. Questions, concerns, input?????

    1. Update to my last post……my BAC for that night was .11, three hundredths over the legal limit. The BAC of the pedestrian I hit was .39. God rest his soul. How did he even manage to walk from the nightclub to the freeway where we met?

      1. Hi Allen, I know these things happen and I do believe you. The laws are crazy now. Are you being charged for it? My bac was .16 and I didn’t feel unable to drive. Came upon an unexpected gravel filled curve and lost control of my car, hit a small embankment and my best friend died instantly. Two weeks later I was charged for vehicular manslaughter. I was already so emotionally stressed out with my sorrow, guilt shame, remorse, I was just frozen in fear of going to prison on top of everything else I was already suffering with. It would be like taking a stressed out bird with broken wings and throwing it through the blades of a fan. My accident was 18 years ago and thank God her family knew what good friends we were and didn’t push my incarceration. The Judge gave me mercy. I think this older gentleman judge, remembers when that type of an accident was called an unfortunate accident. Now days they call it vehicular manslaughter. Any way I was grateful that I only ended up with 5 years probation, community service, a fine, loss of my drivers licence for 2 years, Ordered to keep going to drug and alcohol which I did for almost a year, and the harsh burden of feeling responsible for all the lives I shattered that day.

  87. I, also, belong to this exclusive group of individuals who have experienced a life altering event. Two months ago, while traversing a large city downtown freeway in my full size pickup, a young man of 28, made the fateful decision to try to cross the main lanes, despite the fact that there was a pedestrian bridge a mere 300 ft up the road. We met in the most unexpected and horrific way. How we could have come together at that specific point in time is beyond me. I feel like I no longer have a “guardian angel”. I wondered how God could let this thing happen. I wondered how could God take the 28 year old and leave this old 62 year old here to figure it all out.

    1. Hi Allen, So sorry for this tragedy. I definitely feel your pain. And yes it is life altering. Very traumatic and horrific. Wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy. It takes a while to work your way through all the sorrow and turmoil. It never goes away, just can get less intense over time. I wondered too why God made this happen to me and my best friend. I had always believed I was saved but after that I wondered if I really was because we had been drinking. The only way I could relax any at all was to read the Bible. Kept hold of it for most of the first couple of years, but I needed answers faster than I could read or understand what I was reading. Thank God I had a friend who knew her Bible well and answered every question I threw at her. She took me to Church and Sunday School every Sunday and I talked to the Pastor and he explained that God doesn’t make bad things happen but sometimes allows it for reasons we may never understand here on earth. God gives us free will to choose what we want to do and sometimes bad things happen but the Bible says He still Loves us and will help us through anything if we ask Him. So I clung to Him and I do believe He helped me every step of the way. He put people in my life that helped comfort me and teach me from all over. Church, Sunday School, Drug and alcohol, AA, family and friends. They helped me through the worst time in my life and I will always be grateful. I learned a lot about myself that I never even thought of before. I was told, you can either drink yourself to death or turn it around and let something good come out of it. Now days, I do presentations for schools. They seem grateful for that and I’m very grateful to them. Those students help me tons. They’re great. I pray you and everyone on here can find relief and healing soon.

      1. One of the lines from the movie “Shawshank Redemption” has always resonated with me. “Get busy living, or get busy dying”. I am also trying to find solace through the bible, but it is tough. Have you ever read the book of Job? Why did God allow Satan power over one of his servants?

        1. Hi Allen, A good question about Job. According to the Scofield Study Bible, the sufferings of Job are shown to be corrective rather than penal. Being used of God to test and refine his character. The outcome demonstrates that by Gods grace people trust and serve Him, because of what He is, not as a mere return of temporal benefits. revealed purposes of God still remain much of a mystery and for this there is no answer, except the attitude of worship in which we humbly acknowledge that a sovereign God by men can’t be required to give up all His reasons for what He chooses to do. Such experiences here as interpreted here by divine inspiration reveal the ultimate triumph of a wise and loving God in His unseen contest with Satin over the souls of men.

          I know these things seem very hard to understand and Job 6:2-3 where he talks about the weight of it all, I can identify with that. Through it all Job held on to his integrity and faith and would not curse God and die, like his wife told him to do. In the end of course it tells how the Lord gave him twice as much as he had before.
          My friend told me that after that, Satin was never allowed to do those things again. Not sure where to find that information.

      2. I said the same thing, …..”I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy”. I think this is worse than cancer, and I even have a best friend who died of cancer in 2002. I wish he was still here to talk to.
        CARRIE, DO NOT EVER Give up your search for peace and/or resolution to what happened. You are too caring of an individual to let what happened define you. We ALL make mistakes. Do NOT deprive the rest of us of your caring nature. You are a valuable person that possesses an ethical line of thinking in your own head.

  88. Hi Francine, Eli, and Jazzy,
    Thank you so much for sharing. It helps me to finally have friends to talk to that can really understand me and my nightmare. When I had my fatal accident back in 1996, I desperately wanted to find someone like me who could talk to me and tell me if I’d ever be okay again. She was my best friend. We grew up together. It is so hard to to shoulder all the deep dark emotions and for me… the ‘legal aspect of it too’, because we had been drinking. I wouldn’t wish this kind of intense pain shock and turmoil on my worse enemy. Definitely a part of me died with her. Wished it would have been me who died instead of her. Since I couldn’t find anyone who had experienced anything like that, I decided to write a book for anyone who may be looking for answers. I pray it helps others, driver or victims. People tell me they find it interesting because you never hear the drivers side. Anyway, my book is on this site, listed under, recommended reading. Titled: “Shattered: A Tragedy of Drinking and Driving” by Dawn Day. It’s for sale on Amazon as both an ebook and soft cover print. Also, I found this amazing book called “The Road to Forgiveness”, by Bill & Cindy Griffiths. This heart wrenching true story is about how they came to forgive the drunk driver who crashed into their loved ones who were on vacation. They lost their 11 year old daughter and Cindy’s mother. It’s also for sale on Amazon. I pray everyone on here heals quickly and I’m so glad you were strong enough to tell your stories. Best of luck to all of you.

  89. I just returned from a 13 hour day at the emergency room. My daughter bella and i were jumping on tge trampoline and
    One of the times like many times over my weight would send her flying up and she would land on her feet! Well today bella broke her arm in two places and i cant tell you how guilty i was feeling. I know it was a accident and when you hurt your child even by accident it left a big pit in my heart. Bella is going to be ok however when i got home from the hospital i googled the question and this amazing web sight came up. As i read testimonial after testimonial i noticed a shift in my thoughts now that i see my feelings are not exclusive. I look forward to plugging in more as the days and healing have begain. I now walk this planet a more gentile, humble soul for seeing and feeling empathy for others and our actions. Thanks for taking a stand on this topic. dan 🙂

  90. people I thank you all for sharing nd I am now feeling much better about myself after the fatal accident which happened last month.i also think if some of you have whatsapp we should create a group where we would share and comfort each other .. if you are willing you can leave your cell phone numbers with country codes. ..

    really do appreciate your sharing .

  91. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it will help me cope with the grief I have had to endure these past two years. Reading the stories of others on this site has given me a sense of comfort because I have never been able to speak to anyone who has experienced something similar and who truly understands what I go through on a daily basis.

    On September 29, 2012, I was involved in a tragic accident that has forever changed my life. It was a Saturday evening and I had just gotten home from a house warming party. I was getting ready to leave my house again to meet with my boyfriend (at the time). I finally left my house and after only 5-10 mins. of driving along the road at approximately 40mph, I suddenly noticed a man only feet away from my car ahead of me. After realizing what was going to happen, I slammed on my brakes, but it was too late. I struck the man and he flew onto my windshield, completely shattering it. By the time everything came to a reality, I was in complete shock, bleeding from my mouth and glass all over me. I thought I was dreaming. I got out of the car, trembling. The man had rolled off the hood of my car and was now lying in the middle of the street. I looked closely to see if he was breathing and I could see him breathing very rapid, short breaths. At this point, I was completely hysterical and several cars had pulled over and came to my side. People began coming out of the apartment complex directly in front of the accident (an old folks home). Before I knew it, there were police and people all around me. Ambulance came and took the man away and shortly after, I was arrested and taken to jail to be questioned and whatnot. I had nothing to be held against me so the police released me hours later, but prior to letting me out, the officer told me the man I struck had passed away. A part of me died that very moment and I have been lost ever since. After further investigation, I was told the man was 62 years old and was jaywalking across the street from the grocery store to the old folks home, where he lived. The officer told me this was just an accident and that it was his choice to ignore the jaywalking signs. I was also told that he was walking with a cane rather slowly when I struck him (everything was caught on tape through the surveillance cameras at the shopping center). Although I am told this is not my fault, I cannot seem to get past this feeling of guilt and that I could have somehow avoided all of this and that the cause of his death is, essentially, all my fault. To make matters worse, I was told the man was a veteran, suffered from great depression and alcoholism, and the only family he had left lived in a completely different state. Nobody was there to rush by his side or be there with him in his last moments. My heart aches every single day not only because of his death, but because I have no idea what his family felt/feels about this whole tragedy or how much pain I have caused for them. I seeked therapy for months, but this feeling of emptiness just will not go away – and I don’t think it ever will for the rest of my life.

    1. Hi Francine,

      I am really sorry about what happened to you, and I know exactly how are you feeling since I have experienced something similar myself almost two months ago.

      I was coming back to my house from a going away party, it was late. I went to drop some friends at their place, and I was supposed to take a way home, that’s why I gave those friends a lift, but the avenue was closed because some holidays. I got a bit lost around the area, I was not familiar with it, but I came across a sign pointing an avenue I knew it was going to get me straight home, I knew that road, I felt safe, I used to take it every day. It is a 6 lane avenue, it runs fast.

      I remember I was listening to music, a record I really liked and suddenly I saw an impact on the windshield, I never saw anyone. I just remembered the green light was on, I kept remembering that, it happened so fast. I was in shock, I panicked, I did not know what was going on, I even thought something had been thrown at my car.

      At first I could not stop, I still don’t know why, but I finally did it some blocks ahead. The police arrived right away, a huge group, they told I ran someone over and the person was death, I could not believe this was happening.

      I had a trial, my situation got complicated since the police acussed me of trying to leave the scene, I spent a week in jale. The judge ruled it as an accident, they said the man was very drunk, that he crossed in the middle of the road without looking, during the green light, it was caught on tape through the surveillance cameras of the avenue. I still can’t explain me how I couldn’t see him, how I couldn’t do anything to avoid him, and most of all to help him. I swear I didn’t see him, I just never expected for someone to cross at that hour, in the middle of that road.

      I feel terrible, guilty, hopeless, really lost, scared and profoundly sad, I can not believe I have caused so much pain to a family, I wonder all the time about them. I have been meaning to write, a therapist I am seeing told me to wait a little and respect their grief, but I feel I need to say something now.

      I went back to work, and it is been really difficult to keep a good face, any of my co-workers know this has happened, I feel like a serial killer with a double life. I am trying really hard to move forward for my family, buy some days I feel like I am drowning. What happened is in my mind all the time, I am very scared it will be like this forever.

      1. Eli,

        Thank you for sharing your story. I am deeply sorry for the grief you are dealing with at this time. I know how painful it was for me during the first few weeks after the incident occurred. I still struggle everyday with it all, but I will gladly share some things that have helped me cope with the pain over the past two years. I found it difficult to drive a vehicle for months after. I had my friends and family drive me to and from work and/or school and I avoided driving down the road where the incident occurred. I forced myself to begin driving again and also to drive down that road, which I now do on a daily basis. Somehow, it has helped me. I have seen a therapist who specializes in trauma and PTSD and he has also helped me tremendously. If ever I am feeling down, I will go to the site of the incident and leave him flowers and say a prayer. I read books about PTSD and another book, which I highly recommend, called “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People” written by Harold S. Kushner. Every year, on the date of the incident, I dedicate the entire day in his honor. I gather with family and close friends and have a special dinner. I do something spontaneous with my friends, such as Skydiving or Bungee Jumping or going on a challenging hike. It is an amazing experience and it sort of frees my mind on that day. I always go to the site and leave him flowers and have a moment of silence (I usually do this part alone). Then at the end of the day, I write my story on a note and I attach it to a balloon. My family and I say a prayer and we release the balloon into the air and watch it until it disappears into the sky. I leave my phone number/email and hope that whoever finds it will contact me. Last year, someone found my note and sent me a text. I don’t know why, but it makes me feel good.

        On any other day, I try to be productive and keep myself busy. I know right now it seems impossible to find happiness again, but as each day passes, I feel myself getting stronger and stronger. And I pray that you too will find strength and happiness again some day soon.

        I often wish I could meet someone who has gone through this exact experience and just talk, but I have never met anyone who has, so when I found this site, it gave me a sense of comfort. I can finally relate to someone.

        Feel free to comment me at any time. I wish you the best and you will be in my prayers.

        1. Hi glad I found this site I feel so alone I had an accident Dec 2013. After many continoues my case went before the judge Oct 2014. i wasn’t prepared for what happen to me in court. The family of the deceased showed up in great numbers and let me know just how they felt about me . The words they said to me will always bev with me . I was told I was a. killer, I had tough sentence handed down to me. I lost my license for a year and I’m waiting for the impact of the insurance since it comes with 12 insurance points. I cry everyday it was a weather related accident very foggy that morning I ran a stop sign to this day I don’t remember seeing. I too feel everyone is judging me and see me as a killer.

          1. Hi Rone,

            I am so sorry to hear that you are experiencing such feelings of guilt. Despite what the victims family is saying about you, you must know that you are most definitely not a killer. You did not do this intentionally. It was an honest accident. Know that the family may be angry due to their loss, but in time, I hope they come to the realization that it was just a tragic accident and that you are not to blame. Grief can make us react in many different ways.

            During my accident, the family of the victim refused to be in contact with me, let alone see me. I assume they, too, were angry with me. I will never know, but I pray that they will one day forgive me and know that I would have never intentionally done anything to hurt him or them.

            You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Feel free to comment me at any moment and time.



  92. Hi Carrie, I definitely struggled with all the same feelings you have. And I know how awful and intense it is. And I too wondered if it would ever get better. I think everyone here knows what you’re feeling.
    I’m guessing your situation hasn’t been too long ago? My accident was over 18 years ago and it gets better with every passing year. I’m from a small rural area where I know a lot of people. At first I was always afraid to see most anyone. I thought they were thinking, oh look, ‘there’s the one that’… Now days, those thoughts and fears are pretty much gone. I don’t think a lot of people even know now, it’s been so long ago. And the ones that do are mostly my friends who love me. Have you looked at or read any of the books on here in the Recommended Reading? Maybe there’s something in there that will help you some too. Best wishes for your recovery. Hang in there. We’re here for you.

  93. Hi Carrie I had a collision with a cyclist a few months go. I had sun in my eyes so I pulled my visor down. This blocked my vision of the road 500m ahead and I didn’t see him. As I got close to him I stupidly glanced a couple of times at an old message on my phone, then I hit him. He was severely injured and had to be airlifted to hospital. I don’t believe that the phone was necessarily the major cause of the accident, but I admitted to the police that I had looked at it and now I am facing very serious charges.

    The guilt and shame that I felt was all consuming and overwhelming, I was having panic attacks, self harming. Like you, everyone has been saying that they all look at their phones while driving and it could have been anyone of them. But it wasn’t, it was me and every day I wish I could turn back.

    I have been on anti anxiety/anti depressant drugs and had a very good therapist and it has helped a lot. I did get to the point where I felt much better and stronger. My court case is coming up and it is making me feel sick to my stomach again.

    In my more sensible moments I do realise that we are only human, and therefore we make mistakes. And sometimes they have the most terrible consequences. I do believe you can recover though and live a happy life.
    In the beginning I didn’t admit to looking at my phone, I was too scared and so ashamed of doing something so dangerous, and I knew that regardless of the other circumstances, that would be the only thing the police would focus on. I wanted to die in the days following the accident, I wished for a car to smash into me and injure me as much as the cyclist had been injured, I payed for a cancer diagnosis so I would have to suffer.
    I still feel terrible about what happened, I always will, but it doesn’t consume me like it used to.
    None of us are perfect, you were trying to help someone and you made a mistake. You have been honest about it and you feel beyond terrible. Guilt can serve a purpose, but only for so long.
    I wish you every strength during this time you are facing. I will look out for your comments on here again.

  94. So very sorry for the turmoil you endure for trying to help someone. I believe God knows it wasn’t your intention to hurt anyone. And I can understand the fear. I definitely struggled with all those feelings too, even though a different situation. One day while at an AA meeting, I actually got up the courage to tell my story. Once it was over, an older man pulled me aside and told me his son had died in an accident with his best friend driving. I asked him if he forgave the driver and he said yes because it could have been either one of them driving. I said, “but it’s all my fault that my friend died.” He put his hands on my shoulders and said, “honey, you don’t have the power over life and death, only God does. We may never know why he allowed this to happen. You have to forgive yourself or life will eat you up. Just keep telling your story and you never know how many others you may help. It takes a few years to grow, learn and understand so many things. Those people in the AA meetings helped me through the worse time in my life but I was still scared to go there and keep telling my story. As soon as I was no longer court ordered to go, I quit. I did a bunch of other things like, Church and Sunday school, eventually got my drivers license back and went back to work. All the while recovering in bits and pieces. But it wasn’t till I started doing the presentations for the county and school students that finally felt much better. Especially the students. Because they get to talk to me. Some tell me I just changed there way of thinking for ever. They are awesome. I wish you all the best in your recovery and thanks for sharing your story.

  95. I was in grade 12. Ready to graduate. I was walking home from school with my boyfriend Paul..It was snowing heavily the only clear path was the train tracks. It was my idea to walk that way.. he lived in a different town. I said “for sure we will hear a train!” We didn’t, Its very quiet. Next, I heard the horn of the commuter rail I turned around and froze. He swiftly pushed me off the tracks & died saving my life.

    1. My pastor told me that just because a tragedy happens, there is no reason not to experience joy every day. That thought has helped me.

  96. This site is going to be something i will be revisiting. Just reading a little bit of it in a very short time has brought me comfort. I am currently in the middle of my story and so i won’t share it yet but i just wanted to give you my thanks.
    You are appreciated.

  97. Hello. Almost 27 yrs ago, I shot and killed a close friend of mine accidentally.

    The first 10 yrs after was a nightmare. I was very violent, moody, angry, depressed, etc. i turned to drugs and alcohol, things I never liked or did, just to cope. I would stick a gun to my head almost every night for about 2 yrs, but apparently I couldn’t do it, even though I wanted nothing else more so.

    I eventually landed in prison, which actually saved my life. I got clean from the substance abuse and could actually think rationally for once. I learned to deal with all of my problems so that I don’t end up there again.

    The one thing I’ve never been able to do is to forgive myself. When you take someone’s life as I did, playing with a gun, you realize that you’ve taken everything from that person. Yes, it was an accident, but I was responsible for it. I caused it. How does one forgive themselves for that? I still have issues today. It affects my relationships, work, my way of thinking, everything. I would love to move forward with my life and enjoy it, but that hasn’t been the case in a very long time.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thank You!

    1. I’m so sorry that you have had to endure such difficulties, guilt, and grief. Congratulations on being clean and sober — that is a huge accomplishment. I, too, struggle with forgiveness and self-blame. I have come to the conclusion that the challenge is to channel these feelings in a useful way, not to simply try to eliminate the feelings. How can we take our sorrow, guilt, shame, regret, etc. and use them to make the world just a tiny bit better and, along the way, feel better ourselves? This website is one of my attempts to do that. I have talked with people who have used art and creativity –music, drawing, writing — to express themselves with truth, beauty, and authenticity. I have talked with people who have followed a more religious or spiritual pathway; others who have become involved in service and volunteerism; and still others who have become more empathic and responsive with friends and family. In addition, I am a big believer in psychotherapy, especially for people like us who have suffered for a long time. The way we react to these accidents has much to do with our personal and familial history, our temperaments, our pre-existing “issues.” A good therapist can not only help treat the post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, but can also help one understand the accident in the context of our own lives — and when we recognize the story we tell ourselves about what the accident means about us, we can begin to change it… Good luck and please let me know how you’re doing.

    2. Hi Michael,
      So very sorry for the loss of your friend and the turmoil you have endured for so long. Almost 18 years ago, I had an alcohol related car crash that killed my best friend of 30 years. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it and wish I could take it back. Although I didn’t turn to drinking or drugging because that’s what caused my crash, I suffered great turmoil. Even after I did everything I possibly could to turn my life around, there was still something missing. Something I just couldn’t get past so I could forgive myself. People would tell me I know you say you’re okay now but there is still something I can see in your eyes. Then one day I got a call from my old probation officer asking if I’d be willing to tell my story on the victims impact panel for the county. I was scared to death but I figured I’d give it a try. If it could help someone not to do what I did, that would be worth it. After I did my first presentation and heard all the good feed back, I felt a little better. Then the schools began to call. I’ve been doing my presentation for 5 years now, maybe 2-4 a year and the results are very good every time. The students have helped me more then they’ll ever know with their thank yous, hugs, some tell me I just changed their life forever. A couple of years ago, I realized that I had finally moved forward. I’m not so afraid of what other people think because most are grateful that I’m telling my story. And now, I can finally forgive myself. It will always be there and I’ll always wish it hadn’t happened but I feel much better. PS I read somewhere that treatment with the war vets is probably the place to go because they really understand what other people can’t, unless they’ve been there. After talking to my neighbor who is a war vet, I understand why. It was very emotional as we shared details and things that stick in your mind right down to the clothes the victim was wearing and how that can effect you, like when you see the shorts or tops or pajamas hanging in a store on a clothes rack. I pray for your recovery and wish you all the best. It is no fun to suffer all the time.

    3. I’m kind of going true the same thing I caused a car crash my friend died. I new he’s girlfriend and kids. Put this way I hate waking up in the morning

      1. Yes I feel like I hate waking up too. But somehow you are still here and I believe there is a reason. There is depth to you now like others can’t know. Allow it to change you and how you think and see if somehow you can get through it and offer people things you never valued before as much but now do because of this experience

    4. the only way I know of to proceed in life after killing another is to forgive yourself and those involved. There is no way to relate to any one way of rationaiization because only you know what happened. The most useless feeling is guilt but all who experience this will have to go through it and hopefully come out on the other side. I hope you are able to cast off the weight that will try to destroy you. Try to use your sadness to open a line to others pain because I guarantee no one knows like those who have accidentally killed, especially a loved one. Try to find others who can support you and realize there is no “normal”. way to cope. Each persons experience and background is different. But always remember you are not alone. Eventually you will see that life can still be good and you can help others by sharing your experience to lighten their [and your] load. Allow others into your life and don’t punish yourself. Life is hard enough without extra baggage. Time does heal

    5. I can relate to you on so many different levels. Been there the guilt, shame and remorse could only be deadened by drugs and alcohol.

      Been clean 22 years now and I still deal with it. You choose to live or you choose to die.

    6. Hello. I accidentally shot a killed a close friend of mine 15 years ago. Along with counseling and a 12 step recovery program, I found ayahuasca to be helpful. I only did it once, and it helped me get past the seemingly impossible hurdle of finding some compassion and forgiveness for myself. Now I use meditation daily to deal. I haven’t “gotten over” it, but am able to move on with my life in the best way I know how.

Make a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *