Mother’s Day! So many thoughts. So many emotions. The Lord knew what he was doing when he created our mothers. I know this from every person posting how their mother is the best. Some proof He put the right kids with the right parents. I could argue with them all because I know I had the best mom in the world. I thought I could never be like her, yet here I am, on Mother’s Day, and one of my children is not here to say “I have the best mom ever!” Just as my mom experienced! I know my son loved me and I hope he thought I was the “best” too! I do hope I get a sign from the heavens that makes me think he is saying Happy Mother’s Day!!! My focus of this blog is not my story on Mother’s Day. This is Cody’s story. I have been feeling like it was time for his side to come out.
Teenagers and young adults who have a mother who tell them to call them when they reach their destination, or wake them up when they get home, I want to share Cody’s story and tell you why this makes them the best mother for you. I want to tell you what visions they have from Cody’s view. I want you to honor their wishes every single time they ask you to do something. This is the message Cody left behind. But let me warn you, it can get graphic, but it is real and it is what goes through a mother’s (and father’s) mind every night they wait.
Cody’s message has been spoken, but not to the world. It has been relayed to the Victim’s Impact Panel for Peoria County once a month for almost a year. Granted, it took this mom two and a half years to ask for and acknowledge the information. Now is the time to share his side of the story. It is Mother’s Day and getting warmer. The young crowd is starting their bonfires and gatherings that usually contain alcohol. Cody needs every person to know what one person’s one decision on one night can do to their mothers, and fathers, and siblings, and friends, and world!
Cody left the house that night to go fishing. He went with a friend and was not far from home, a couple of miles behind our home, at a friend’s lake. He drank too much, too fast, and fought his friend for his keys. He only had a couple of miles, a few turns, and he would be home, right? Wrong! One person, one decision, one night.
At around midnight or shortly after, mom here started texting and calling. No answer. I sent him a text message and asked if he needed a ride. No response. Started calling after that. My calls went straight to voice mail. My heart was hoping he had just crawled in his truck and fallen asleep at the site he was fishing at. My mind had an entirely different image, and it is the image every parent gets when their child has not called them when they get to their destination if that destination is different than their home. Now I wait…
About 1:30am, there was a knock on the door. I was already awake as every mother is when in this mode of “where are they and are they safe?” Standing at my door was a Deputy Sheriff. He asked me if anyone at this address drove a green ‘98 Chevy truck. I said “yes, my son” with dread already coming to my words. He asked his name and if he was at home. I told him “Cody” and that he was fishing with a friend. He told me the vehicle was involved in an accident and could he come in.” My mind has now shifted to another DUI!! Crap!! He started in through the door and I yelled for my husband, Cody’s father. The officer came in and there was another person with him as he introduced us to the coroner! Yep! My heart sank! I stopped him from speaking and immediately called my sister! My brother-in-law is a retired LT Deputy Sheriff. I wanted to be able to speak before anything was said because I was afraid of what I was about to hear. My brother-in-law answered the phone with one word—-“what?” Can’t be good getting a phone call at that hour. I informed him that a deputy sheriff and the coroner were standing in my living room. He swiftly said “on my way” and hung up.
So, what happened next is a recollection as best as I can describe it. Other than the world caving in, this is my best guess to the following chain of events… The coroner knelt down in front of me as I had to sit down. He held my hand while my husband was knelt down next to me holding the other and asked if I knew how to get a hold of his friend. I didn’t have the number, but he proceeded to tell us the truck hit a tree and caught on fire. Then he asked if my son had a dentist. What!?!? Why!?!? The victim in the vehicle could not be identified! Now I am in a position of “Do I now want that to be my son or someone else’s!! I wanted option ‘C’ but wasn’t offered. I gave them the orthodontist that Cody went to for braces. Thought that would be the most recent. They did tell me they were pretty sure it was Cody, but had to wait to confirm. My sister and brother-in-law arrived. They went over everything with them. From there, it’s kind of a blur. I don’t even know when they left.
Here is what we found out later: a passerby called 9-1-1 at 11:23pm, just one hour before I started texting him. That passerby knew Cody. Pray for that passerby! I’m sure there are very few fires he will witness in his life where this image is not haunting him.
We then proceeded to call his sister (almost 2 hours away working third shift as an ICU nurse) and his 19 year old girlfriend. Let me tell you I think I know what dying feels like! I did it every time I had to call someone and give this news. By 7am, my house was full! All family! All just as scared, shocked, and bewildered as I was! Then, around 8am, his friend he was fishing with pulled in our drive to pick up his trailer. Confirmation made! He was pale as a ghost as we explained Cody didn’t make it home that night. His friend had left before him. He had NO idea!!
Now, I was planning the funeral of my 24-year old son. Remember, one person, one decision, one night. I even got up to speak after the priest was done speaking that day. I warned all the young people there that this could have been prevented. I didn’t know the details, but I knew THAT detail. Now let’s fast forward 2-1/2 years…
January 2020, one of my sons good friends was killed in an ATV accident. Drinking was involved, but now I put myself right there where his mother is and relive all the steps! Not that I had gotten very far in my own steps, but now I knew what they are feeling, what they are thinking, and what they have in their future! We are going to call this the first major sign. His friend was 20 years old and a passenger. I wished his friends would have heard me.
Sign Two: three months after his friend in January, another accident by one in his group. This young man was 21, single vehicle, now what do I do!?!?! What is the message they need to hear to assure them they are not invincible? My next step…
I contacted the county and asked for my son’s police report. Remember, I had not gotten any details of that night. I knew it would not bring my son back. But now, I needed this information to stop any more of his friends from joining him! The county personnel actually phoned me one day. It was a woman. She told me she had received my request. I asked if there was an issue, were fees involved, I would pay. She said “no” because of the Freedom of Information Act, I was privy to the records, but as a mom to a mom, could she please withhold the photos of my son. (The last time I saw my son was him walking away from the house to go fishing. The next time I saw him, he was in an urn.) I told her she could withhold them, but I wanted pictures of his truck and the scene. “Not a problem,” she said. This took me 2-1/2 years to ask for! I was nervous.
A week later, my package arrived containing the police report and a cd with photos. I knew what was in it but couldn’t open it. I called and told my daughter it was here. My daughter, ICU nurse and protector, came over and grabbed the disk and took off to view them first. Nothing really shocked her from what she expected, so in I went! This is what I saw!!
The photo is disturbing, but puts the pieces together of what happened and why he didn’t live through this accident. What people don’t know is that if his truck had went right instead of left, it could have hit a house that had small children in it. Praise Jesus for looking out for them!! Note: he uprooted the tree where the bark is missing, so his truck bounced. Hard to look at, I know. This is where my son died. The young kids and young adults need to see this. They need to ask themselves, “is that drive worth the chance for this to be what I leave behind?” THIS IS CODY’s MESSAGE!!
Remember, he was fishing just a few miles behind our home. A few turns and he would have been home. Here is a little perspective:
Cody’s message: it doesn’t matter how far you have to go, it is not worth the risk. This year, make a pact to do what is right, not what is easiest (or what you think is easiest). I want all people reading this to spread the message: Designated Drivers (DDs) are heroes!!! Period!!!
I am not posting this to make mothers cry or to allow anyone to feel sorry for me. According to several mediums and/or psychics, Cody is very sorry for what we have gone through and he didn’t mean for this to happen. I know in my heart that if he were standing next to me, he would want me to forgive him. I did that on Day 1, just so you know. This is his message, not mine. Please take this as a message it was intended.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers here on Earth, including my wonderful daughter, and to the ones we have had to say goodbye to. As we celebrate today, remember the joy of becoming a mother, having your mother with you, and all the ups and downs that created the life you live and the memories you have! If I could do it all over again, I may change a phrase or two, but I wouldn’t trade the years I was blessed with. For all I know, God put Cody here for me to be able to spread this message. When I get to see him again, I will confirm that! I am proud to have had the mother God gave me and to have been Cody’s mother!! I am who I am because of my mother. I know she is hugging my son and I am grateful for all they gave me! I cry because they are gone, but I smile because they were here.
#happymothersday #forever24 #codysmessage #thedashinthemiddle