I know many of my readers have been curiously waiting for me to share the details of the meeting with the other driver, and whether it even took place. It did take place, the very morning it was planned, though we weren’t sure the wife would be there or it it would be postponed till the last minute. It turned out that she only got the news that morning, and managed to come out during her lunch break. I was grateful for her willingness to be there regardless of the communication mix up. Because of their repentant attitudes, I won’t go into all the details here. It’s their story too, which I don’t feel I can fully share now that we’ve established that. But I will say I went into the meeting assuming I would find uncaring people. I was ready to say my piece but I imagined the worst: that it would fall on blank ears. It wasn’t like that at all. We found a young couple who had been overwhelmed by the situation, who had listened to the advice of others/lawyers not to contact us or answer us. I still believe conscience should trump advice, because we have to live with ourselves and our choices. So we talked about that a little bit, and I explained what had happened to Vernon. I asked them my questions and they answered every single one. I felt like they were emotionally present with us, which I am sure was difficult. It was difficult for us too, but so important.I found out that he had lost his own father in a car accident when he was young. When I heard that, I stopped hearing anything else as clearly, but began to hurt for that boy.
So when Maki came in (we’d spoken as adults for a half hour or so, with lawyers in the room) and evenly delivered his words about his dad and how much he had changed after the accident, I know it was a big deal. (I don’t want to comment on that more here as I’m not sure who reads this.) Justine, who I’d thought would be full of words, got a little shyer in her “first adult meeting,” simply said: “I just want an apology.” They nodded tearfully, and apologized, mentioning that they too had a little boy about her age. She squirmed on my lap for a few seconds, and then looked back up at them: “I forgive you.”
So here we are. Finished with the hour long meeting we barely got to have. No money on the table, no sudden windfall. But it was never about that…I knew very early on in the case that there was no money to be had. But we got what we wanted out of the meeting, in the end. It took a few days to even be able to talk about it with my close friends. It still feels surreal. But something good happened. I could feel space for breath inside my body that hadn’t been there for a long time, maybe ever. I was less angry at the world (still sad and concerned, let it be known.) And even Maki said he felt good that it happened, he felt better. So I guess that could be a kind of “closure” in itself. I don’t know what happens next, I’ll chat with my attorney. But in the meantime, there are no more ghosts around the accident. That in itself,is a spiritual breakthrough.
Incidentally, in the room we met, there was a framed photo of an eagle’s head. That was the bird Vernon used to say was his special animal that had showed up at significant times in his life. When I got home and opened the internet, this image came up—a meme with Vernon’s Amatic font. I’m taking it as a message from him. 🙂