My oldest child passed away at the age of 16 1/2 in 2003… His name is Keith and my grandson is also named Keith, he is 3 years old. My daughters tribute to my son/ her brother.
It was June 7th, 2003! I will never forget this day and all the events. It was a Saturday… Though his actual death date is June 8, 2003 because he passed just minutes before midnight and the official call is not made until the coroner arrives. Below is my story:
In May of 2006, my husband and two of my kids were packing up our house to move from Georgia to Southern Illinois. I lost my job and my husband, at that time, was unable to find enough work to pay our mortgage. We listed the house for rent. My oldest child, Keith, was staying with my parents and was to come move up with us mid summer. He had a girlfriend and he didn’t want to leave yet. On the 25th we set sail to our new home with my best friend since age of ten. I remember standing in the driveway hugging my oldest son and us both crying. He said to me, “I feel like I am never going to see you again!” I told him not to worry as he would soon be up there with us. We drove the 8 hours and arrived at our location. We were staying in the cabin at my friends house until we were able to get on our feet. Keith called me almost every day and we would talk for a little bit on the phone. He told me how he had purchased several calling cards so he could always call me.
On Saturday June 7, 2003 I had an over whelming urge to speak with my son Keith. I called my parents house around 11 am, but Keith was still sleeping. I told my mother how I just really needed to talk to him and to let him know I would call the next day at noon for him again. That night my best friend had broken out in hives and was having trouble breathing. Her husband and I took her to the ER when we realized it was not getting any better. While I was standing in the ER next to the bed she was on, I looked at the clock. It read 10:57 and for some reason I felt the time was very important, so I remember it and continued on. We made it back to the house around midnight or so and within 30 minutes I was in bed. At 2 am my best friends husband came into the cabin and told me that my friend from back in Georgia was on the phone and needed to talk to me. I was annoyed and said, “what does she think I can do in the middle of the night”, but I went to the house and picked up the phone. My best friend was there and told me I needed to sit down because the call was about Keith. I answered the phone and the friend in Georgia said that the boys were killed in a car accident. I felt pure shock! She explained that neither had come home and my mom had been out looking for Keith and she had been looking for her son. Earlier in the day her son had picked up my son to hang out together.she said a girl was driving and both our sons were killed but the driver lived. Still feeling dazed and in shock I hung up and called my parents house. My father answered the phone and I could hear my mother screaming in the back ground. The police had just arrived to tell them that Keith had passed in an auto accident. I asked why he wasn’t home. My father said he had left earlier with his friend and he always came home on time so my mother had went looking for him with his girlfriend but they never found him. The officer said they needed Keith’s dental records to identify him because the body was badly burned. I hung up the phone and walked out on my friends porch. I remember feeling nothing. Not one single emotions, nothing at all. I stared off for some time and then asked them to go wake my husband. When he approached me, all the emotions flooded wide open and I began to ball my eyes out. He said he needed to get some sleep so he could drive us back down to Georgia later that day. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t. All I did was cry and feel like my heart had been ripped from within me. I sat outside in the swing the rest of the night. When my daughter woke and came outside I told her what happened. She didn’t believe me and thought I was making it all up. She finally realized I was telling the truth and she cried with me for a while. When my youngest son came out and I told him what happened, he ran off screaming. I called my sister and told her then had my husband call everyone else and then we packed up the car and went back to Georgia.
I had to go to the funeral home and make the arrangements for my son. I remembered how not long before I had left, he told me if he died he wanted to be cremated. Since he was burnt so badly it was impossible to see him again. I scheduled his funeral for that Wednesday, June 11th. I went and looked at the accident site. My anxiety, panic and depression all engulfed me. Two of my sisters came and some of my nieces and nephews as well. At the funeral I was a mess. Going from panic to severe depression as fast as you could blink your eye. During the funeral I was composed until they folded the flag and gave it to me, then again when they played the song I had pick for him. His favorite song was “when I’m gone” by three doors down. When it was time for me to walk out, I rose and made it a few feet into the isle, then the sobbing over came me and I collapsed. My husband had to carry me out to a sofa. Many people who knew Keith came up to me, but I was crying so hard I could not even tell you who they were or what they looked like. I stayed at my parents for a few more days and then we came back to Illinois and I carried my sons ashes with me.
After we returned, my best friend and her husband were not getting along anymore. They were fighting and ultimately separated in July. We found a house to rent in town in September. I spent a good six months in bed, I didn’t cook or clean or do anything after my son died. I placed my son ashes in a beautiful urn made of marble with a dragon etched upon it and his name and dates.
Keith R. Krogmann II, 12/18/1986 – 06/08/2003
I found out that my son had actually died right around 11:57 pm on 06/07/2003. Remember when I was in the ER that night with my best friend and I looked at the clock. There is a one hour time difference from Ga to IL. So when I saw 10:57 pm, it was 11:57 pm in Georgia! This is what happened:
My sons friend, Bradley, asked him to come out with him because he was upset with his parents for some reason. They spent a few hours goofing off, then they put Bradley’s car in the parking lot at the grocery store so his parents wouldn’t find him. They both went with a friend from school named, Jennifer. Keith’s girlfriend was also with them and they hung out for the day. They took Keith’s girlfriend home and then Jennifer was going to drop Bradley off at a friends house for him to stay the night then bring Keith back home. They were on the way to Bradley’s friends house when Jennifer lost control of the car. She was driving extremely fast and it was lightly raining out, late at night. She slid the length of a football field and slammed into a tree, then the car bounced uphill off the tree, spun around and landed in a low lying area in the front of some woods. She said that Bradley was unconscious and bleeding from his ears….. She said Keith was unconscious as well. She got out of the car and flagged down a vehicle to call 911. I heard the 911 tape about a year later. The lady calling 911 said the car had a fire in it and to hurry. You could hear Jennifer screaming, begging for someone to do something and then she ran toward the car, the lady yelling for her to stop, then the lady says, “oh my god! The car is engulfed in flames! There is no way they can live through this!” When the fire department finally arrived, they had to put out the fire then cut open the car to get to the boys. There were burn marks in the grass where they laid each of them.
The driver of the car was sentenced with two counts of vehicular homicide, wreck less driving and breaking the rules for someone who was 16 and only had her license for two weeks. She was ordered to do talks at schools about the dangers of wreck less driving, but she refused to do it. So they put her in a home until she turned 18.
I experienced all the stages of Grief….. The immediate shock and feeling no emotions. The denial that it was not real or true. Trying to bargain with God to have my son back. Guilt, and this is the one that still gets me, thinking I could of changed it if I was there, or I wasn’t a good enough mother and so on… Wanting to die, because a part of me died that night and you are NEVER the same again! Severe depression, sleeping too much, crying to much, feeling that death is the only answer, not wanting to have any fun if my son couldn’t be here to have fun, hating God…… Not fearing death at all anymore. Risky behavior, which happens because you just don’t care if you die anymore! The gut wrenching pain that never goes completely away. Deep and utter sadness. The death of a child will either bring a husband and wife closer or it will cause a divorce in the end. For me, it ended in a divorce three years later when my husband decided that he wanted to do drugs and have sex with other women. Having a support system would of really been helpful, but I did not and I do not have one. I lived and now even live away from all my family other than my kids and when my son died even my best friend was unable to really be there for me. I think I ended up living only because I out myself in intense private therapy, plus group therapy and DBT therapy…… Although, I do still to this day, have times where I am sucked back into the darkness and I just want the pain to stop!
It has been ten years and it still hurts deeply. I do not break down as often as I used too, but the pain is always there. I went through wanting to die and even having a plan on how I was going to do it. Right after my sons death I put myself in therapy and stayed in therapy for a solid three years. I realized I needed medication and I gave in and took what ever the doctor felt would help. I have had insomnia since his death. I do not sleep without medication. Every year around his death date I get very depressed. Also each year right at Halloween, thanksgiving, his birthday and Christmas as well. From October through December I have to battle severe depression. The worse pain in the world is the death of your child. No one should ever have to experience it!