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Old 01-16-2005, 03:21 PM
Motodad393's Avatar
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Default "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey - IF You Make it Endless"

     

This post contains the on-going journal of my most personal thoughts about "life" after loosing a child. It began in 2002 after my sons death and continues to this day. It is my hope that these thoughts help others and especially those whom find themself in "the club that needs no members - parents who lose a child." Perhaps this gives a portion back to a community that gave so much to me and my family in the "darkest hours" imaginable - "The Brotherhood, a Family of People Whom Ride Offroad Motorcyles!"

“Mourning Reflections – An Endless Journey - IF You Make it Endless”

December 16, 2002 - Monday
It has been 13 weeks and 1 day since my Son died. I miss him more than imaginable. How does one go on with half a heart? I cherish the memories and thank G_d there are many and they are good!

Many times I try and describe how I feel inside - but there are no words. Endless tears - never ending tears. I have been angry, but I know not at what, or whom. I know it is not G_d or Garrett! The emptiness - the reality and the magnitude of our loss. Oh to have that 'one armed hug and hear - "love ya Dad" Tis not to be. Now time just passes. How does one heal?

I suspect I will learn to "live with the loss." Often times I will see a Dad and his son, with red hair and freckles and I wonder if the Dad really understands just how "special" his son is? The first time this happened to me I was in a Walmart and I began to cry, then weep and then I left the store! In retrospect, I never stopped and really understood just how fragile Life really is.

Initially one operates on instinct - pure gut response. Time - they say it heals. Doubtful! I sure hope it gets easier. When I ride his YZ450 I long for those 'moments in the saddle' where I actually feel his presence! G_d I wish I could capture and bottle that feeling! The tears seem not to blurr the vision. I long to hear his voice inside!

The agony of a Mothers grief – can't go there! I doubt that time will help - oh for that next moment "in the saddle." I sure hope people understand during this holiday season - if you have your family, you have it all! It simply does not get any better.

Garrett's Grandmother made a real nice evergreen cover with red ribbons to cover his grave. Flowers still bloom and those red holiday flowers. I took his bike to the grave yesterday after I rode. I suspect he enjoyed having it there. Stopped short of starting it - next time - I don't know.

I am proud of my Son! He helped alot of people. The Memorial Race was incredibly awesome - yet painful. I long to see the people again, you know who you are - you see, you feel the same way. Soon - we will ride together!

Sleep - oh for the 'right' dream. The trauma room hard to forget, the people their faces - damn! Reliving the scenes helpful or hindrance? Time will tell.

G_d I wish I could see the stars from Houston. Mabey sometime this winter. I miss my Son, my Friend, the 'Little Man' the agony...... draws on. Oh well - looking for that Dream!

December 20, 2002 Friday Early AM - ready for bed!
Today was unique in a weird sort of way. I received a call from the Harris County Medical Examiners Office - the long awaited state required Autopsy report was finally done. Hell, it has only been 14 weeks and 5 days - what's the rush? I picked up the report- hard to do, broke down big time.

Went and had a few beers with Mr. B. after work. Not something I normally do - real desire here.

The cause of death read, "Blunt Impact Trauma to the Chest." Manner of death - Accident. I already knew this. I wondered of any injuries I may not be aware of. Tough memories hurt bad - cried alot. The only suprise was the last sentence in the Cardiovascular System Section: it read "All major branches of the aorta with regard to the intercostal branches and the lower thoracic portion are lacerated and show hemorrhage into the subpleural space."
To me this means that the branches from the aorta area simply split on impact. He could not have survived if we had been next store to a Trauma Hospital! Now I know why our CPR did not work!

The next interesting portion is: Musculoskeletal System - the comments read, "The general musculature is normally formed. There are the following fractures; left clavicle, right ribs 1 and 2 and 5 through 12, and left ribs 1 and 10 and 11, right femur. There is complete transection of the thoracic spine at T10-T11."

G_d is truly merciful and allowed Garrett not to suffer too much. I am glad I got to hear his last word, "Dad, it hurts." My reply was, "I know Son, hang in there Little Man! I Love You." Then I kissed him.

Feel drained now. Time to get some sleep - I hope! G_d I miss him. I Love My Son!!!!!!

December 21, 2002 - Saturday morning
Last night I watched 20/20 and Charleton Heston was interviewed. He now has Alzheimer’s- the very disease that claimed my Dad. A comment he made sticks deep in my gut and "rings of much truth", "those things that cannot be defeated, must be endured!" Seems simple, yet challenging - a reminder of the fleshly finality of death. One must simply endure - simple to say, yet a process that appears to have no end! Reminds me of the clip from Platoon - "Take the Pain - Take the Pain " - then silence!

Seem to feel a bit stronger today! Shed many a tear last night. A Mothers grief - feel so helpless. I wish I could take her pain. She knows I am there for her. Hard to watch!

Why am I "sharing" some of my feelings on Thumpertalk? Perhaps, someone will be helped or receive closure for the "reality of their cyberloss" and the finality of death will visit all of us sometime during our 'fleshly existence' on earth. Hopefully, those whom mourn my son's passing will find comfort. TT has given so much to my family, especially during the past 13 weeks and 6 days.

Garrett "Motoman393" spent a tremendous amount of time here - it was his refuge. Interesting, yet not suprizingly it too provides a refuge for me! I miss my Son!!!!

Gonna ride the 450 tomorrow. Think I will go to Splendora. Some of the guys from Texas Yamaha will be there. One of them will 'exercise' Garrett's 426! Time to go do a bit of maintenance on the 450 - oil change. Spend time in the 'garage." More than likely go to visit Garrett!

December 23, 2002 - Monday
I rode yesterday - felt good. Missed Garrett. Cleaned the bikes and oiled the chains. Major emotional roller coaster last night - tears from no where - immensely missing my Son, yet very grateful for Shannon and Suzette. Intense internal emotional rumblings damn hard to figure out! I feel like a 'loaded gun' ready to fire at first pulse - not normal to be cocked and ready to explode. Will see Garrett's Granny and Paw Paw during the next 48 hours - first time since the funeral. Glad he had such fine people in his life.

Slowly reading a book called "Ghost Rider" by Neil Peart the drummer from Rush. Never listened to his music, but I like his writing style. He lost his daughter and wife within a year of each other and took a 14 month 55,000 mile ride on his BMW. Thus far I can relate. I like his writing. I would love to be able to do such a journey - damn!

Heard from the TT brothers in the past couple days - always warms my heart! I sure appreciate all the prayers, thoughts and comments. Sometime when time permits look to the stars and tell my son hello. I will be looking for the stars for the next few nights! G_d I miss my Son! Hug your kids - Later!

December 27, 2002 - Friday
I remain "numb" yet vividly aware of how quick my world changed! From 'self perceived perfection' to 'the ultimate pain - being part of a club that wants no members - parents who buried children." Dammit all!

Saw Tyler, Regina and met Jordan on December 24 - truly a blessing. Jordan is as pretty as her mother! Shannon picked that time (with the Guidice's) to give us a "Very Special" gift - she gave Suzette and I matching silver rings engraved on top with "Garrett Michael" and each of us has a special message relevant to our Son on the inside. Totally blew me away - needless to say it was a real emotional and special time. Shannon is very perceptive and picked the time with a special TT family - that's my Girl!

I hope that 2003 will be a year of "Light!" It is said that spiritual Light follows periods of extreme darkness - damn I hope so. Just thinking how awesome it would be if Tim Ferry won the Title in 2003! Garrett would be "roostin & celebrating from the heavens.

Time - Time they say can be our friend, yet can serve as an enemy too! Thoughts in the darkness and the silence of a grieving Mother - damn I feel so helpless! I often wonder if one can die from a broken heart. Gotta think of my Son at times like this - "be strong Dad - Mom and Shannon need you!"

Rode today at Splendora. Looked at the tree - the ground where I held my Son and "knew inside" he was passing. G_d I miss him. Time, yes Time - Friend or Foe? How does one heal from a loss like this? Oh to hear his voice again! I MISS MY SON!!!!

December 28, 2002 - Saturday [PM]
Visited Garrett today. Watched Mrs. Doubtfire tonight with my wife. Made us remember when she made Garrett a costume and he dressed up as Mrs. Doubtfire for Halloween. No one knew who he was and he thought that was so cool! He was so excited. Good memories - G_d I wish he was still alive!

I keep remembering the accident at the track - memories come out of nowhere. Happens way too often. Unbelievably vivid. Inside I hear our last conversation again and again. I visualize the looks on his face as he was dying, the mouth to mouth and sounds of CPR. Damn! Suzette remembers the looks on Shannon’s face and mine when we told her at Herman. Hardest thing I ever had to do! I wonder if, or when will "it" get easier! I don't like being a member in this club. Hurts! I MISS MY SON!

December 29, 2002 - Sunday
Had a good day, spent time with Shannon at a pro-football game with a customer [nice guy] and his son. Looking up through the top of the new Reliant Stadium I kept wondering if Garrett was watching - had to change my thought train so I would not tear up. I am so glad for Shannon, a special girl! She is the 'apple of my eye!"

Life now is such a roller coaster - the kind you can't get off of and do not enjoy riding! The "numbness" that comes from no where - tears, my G_d the tears. Much of the time I am in internal, excruciating agony. A stiff drink and Tylenol PM seem to be the only relief - temporary! Middle of the night darkness, emptiness - pain - I hate this feeling. I guess I will adjust - when? It HURTS deep inside. Reminds me of a "road that leads no where!" Glad for work to occupy the mind. I must refocus, but how? G_d I miss my Son! Now I pray that Shannon will out live me - every night!

A thought that horrifies me is that other parents will become a member of the damned club and I can do nothing about it! How I wish I could stop other parents from having to ride this f___ing roller coaster! This pain makes physical pain feel refreshing! Hug your kids and thank G_d you can.

January 3, 2003 - Friday
Glad to see this weekend. Monday and Tuesday were days from hell! Worst ones since he died. Really hard to describe how I have been feeling until I read something in "Ghost Rider" - man did I relate; it said, "My survival remains an act of pure will. Holding myself together like a soldier wounded in battle, and feel that I could collapse from within at anytime. No peace anywhere, no redemption imaginable. Just a sense of waiting, killing time. Waiting for what? For time to pass, I guess. Can there be no healing? Don't think so. Only strive to minimize scars. Not get too twisted, crippled inside." This is a perfect description of how I feel inside - "Phantom Pain hurting for a piece of you that has been TORN away!" Prophetic in my emotionally distorted opinion! Temporary relief to finally be able to read a description of how I feel inside, yet unable to verbalize.

Appear to be a bit stronger today - still afraid of those "Tears from Nowhere" they are often brutal, yet necessary. Some internal peace on the eve of Shabbat!

Looking forward to riding this weekend - hopefully two days! I have the urge for that "Thumpin Feeling!" It is like Garrett is waiting in the garage for me - Oh how I wish that could be! Shabbat Shalom!

January 8, 2003 – Wednesday
Began the day with tears and thoughts of my Son. I sure miss him. Glad I rode two days this past weekend, it was like cleaning out the ‘mental and emotional toilet.’ Sometimes I feel like I am imploding. I remain amazed, yet fearful of how emotionally drained I can become in this process of “trying to define what is normal, since what was normal will never be!” I am now convinced that time will NOT heal all wounds, but rather one adjusts to constant pain. My Son will never be forgotten in my mind. Along with G_d, Garrett is my first and last thought each day – even during the darkness of the night. Those damn silent, dark moments! Instinctively I direct my thoughts to Shannon - helps me re-focus and warm what is left of my heart. She is so special!

Actually slept well last night. First time in a while. Almost forgot how it feels to physically “feel rested.” Still have nagging pains in my right heal Achilles area and virtually no soreness from my “YZ Weekend Quest” for mental sanity! Thank goodness for some temporary mental relief.

A Mother grief fuels my feeling of helplessness. It is so difficult to watch your ‘soul mate’ endure this ‘hell on earth.’ We are there for each other – tears and hugs in the dark hours, waiting the dawn! Each of us strains to hear the other’s sleeping sounds. They actually bring comfort – I know she is finally resting.

Life is now a process of “accepting and living with the pain” – I doubt there can be healing! Life now feels like an endless process of surviving 1440 minutes over and over and over – until time matters no more!

January 10, 2003 - Friday
Today has been a bit easier. Feeling guarded for I know how it is to be emotionally blind-sided. Had a decent day at work – got to talk about value with a customer that treats us well. Unusual these days! Many thought of Garrett during the day. It has been 15 weeks and 5 days. I know it is real, but I do not like accepting it – the death and all its finality.

Worked on the YZ 450 tonight, changed the oil and listened to Garrett’s garage stereo. Man to hear his voice again – just to hear “hey Dad.” Fortunately we have some messages he left his Mom on the phone. Thanks John for helping us to save them. I sure like to ride and enjoy working on his bike, guess it make me feel closer to him.

Suzette is having a rough day. I walked in and saw “that look” I have grown to dread. To me it means that I cannot do anything to help her. Hard to watch the anguish of a Mother – that in and of itself is a real drain. Recently, it has been all I could do to pull, and keep myself out of that bottomless emotional funk, that internal implosion leading to self-destruction. The battle to avoid and beat depression.

I like the weekends for rest, but the mind can wander. I hope to ride on Sunday to hold the mental gain – try to move forward. Shannon is going to the movies with a friend tonight just glad it is a girl. Still dreading the days when the “boys” start hanging around like a stray dog in heat.

I went by Texas Yamaha three times this week and I ordered new graphics for Garrett’s bike and a Dunlop 756 for the front. I like the way that tire corners and hangs in the sand. I am sure the stock one would do, but I never know when Garrett may help me ride. Better go check on my wife.

January 12, 2003 – Sunday
Suzette and I both woke up with tears yesterday. It just seems so empty without our Son. Some days each step can be a chore. Raining and cold in Houston today, actually has been going all night – drizzle if you will an annoying, irritating type rain. All the MX tracks are closed. I will probably wash the bike and wear a raincoat, crazy huh? Have the fire place going, an internal search for some warmth if you will.

Just got through looking at some pictures of Garrett’s first and only race. He had such a smile for winning his trophy. I restricted his official racing, I did not want him to get hurt – imagine that! Suzette has been crying a lot today and of course it wears off on me. I wish I could take her pain – hard to imagine that my Son will never come home again. I miss my Son. I want him back so badly – I know it is not to be. Emotionally speaking our life constantly remains just “one small step” from the bottom. Before you know it you can be crying uncontrollably. I must go and try and do something to pull me up.

Never did get the bikes washed today, but I sure thought about it. Matt came over this afternoon and spent a few hours with us. It sure is good to have my adopted Son around. A good afternoon talking and watching a movie. We watched the Windtalkers – damn fine show. It was about the role the Navajo Indians played in Saipan during the WWII in the Pacific using their language to confuse the Japanese. A scene at the end of the movie just nailed me. Nicolas Gage had serious internal bleeding, chest wounds and began to bleed through the mouth – next thing you know I was back with Garrett at Splendora on September 22, 2002. I watched my Son bleed through his mouth as I cleared the airway and gave him mouth to mouth. Reliving that hell all over again. I suspect it will not be the last time I “replay” that scene! Emotionally drained – how I feel. Still damn glad I got to spend quality time with Matt.

Time for bed now. Must try and prepare for another 1440 minutes. I hope I can hear my wife sleep – that has become a sweet and comforting sound.

January 19, 2003 - Sunday
The past few days have been better. It feels like a ‘short reprieve’ from the “roller coaster ride” now known as life. There has been a lot of activity around the house – working on and washing the bikes. Suzette made a bunch of chili and many people stopped by Friday night. I bought new graphics and Matt put them Garrett’s YZ450. They look awesome; a perfect installation of Yamaha’s upgraded 450 graphics with yellow, black, white, and blue colors. It “ties” the color scheme together that Garrett had begun on the bike – yellow backgrounds/black numbers.

A large group of us are going to ride in Splendora today – should be a good time. Jack Frost came in a big way last night and frosted the yard, cars, and trailer. It made me smile to see Maggie try and drink from the frozen surface of the water bucket. She doesn’t quite know what to make of it. I wonder how come the tongue of a dog does not stick to the ice, like a human tongue does. Oh such simple thoughts of the morning that occupy my psychic. The weather has been below freezing the past three nights, but the high today should be low 60’s – perfect for riding. Nothing quite like the sound of four strokes ripping through the woods to stimulate the mind of a ‘dirt rider.’

Was a good day at the track. They ran scheduled practices because there were so many riders there. Matt rode for the first time since his accident. He rode real well and used good judgement. Shannon went to the track today and we took Moose – she also rode her BW80, which she has outgrown long ago. Shannon and I had some “special moments” at the tree – remembering Garrett. It was good to have her with me today! She tries to stay strong for her Mom and me. She is my “special girl!” Time for bed.

January 21, 2003 – Tuesday
All day yesterday I thought of Suzette and the coming birthday. She will have ‘that day’ this week and I remember mine, a couple months after Garrett’s passing. The pain and memories brought many tears and sorrow. A helpless feeling, awaiting that proverbial mental collapse from within. I wanted no ‘wishes’ or anything – she has told me the same. The natural thing was to remember Garrett and how he treated us on those annual events – both he and Shannon made us feel so “special” – Oh to have that one armed hug and hear “love you Dad!”

Did not sleep much last night. One of those tossing and turning nights with those “aggressive roll-overs” followed by deep sighs in the darkness. I have been remembering a conversation with a good friend about grieving and dealing with a loss. He said it was a process developing a mutual respect for the “dark side” that comes and knocks us to the ground. In my mind I imagine a wrestling match where two opponents with a “health respect” for each other slowly circle on the mat – looking for that precise moment to execute the ‘perfect takedown.” Thus far, the “dark side” always scores the two points and each time I narrowly escape “the pin.” Time to prepare for work.

We went to a Compassionate Friends meeting tonight. It seemed to help. This is a national organization of people whom have children that have died. It hurt to see other parents whom are grieving for their children – yet I sensed a feeling of ‘oneness’ in the room amongst so much emotional pain. There would be no way to endure this “reality” without a relationship with the Almighty G_d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

January 25, 2003 – Saturday
I awoke this morning and as usual checked email, and went on line. Unexpectedly, there they were – the ‘core group’ was checking who was on line. Once again, we all met in cyberspace. Many of the men from the memorial race have become extremely close. We have bonded together in a very special way, resulting in a group known as “The Band of Brothers 393” in honor of Garrett. As I reflect back I am humbled, and simply amazed at how a young man of seventeen had such a positive impact on so many. I say this not with arrogance, but with an immense and humble pride in my son. As parents, we tried to give him the best guidance and direction we could; however, in the end it was his decisions and actions that reflected his true character. As I have said, “you did it right Son, you did it right!”

I am trying to make a deal and trade in the Mustang that Garrett drove. I will not be a good financial decision for me, but I want it gone. I looked at Toyota Tacoma trucks – I so wanted to get one and fulfill a dream of Garrett’s to have one, post mortem if you will. For the price, the Tacoma simply is not big enough for me. I hope Garrett understands. I am looking at the Tundra – if they make the right deal.

Went to visit Garrett’s grave with Suzette. It is so hard to visit the grave – many tears and very painful. It is emotionally draining. On the other hand “something” calls me there and I am glad it does. I know it makes no sense, but I have learned that “life” sometimes makes no sense! No parent should ever have to bury one of there children. Suzette mentioned hearing a bunch of finches each time she visits Garrett. I often see the birds, but do not usually hear them – the result of machine guns, hand grenades and years of listening to rock n roll. The cemetery has a feeling of ‘distinction’ if you will. Many of the graves go back to the Civil War and sadly other graves document all the wars since. Very near Garrett’s grave lies a Jewish man, a Marine whom was killed in the latter part of Viet Nam [1974]. A Star of David is displayed on his head stone. I found his grave after we buried our Son – strangely enough I receive some comfort from this and feel honored to have him lay by Garrett. From the scriptural perspective they are “the seed, and/or scattered seed of Israel” awaiting the ingathering of the exiles at the end of days. This is when I will again be with Garrett. I too anxiously wait – fully realizing I have no control over this timeline.

At times it can be so difficult to put one foot in front of the other – to simply move on! I am so thankful for Suzette and Shannon. Garrett’s unexpected death has drawn us closer than I ever dreamt, yet fear and realization of how quickly “life” can change has brought forth an acute awareness of reality – “what is and can be.” I no longer take ‘anything’ for granted and deep inside cherish events that become good memories. The old cliché “take time and smell the roses” brings warmth to what is left of my heart; in retrospect I am damn glad I did. Never did I expect to “experience” the legacy of my Son; I assumed that he would "experience" mine - if I left one! I miss him so much!

January 29, 2003 – Wednesday
Awoke with many thoughts of Garrett today. It has been 18 weeks and 3 days. G_d I miss my son. This is one of those days when one looks forward to the shower – hope to wash away some of the pain. Thus far today the tears are abundant. Trying to shake this “feeling” and remember the life and not the death! There is a part of me that “hates” death, even though it was merciful to Garrett. In the fleshly sense – I feel robbed by reality. Heading for the shower and hoping for the best.

Thought about Garrett and cried on the way to work. Tried to force myself to think of something else. I remembered Matt’s post about “memories” and how so many things made him think of my son. Like Ghost Rider said, “I was just trying to prevent the collapse from within, minimize the scar tissue – prevent getting too twisted up, crippled inside.” Ever so slowly I became somewhat functional as the morning progressed.

I washed the YZ450 after work and could not resist – started it up and flew around the block. Felt refreshing, but wasn’t near long enough. I kept busy doing “stuff to feel” closer to Garrett, at least in my mind. I am feeling real pissed – feel like I can “explode” without notice; an uneasy internal recklessness if you will. I hate this feeling! Looking for the “weekend” ride. I wonder what “normal” is now.

February 1, 2003 – Saturday
The Space Shuttle Columbia apparently broke apart on ‘re-entry’ into the earth’s atmosphere this morning– dammit; more people just joined “this club!” I feel for the families that will be forever changed by this tragic event! Suzette began crying as she remembered watching the Challenger explosion in 1986 with Garrett – he was too young to remember, but she wasn’t! Weird how those ‘memories’ come out of no where – and cause an emotional deluge. Life is simply not fair – yet we assume it to be.
Why is it that only after a traumatic personal event – do we become aware of how fragile our fleshly life really is? The proverbial “comfort zone” that we humans rely, that often deprives us of “special memories” always experienced through post, introspective reflection! Do not take “life” for granted, for it is truly much more precious than we realize. Cherish the memories, resist the comfort zone – enjoy the beauty of the here and now.

Outside of the national tragedy, this day was restless and slow for me. The memories of Garrett are everywhere, yet the numbness of missing him ever haunting me – in my face, constantly! I fired up the YZ450 and once again flew around the block – unfortunately got the attention of a neighbor. It is a bit loud when the throttle is cracked. I guess what is music to my ears, is noise to others! I suspect Garrett was smiling down from the heavens, possibly winced a bit about the rear tire wear. Can’t wait to ride again tomorrow – looking for the “Four Stroke Feeling!” I have GREAT MEMORIES but G_d I miss my SON!

February 3, 2003 – Monday
Woke up early this morning about 4:15 A.M. and listened to the clock tick for over an hour. Second day in a row that this happened. I lay in the darkness and think of Garrett – such a feeling of emptiness, helplessness and then tears – those infamous tears in the darkness! I wonder deep inside if this really gets easier?

Yesterday was good for me. Matt and I rode at Splendora with about 5 other people from Thumpertalk. I am marginally physically sore and I feel better in my mind. It is amazing what a difference five hours of MX riding can do for my psychic. I have a real busy week ahead of me. We have a big meeting on Thursday and a team of us has been preparing. I hope it goes well. Time for work.

February 9, 2003 – Sunday
It has been 20 weeks since Garrett died. I remember it as clear as the day of his birth, except with painful memories. I still look around our home and seem to wait for him to come home, yet I know it will not be. His room remains the same except for the unsold memorial shirts. His closet still has his ‘scent’ for which I am grateful – yet it remains so painful. Life is so different now. Today is one of those days where I do not like it! There is no “relief” from, or cure for this type of pain.

This past week was real busy at work. Made the week go fast – then the weekend drags on. It has been eight days since I visited his grave. It is so painful to stand over his grave – I wish I was lying there rather than him. It rained today so no riding this weekend. Matt and I drove to Splendora to ride, but it was too muddy. So damp, cold – and the ‘tree’ the one foot space where he hit the tree! Dammit, I miss my son!

Thumpertalk feels different these days. There seems to be so much attacking of other people – moderators step in and ‘lock’ a post. This is fine, but at times it appears so elementary. If we all stopped to realize just how fragile life is, the small stuff would be so insignificant.

I wish I could be more positive today. Looking for a good, hard, deep sleep tonight.

February 12, 2003 – Wednesday
Awoke this morning early. It was hard to get to sleep last night. All during the night in my “sleep” I kept replaying, or subconsciously focusing on Garrett’s accident. In my mind I kept replaying his jump, landing, his line of sight, and his trying to miss the trees. I tossed and turned – restlessly exhaling, like a horse pounding the ground and snorting! A listless feeling inside that I do not understand. I experienced yet another major deluge of tears and sobbing from the darkness. All Suzette can do is hold me. The anxiety of life is beginning to wear me thin – deep on the inside.

Suzette bought a figurine of a boy lying on his back with a puppy on his stomach. He is leaning on a vase. As expected she created a real pretty red flower arrangement, including a little balloon that says, “I Love You!” She made it to put on his grave.

When I got to work this morning, I was gathering boiler samples for analysis and found myself talking out loud to Garrett – crying. I guess it felt good to talk with him, if only I could hear him answer! I just accepted the fact that it was going to be “one of those days” which I had little control of my emotional yearning. The day got busy – thankfully so did I, yet the thought of Garrett never really left.

The forecast for the coming weekend is rain. I am not looking forward to another rainy weekend. I may have to load up and drive somewhere, anywhere to ride. I have to find a way to clear my mind – feel like I am slipping inside myself. Very strange feeling. I miss my Son!

February 17, 2003 – Monday
This past weekend was strange in a myriad of ways, not all bad, nor all good. Saturday was rainy and it got colder as the day went on. The rain did its part in making the day dreary. I thought of my son a lot, his grave and the water in the ditches. Life did and does not seem fair. I have always known this, but at least at this time it has been particularly vivid – down right brutal!

Saturday we had another Sabbath Torah study. Shannon seems to be paying particular attention. I have often wondered how to “teach” her in a manner that she will receive. Hopefully, the Almighty will continue to guide me. Shannon is sure special and my ‘closet of tools’ is not exactly full of experience when it comes to raising a daughter. It would have been helpful to have a sister when I was growing up- but that was not to be.

Since Garrett death I have talked with G_d much, prayed, cried uncontrollably and feel the deepest kind of pain imaginable – beyond description. I have buried both of my parents and that was tough, but even that is “not even close” to burying your child. Since October 28, 1995 I have had a passion for seeking G_d. During the years since, I have enjoyed conducting studies in the Hebrew language and back to English, savoring richness of the Law and the Prophets. I have also been through the Christian New Testament countless times. Why am I telling you this? This past Saturday in mid afternoon, unknowingly I began a ‘study’ and “re-engaged” my deepest passion, digesting the “Word of G_d!” It simply just happened. This was not planned, yet it really seemed to help me. I have sat down many times since Garrett’s death to “study” and simply could not! This felt extremely good and I look forward to completing the study. To me, it is “Light” in the midst of a very dark, long tunnel!

This morning I awoke early. I went into Garrett’s room, looked around and simply broke down. It is hard to explain how you feel when you see those things that made Garrett who he was. Evidence of motocross, Yamaha, computers, childhood, family pictures and down deep you know he will not come home. I am not sure how to deal with reality now. One moment your are high, the next is low. It is hard to describe the loss, pain – knowing that I must go forward. I view this time frame in life now as War – not against evil, but against reality! My perception of War is being surrounded by death an absolute hell that has no visible end. Survival is not guaranteed; in fact, in the darkest of moments death is even taunted. War – Death has no rhyme, or reason.

Once again I sit, reflecting, ending the day the way it started – thinking about my Son and crying! I am thankful for the “Light” this past weekend, yet hate the War, Death and the reality of what now is! Survival is but a “Gift” from G_d. I suspect this “Gift” cannot be fully appreciated or understood until the horror of War - Death fade over a long period of time that I already know can never be forgotten.

February 22, 2003 – Saturday
Today started with the usual fresh ground coffee and thoughts of my son. Later in the morning we watched home videos. We watched early video of Garrett and Matt riding, even had some of me. It was neat to see them. The video went back and forth between Shannon and the dogs and Garrett riding. Oh how that young man loved to ride. There were special moments when Garrett and Shannon were messing with the dogs and hearing Garrett’s voice and watching him was good for Suzette – it nailed me. It just drives home the realization of how much I really lost, yes it is good to see my son, but living with the fact he is dead – just hurts so much! G_d I miss my Son!

I took my refuge in the garage and crying started Garrett’s YZ426 and rode it around the block. I had forgotten how fast and fun that 426 is to ride. I came back and changed the oil and filter and just pampered the bike. I got to thinking about “Machoman 393” and his coming purchase of the YZ426. I got in touch with Ron at Decal Works in California. He is making me some special graphics for the YZ426F and the lower fork guard graphics for the YZ450F. I cannot wait to see how they come out. After dealing with the fine folks at Decal Works I got in touch with North County Yamaha. Garrett used the NCY Graphics for over two years on his YZ426 – they are sending me a set of new NCY graphics for a 2001 YZ426 no charge! I have decided to put the YZ426 back as close to how Garrett had it as I can get it. It will be in perfect shape for Machoman393!

I worked on the YZ450 too – changed the oil/filter and rode it around the block a couple of times. Matt and I are planning on trying to ride tomorrow at 290MX, or Splendora. The folks at Splendora are having some vintage races and we can ride after that. Howard “Big Maico” Lobel will be racing! Riding is my refuge, yet it is not the same without Garrett. The days remain 1440 minutes, one by one.

March 1, 2003 – Saturday [evening]
Been doing a lot of thinking this past week. The kind of reflective thoughts a person has after burying a child. Both Suzette and I try and “pull ourselves up,” but we can unknowingly have adverse effects on each other – all part of “grief recovery!” Grief recovery – that’s an oxymoron, you don’t recovery from something like this – you redefine what is and miss what was. In its own way, watching a mother grieve is almost as bad as the death itself. Suzette said, “it hurts as much now as it did the day he died.” I cannot disagree with her statement.

I had a very close friend tell me that Garrett would want me to move forward and “put it behind us.” While the advice is good, thankfully he is not speaking from personal experience – it is simply easier said than done. Garrett would want us to go forward and we are. Hell it has only been 23 weeks! Often times life is difficult, those little “things” that happen, things people say that triggers emotional memories and the self talk of what was and now is. It is extremely hard to “fill the hole” now existing in my heart! Garrett will forever be with me there, but that offers no comfort to the fleshly reality of the “here and now.” Life for me has forever changed.

It was also gently suggested that I ride now for Garrett, rather than for me. Riding is my refuge and a release for the pain and anxiety that exists in a process known as “Life.” It was mentioned that every time I go to the tree, I relive the accident. To an extent I guess this is partially true. Last Sunday I went to the tree, looked at the ground where I last held Garrett. I did not cry at the tree, I did wish it all had not happened! I left the tree feeling the reality of his death. No doubt riding is definitely different and I miss my Son in an unimaginable way. I personally enjoy riding and every so often, “Garrett rides with me.” When this “feeling happens” it is absolutely unbelievable – both physically and emotionally. The highest of the highs, ultimate euphoric exhilaration! Damn right, in those “Special Moments” I do ride with my Son!

March 17, 2003 – Monday
I traveled to New Jersey on business this past week. It was the first time since the accident that I left my family. I had a chance to go into New York City to visit “ground zero” where the World Trade Centers once stood. I was blown away by the magnitude and the horrific damage caused by those cowardly terrorist bastards. All around there were flowers, pictures and portable memorials established. I witnessed many people crying. I too cried – knowing exactly how they feel. I am “angered and irritated” because I feel this country has forgotten September 11, 2001. The reality of death – the sense of loss is so painful.

The past couple of days have been hard and I currently hurt real badly inside. I feel like I am on the “edge.” I have been thinking about Garrett a lot. I am fearful of his coming birthday in June. I think of the coming Graduation from High School – the Friendswood Class of 2003 – I will miss hearing “Garrett Michael Berg” and watching him proudly walk up and get his diploma. I feel cheated in one way, yet blessed in many others. Just when you think you are getting stronger, you become over whelmed by emotions. It is not a matter of positive thinking; it is a matter of shear survival. I hate being a member of this club – parents who buried children.

Garrett’s best friend Matt will be joining the United States Marine Corp real soon. He is a very fine young man. Matt approached me in early September 2002 and wanted my opinion about joining the Marines. I have told him that I do not want him to join, but that I would support any decision he chooses to make. Below is a poem I wrote especially for Matt. I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it. I wrote this poem on September 15, 2002 seven days before my Son was killed. I awoke “troubled” at 4:00 A.M. that Sunday morning with deep thoughts of Matt. I wrote this in about 20 minutes and then went riding with Garrett and Matt – unknowingly for the last time.

“Thoughts Within”

From deep within my mental hue I tossed and turned - Awakened by deep thoughts of you. I knew “right then” the moment you asked – the memories from a time long past! And though it surprised not I – My mind wondered, “why Matt why?”

I pondered then of memories past and know inside how long they last. It was my pleasure to Watch you grow – from a boy to the Man I know. I saw the struggles, felt the pain – and Had the privilege to see Oh such Gain!

The strengths you have evade you so – but from within I hope you know that Struggles from your recent past will be but memories that will not last. The Strength you have – buried deep inside, IF enabled will serve as your guide!

You wonder “IF” but you should know – there are no bounds where you cannot go! Your Greatest Strengths within you lie and will serve you well whenever you TRY. It takes much courage to leave the ‘nest’ and willingly take the ultimate test!

Many men before you went – paving the way and Freedom sent! Remember this as you decide and always let your conscious guide. The wind of war now strongly blow – but all your choices can help you Grow!

As surely as the years go past – there is but one thought meant to last. As you peer into the glass, no sadness seen that will not pass – but deeply gaze into your eyes and there you’ll find bright future skies!

As a father I am very grateful that my Son has such a fine friend as Matt. Just as I believe that Garrett is always with me, I too suspect that Garrett will always be with Matt. I am thankful that these two young men gave me the opportunity to be part of their lives. I miss my Son!

March 20, 2003 – Thursday
This week has been tough. I cannot seem to shake this funk I am in. I am missing my Son so bad – it is just hard to describe. I hope it gets easier. There is such a void now in my life, my heart. I constantly am thinking of him. I seem to start sobbing at the most awkward moments. I have good memories, but this is so hard to understand at times. I long to be with my Son! I wish I could just hold him one more time! I feel so emotionally drained. It will be twenty-six weeks this Sunday.

Thankfully I will be riding with some special friends this weekend. I hope to spend a whole day in the saddle of the 450F. Riding seems to help my mind – I suspect I would go crazy if I could not ride. I feel so close to my Son when I ride his bike. I will be taking the 426 and selling it to Mark Golleher “Machoman 393” this weekend. He is a special man whom appreciates the legacy of this bike and for some reason has been drawn to my Son. Mark knew Garrett on line, but never met him in person, yet they ride together regularly. I know it seems strange, but we actually do “ride with Garrett” at times and it is the most incredible feeling in the world!

I wish that these ‘Reflections’ could be more positive, but life is rather challenging these days. It is extremely difficult to “adjust” after you loose a child. I do actually have some good days, but I am experiencing emotions and thoughts I never dreamt possible. Historically, I have always thought I was a fairly tough individual on the inside, yet this – the reality of the magnitude of this loss is intolerable at times. It is simply hard to explain. Life now is a series of 1440 painful minutes, one after the other.

March 25, 2003 – Tuesday
Last weekend was awesome. I went to Muenster, Texas and rode on the Red River with some great guys and a few of the Band of Brothers 393. We had a magnificent time riding and ‘garage racing.’ Man riding at Muenster is really cool – darn near every type of challenge a rider could want. Lots of spaces where one can ‘roll back’ the throttle and let that 4 stroke fly! I will definitely ride Muenster again!

I sold Garrett’s and my ole YZ426F to Mark “Machoman 393” Golleher from Benton, Arkansas. I am honored to have found a person whom appreciates the legacy of this bike. Garrett really developed his talents on this bike and became “One” with his bike. Honestly, this bike has a personality – a distinct “Spiritual Hora” that those whom have ridden it actually feel. I was very proud to watch Mark ride this bike. Garrett was always cleaning and checking the mechanical aspects of this bike. I know of no bike that had more TLC given to it other than this bike. He had the carburetor tuned to perfection, instantaneous response. I tried to put the bike’s appearance as close as I could get it to when Garrett rode it. I had the same type numbers and NCY graphics. The bike looked real good. The events of this past weekend seemed to help me ‘move forward’ – to what ever lies ahead. I thought it would be hard to part with the bike, but instead I was proud to see Mark take ownership and command of this “beast” of a MX bike.

This coming weekend will be the 2003 Houston Supercross in Reliant Stadium. I hope Tim Ferry’s health is doing better. I am keeping him and his family in my prayers. If I am lucky, I will be able to meet the Ferry Family if they come to Houston. Moving forward – another 1440 minutes.

April 2, 2003 – Wednesday
Last Friday night we went to Texas Yamaha and meet the “Team Yamaha” riders and had a super time visiting with all the people who came to meet them. I was asked if Texas Yamaha could put Garrett’s 450 behind the professional racers as they signed autographs – I was honored. It was cool in one way, yet painful in another to have Garrett’s bike on the podium with the pro’s. I know Garrett would have been proud and honored. I was simply missing my Son! I was amazed at how friendly and down to earth the pros were. They took the time to talk and were sincere in there actions. I gave them all T-shirts with Garrett’s picture and had some sent to Tim Ferry and Travis Pastrana.

Saturday I attended the Houston Supercross with Shannon, her friend Rachel, Tyler. We all had pit passes and visited all the booths. It is interesting to see the mechanics work and cater to each of the bikes mechanical needs. The Yamaha Team gave Tyler and me a tour of the semi truck. They have enough parts to build about four complete bikes. Heath Voss #28 who rides a YZ450F gave me a signed jersey – awesome!

The actual Supercross races were fun to watch, especially the 250 main events. Incredible performance by both Chad Reed and Ricky Carmichael. Heath Voss slid out in a corner, or he would have been a force to reckon with. I cried for a time as I thought of my son and how he always loved the Supercross races. Shannon saw I was hurting, so she gave me Garrett’s school I.D. and I wore it on my shirt. Strangely, it seemed to help.

April 6, 2003 – Sunday
Twenty-eight weeks have past since my son died. I visited his grave again late last week, I did not want to but I had to. It hurts so much to stand next to his grave. It remains an emotionally gut wrenching experience. This weekend was long and Suzette is hurting – still feel so damn helpless. Each of us remains the only one who knows exactly what the other is going through. Living seems to be such a struggle.

It rained this afternoon so no riding this weekend. I watched a movie with Matt and Shannon called “We Were Soldiers.” I have seen it many times before; it was one of Garrett’s favorite movies to watch. Hell, I may possibly have written about it before – cannot remember. I found myself thinking as the movie went on how those whom survived the battles would wonder why they lived, and their comrades died! I have often wondered why couldn’t I have died and Garrett lived? Not that I want to die, but if I had a choice it would have been me instead of him. I know G_d doesn’t work that way. People say you have to move forward, yet at times this seems so illusive. I miss my Son!

The highlight of the weekend was taking Shannon driving. She did an excellent job. We went to the High School and I let her drive. She did real well. I even had her park in “Garrett’s parking place.” I am sure he got a kick out of watching his little sister drive. Later this evening I let her drive around the block a couple of times. I remember how it was learn how to drive – such fun. These past couple of days has been 1440 brutal minutes, one right after the other. Does the pain ever ease up?

April 19, 2003 – Saturday
Twenty-nine weeks and six days, I miss my son. It seems like the time drags on and my heart is still shattered. I now know that we will never run out of tears, because they keep coming out of no where. No matter what I do thoughts of Garrett are just fractions of a second away.

Yesterday the three of us went to look for a headstone for Garrett. Talks about an emotional task. I suspect we will look at a family headstone with individual markers. One thing is for sure, it will be a nice one. We are going to purchase one from Kevin McWilliams in Hempstead, Texas. Bobby Boykin and Kevin are the ones whom have donated a memorial marker for Garrett to be set at the track in Splendora where Garrett was killed. Picking a memorial headstone is not something that one would do in life, especially at our ages. At least I know where I will be buried, immediately west of my son. No parent should have to bury one of his or her children.

The three of us went to a wedding tonight for our neighbor’s daughter. It was a pretty wedding and a joyous occasion. This day has been rough for me. At the reception a song from Ann Murray with the lyrics of “think I’m gonna have a son” just nailed me. I remembered hearing this song as a boy and dreaming of having a son. I hadn’t heard this in years; quickly I went outside and cried like a baby. I realized that Garrett would not ever experience the joy of being married and having children. I know he would have been a great dad. I long to see my son again in the heavenly realm! Life can be very brutal.

On the other hand I see the impact my son had in this world and I remain extremely proud of his giving nature and spirit. If a Dad had to experience the legacy of one of his children – well I cannot think of a better one than that of my Son. Garrett helped people because he simply loved helping people. He “gave” to others with no expectation of receiving anything in return.

If you’re reading this and you have children – “hug them” and remember just how special they really are!

May 3, 2003 – Saturday
The past couple days have been hard. I finally completed the deal to get rid of two car payments. I could not sell the Mustang GT outright, so I traded in my truck and the Mustang and got another Ford F150 Lariat Supercrew. It hurt, sort of felt like I was getting rid of part of Garrett. I know it sounds silly. I got the color Shannon likes [two tone – gray with silver]. It has a power rear window for her dogs. It is the best bad financial deal I ever made, that is other than purchasing and keeping high tech stocks. I guess they call it minimizing your loses. Moving forward is difficult at times.

After I picked up the truck I went to the cemetery and purchased three more plots. I now own four six foot plots of ground. Too bad one is occupied by my son. This is not exactly how I planned to purchase land. I pray that I never have to use the fourth plot – horrible thought. I could not go though this Hell again! Now I can move forward and purchase a family headstone. I promise it will be a fitting tribute to an excellent Son! I miss him so much.

Last weekend Shannon learned to ride a dirt bike with a clutch. Now more than ever she wants a bigger bike. Mom does not like the idea and I have mixed feelings. I asked myself WWGS [what would Garrett say?] I knew the answer before I asked it. The jury remains out, but I suspect she will be successful in her efforts to convince me. I will have to try and figure out how a Dad can be more closely involved than I was with Garrett!?!? Strangely enough, I have that “I need to ride feeling.” More later.

It is 0200 hrs and I just got back from a two-hour hot tub soak. I feel mentally exhausted, but physically relaxed. Shannon got to drive home from Mr. B’s and she is pumped. She got to drive the new truck before my wife. Not looking forward to June.

May 12, 2003 – Monday
All week long I did not look forward to Mothers Day. I have thought about “this day” all week, watching Suzette. I could see the pain, yet also her strength. I feel so helpless to help her. Most of the time I can just watch and hurt too. We both miss Garrett so much. I could not bring myself to say “Happy Mothers Day” because it was not. Shannon did her best to cheer us up. She is so special!

We went by his grave yesterday - the usual brutal, gut wrenching emotional breakdown. It is so hard to move forward. Such a huge emptiness exists in my life. We planted a tree in the front yard yesterday, just outside Garrett’s room. It is a tree like shrub that provides red flowers and gives shade.

The three of us went to Pappasittas Restaurant. It was one of his favorites. Suzette and I cried as we saw a family with a little red headed boy and girl. I remain numb by how quickly life can go from absolute perfection to where ever it is now. I hurt real badly inside.

May 20, 2003 – Tuesday
It has been thirty-four weeks and two days. This past Saturday evening the three of us went to the 39th Wranglerettes Annual Dance at Friendswood High School. The Wranglerettes won the National Drill and Cheerleading Championship this year. Well anyway, many of these girls knew my son and they also know Shannon. The six senior girls danced a final dance together, dedicated to the memory of my son – needless to say, it was a beautiful dance and tribute to Garrett. The song they danced to was “The Dance” written by Garth Brooks. This dance show was as good as any dance show I have seen in Las Vegas, or New York – simply incredible. I remain amazed at the dedication of these young girls and adults whom are clearly committed to perfection.

I had a restless time sleeping Saturday night and only had about four hours of sleep. I awoke early Sunday and headed to the track in Splendora to ride. I had not ridden in three weeks. I was physically tired and could not get into the “rhythm” so the ride was short. I did enjoy talking with the MX family found at every track.

I received an email today from a 27-year-old man who lost his Dad to cancer when he was a senior in High School. His name is James. James found the post and can relate to my experience very closely – except from the perspective of a son whom lost his Dad. The email was extremely nice and provided me with the insight of how Garrett may have felt – had I been the one whom died. It was very emotional for me to read; however, I needed to have this perspective. It helps me. I would not want Garrett to go through what I am going through. Shannon even told me once that Garrett would not have been able to “handle it” if I died. She say, “Dad, do you realize how close you and Garrett were?” As parents, we feel like we have lived more and that our death would not be bad as when a parent loses a child – now I will have to evaluate that more, thanks to the heartfelt email from James. I plan on contacting James and will hopefully talk with him. God truly does work in mysterious and awesome ways!

Garrett would have Graduated High School on June 1, 2003 and his eighteenth birthday is June 24. I am not looking forward to June, but I am ready to “get past – through it.”

June 1, 2003 – Graduation Day
It was thirty-six weeks ago today! I awoke early this morning in tears. I remain numb by how quickly emotions can over run me. I hope I can handle the Graduation Ceremony – it is already a real ‘roller coaster’ day! I cannot help but think of what would have been. The type of things a son like Garrett would have done and become. Garrett touched more people in a positive way in seventeen short years than I will in a lifetime. Baruch Hashem! I wish the reality of “what is” - was not, damn it all!

Suzette made a flower arrangement for Garrett’s grave. The three of us are going by to see him before we attend the ceremony. The flowers are blue and white and it really looks awesome. I was in the shower and there it came again, thoughts of my Son. I am an emotional wreck today. I never expected this type of anxiety. I am going to ask the Almighty to give me “strength” today. Oh well, time to get on with this.

The three of us stopped by the grave before we went to the ceremony. It seemed to have helped. I would have still enjoyed hearing Garrett’s name being read aloud with the graduating class – but it was not to be. Emotionally we all had more strength than expected.

It was good to see and hear “Matthew James Sandt” as he walked proudly across that stage. I could not resist and yelled out a couple of “Ohhhh Rahhh’s!” I imagine Garrett looking down and giving Matt his nod of approval.

Shannon had a big weekend also. Her 15th Birthday is June 2, 2003. We got her a 2003 Yamaha TTR125L. Her Mom and I watched her ride it for the first time in the field behind our home after the Graduation ceremony. I know Garrett got a big kick out of seeing her ride. Mom was less enthusiastic than I would have liked, but after what we have been through I surely understand. I have talked with Shannon and I hope she fully understands how much trust we are putting in her and this motorcycle venture. I cannot begin to describe how much internal wrestling I had with this decision.

I am grateful for the unexpected ‘strength’ and ‘break in the anxiety’ that has come my way. I miss my Son!

June 14, 2003 – Sabbath Day [Saturday]
The break in the anxiety continues. I remain very grateful. Once again this past Thursday night I cried myself to sleep. It has been a while since I had done this. Strange how things happen sometimes. It is virtually incomprehensible how much I miss my son!

I remember Fathers Day last year. Garrett gave me a red T-shirt that says, “One Cool Dad!” I asked him if he felt that way and he responded in the affirmative. He gave me a hug and told me he loved me. Shannon gave me a T-shirt also – from her favorite store, Old Navy. I have been there many times with her. She too gave me a nice big hug and told me she loved me. These are memories I will always cherish. Part of me is afraid of tomorrow my first Fathers Day without my son – the wounds are still so very deep. I will want to have one of his hugs, but that will not be. I remain hopeful the weather holds up in such a manner we can ride. I will ride hard tomorrow.

This morning we had a lengthy bible study – from the book of Job. It was very interesting to reinvestigate the experiences of Job during his suffering. I had remembered how Satan received permission from G_d to put Job to the ‘test.’ G_d – nothing more, enabled Satan’s power. In other words Satan had to go to G_d and obtain permission to do anything to Job. Satan could only do those things to Job that G_d had given him permission to do. This is affirmed in both Job Chapters one and two. The three friends sent to ‘help’ Job were Eliphaz [son of Esau], Bildad, and Zophar. Each man had three conversations with Job and Job responded to each one. During Job’s responses it became obvious that Job considered himself righteous comparing himself with G_d. Then Elihu son of Barachel, a younger man than Job and his friends, asking for permission to speak responded, counseling the older men Elihu rebuked Job for judging himself more righteous than G_d. Elihu went on to speak four times. He presented numerous themes: such as; suffering can spare man from worse travail; a small amount of good can save man; prayerful repentance cures; G_d is impartial and has no reason to pervert justice and that Job must stop his rebellious criticism. Elihu went on uninterrupted with other themes: such as, virtue benefits man and not G_d, the wicked do not reflect on the purposes of G_d, His judgements are never haphazard and he goes on comparing G_d’s omnipotence to rain and His complete control of all aspect of nature.

In the end G_d speaks from a whirlwind, affirming His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. He rebukes Job and Job admits error, repents and is restored without any blood sacrifice. God speaks to Eliphaz and his friends expressing his anger and orders them to provide a burnt offering to Job. Job prays for his friends and the Almighty shows compassion sparing them from His judgement. In end Job received double the blessings G_d allowed Satan to take. The daughters of Job were said to be more beautiful than any of the daughters anywhere in the land and Job gave his daughter’s an inheritance amongst their brothers. This is one of the few places in scripture where daughters receive an inheritance along with the sons. For those of us whom have daughters – they can and do receive our inheritance, both physically and spiritually! Baruch Hashem [Praise the Name – referring to G_d]!

An interesting side note is that Job is the only book in scripture that we are not told when it was written. This fact has some very interesting connotations in the spiritual realm. For me, I suspect that this study was very timely. I have been trying very hard to move forward from the loss of my son and I often find myself wondering about his death. The book of Job shows how we can be blessed in our suffering and hardships – yet the capacity to apply the lessons from scripture can be so elusive.

On this coming Fathers day I ask that you all reflect on your father and remember his good. Those of us whom are fathers I suggest that you hug each and every one of your children like never before and let them know how special they are to you. Our children will always be our children; however, they are “loaned” to us by G_d and we are entrusted to help them be better than we are – and to teach them about the Creator!

Tomorrow – I will be hugging Shannon and “riding with both my kids!” Happy Father’s Day all.

June 15, 2003 – Sunday [Fathers Day]
Well it rained today and every track was closed so much for riding with my kids. The sun came out just after noon. I felt like I was being taunted. I received a super card from Shannon – she sure knows how to make a Daddy feel good!

Today was hard for me. My mind wandered to this day last year. I was wearing the T-shirt that Garrett gave me last Fathers Day. Out of no where, or should I say “from deep within” came the emotional deluge. Strange, before my son died I never remembered balling uncontrollably – damnedest thing I have ever experienced. I went alone to Garrett's grave and spent some quiet time. I do feel like I am getting a bit stronger, but today was just simply tough. For the first time today I thought about the many folks who do not have “good days” on Fathers Day. Prior to Garrett’s death I was mindful of my own fathers passing, but I had always enjoyed the day. I just felt that was strange, all of a sudden thinking about all the people who hurt today. I hope the Almighty comforts those whom cry to sleep tonight.

Suzette was a champ today. She unfortunately knows how it feels – and she literally did everything to help minimize the pain. She baked my favorite berry pie, grilled steaks – man she even cooked homemade spaghetti sauce with my favorite noodles! I am so thankful that she is my soul mate – I saw her pain today too.

Oh well, I am going to bed now – I feel emotionally drained. Looking for the end of these 1440 minutes. Tomorrow will be a better day!

June 24, 2003 – Garrett’s 18th Birthday, Tuesday
I took the day off work today. This past Sunday evening and yesterday were extremely emotionally tough days. I have not been looking forward to today – just knowing that I can’t be with my son. I had such dreams for him in his life and was looking forward to seeing all of the things he had yet to accomplish. I just knew inside he would become a mechanical engineer and eventually becomes a real good Dad.

I had the pleasure of seeing Garrett interact with an eighteen-month old boy at a track a few years back. He took at least thirty minutes and lay on a blanket and was clearly involved with this young child. The thing I remember the most is how he smiled and played with Elijah and then he looked up at me and said, “Dad he is such a cool kid.” I remember thinking how unusual it was for a kid that age to take time and spend it with a little boy, especially at one of his favorite MX tracks.

Today is so much different than it was 18 years ago. We became parents of a premature infant whom had many physiological hurdles to overcome – and was given a fairly bleak chance of survival. Now I am a dad in mourning reflecting back on the life of his only son. I remain very proud of my son and the type of person he choose to become. For the most part he made damn good decisions. Garrett had many positive traits in his short life. I am very proud of his caring nature and willingness to help people virtually without questioning, or expecting anything in return. He was honest, diligent and had a level of integrity far beyond his years. Not only was he my son, he was a very special friend to me. We were damn near inseparable – until the past thirty-nine weeks and two days! I miss my Son!

Shannon got to ride the track in Splendora today for the first time. I followed her around for three laps and then let her take a few on her own. I suspect it is just something she needed and wanted to do. The track was still real rough from the past weekend races. They made some real cool changes to the track lay out also. I suspect Garrett was looking down on his little sister as she rode.

Today I am remembering words from this past Memorial Day that really touched me yet can be so elusive to apply. I will close this post with those words – “rather than mourn the absence of the flame let us celebrate how brightly it shined.”

July 25, 2003 – Friday
I am glad June is over and July has gone fast. It has been 43 weeks and five days. The three of us went on a nine-day trip early this month. It was the first time we “got away” since Garrett’s death. It was good to get away, but all during the trip I had a sense that something was missing. Yes, I knew what was missing it was my son. Sometimes just “being in my heart” doesn’t seem to help much!

We flew into Phoenix rented a car and drove to Flagstaff. The next day we visited the Grand Canyon and went up to Lake Powell and spent two days. We watched fire works from our hotel balcony and even rented a boat to tour around the lake to visit some of the canyons that make it such a beautiful place. The water is over 500 feet deep in places and one can see down many feet. The lake had a soothing effect or a short period of time. Shannon and I were swimming around in the beautiful blue water and I glanced over at Suzette sitting on the shore – I swore I could see Garrett’s face behind his mother. I cried!

When we left Lake Powell we drove to Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon in southern Utah. I had visited these places back in 1981. Shannon got “canyoned out” so we drove north through Salt Lake City [702 miles] into Wyoming and stopped in Alpine for the night, just 23 miles south of Jackson Hole. We moved through Jackson Hole and I was “blown away” by the beauty of the Grand Teton Mountain range. Yellowstone National Park provided all the neat scenery from recovering forestry, grizzly bears, black bears, bison herds and a bald eagle. We ended up sleeping in Silvergate, Montana at the Grizzly Inn. The elevation was about 9,000 feet and the brisk smell and sound of a mountain stream were the music for my senses. I ended up drinking whiskey and smoking a cigar in an old saloon. I thought of my son, cried some and talked motorcycles and snow mobile racing with JR. Good memories for a man who misses his son. We drove back through Yellowstone and rode horses for a half day in the Grand Tetons. The scenery was breath taking, but I was in constant pain from the horse. My legs are not meant to spread that far apart. Later this day I spent three hours in a hot tub and I limped for two days. I returned to Texas through Salt Lake City in pain, but had to smile – drove 1932 miles and visited five states in eight days.

Last Sunday I order the headstone for our family gravesite. Our objective is to have it in place by September 22, 2003 – the one year anniversary of Garrett’s death. I was hopeful that the ‘vacation’ would help me refocus and sort of ‘get back in the saddle’ of life. I feel like I am walking backwards on a moving sidewalk in the wrong direction – I know everything in life is moving past me, but I cannot seem to go forward. It is a confusing feeling and moving forward remains difficult. I see the pain all over my wife all the time. It simply hurts beyond description. I feel so helpless to comfort my soul mate.

I haven’t rode the YZ450 in four weeks. The last few times I have ridden it hasn’t felt the same, sort of hard to engage. I may try and ride on Sunday. Shannon wants to ride pretty bad. I do not have the heart to tell her that I am having trouble “engaging the saddle” if you will. This roller coaster is not fun to ride. Life is simply different these days. Looking for an emotional break!

August 13, 2003 – Wednesday
It is 46 weeks and three days today. The past four days have been emotionally rough. It is so perplexing how intellectually you tell yourself to “move forward and be strong” and then during the normal course of a day “something” triggers those thoughts. It could be a young red headed boy, or darn near anything that ‘takes you back.’ The ‘tears from no where’ continues to cross my aging cheeks – and now seem to have a soothing effect on my eyes. It is so hard at times, I really, really, really miss my Son.

These days I am so protective of Shannon. A couple days ago I ‘almost missed’ a chance to talk with her. You know it was one of those subtle moments about 10:30 PM when she wanted to talk and in typical male fashion I damn near missed it. She eventually made it blatantly obvious. The nice part is that we talked for damn near two hours – just about ‘stuff.’ I will have to focus and make sure I do not miss these opportunities in the future. She is growing up so fast and it scares me. She is the only child I have and I could not bear anything happening to her. I remain so thankful that G_d gave me a daughter – I have always said that “every Dad needs a daughter” – this statement still remains so true.

The nights remain a challenge. Frequently I awaken in the darkness and find myself experiencing some aspect of September 22, 2002 – all over again. I am thankful that the last words Garrett heard were mine telling him to “hang in there little man and that I loved him.” I remember kissing his cheek. It seems that now many of those “hindsight questions” flash in my psychic – those selfish life thoughts about if I had only done this, or that he would be alive today. All things considered, I suspect these thoughts are normal and on the other hand I know the stark reality. My son remains dead and living with this fact continues to rip my guts out. I am emotionally drained and I miss my Son!

August 18, 2003 – Monday
Well it has been 47 weeks and one day! The weeks now seem to roll into each other. Thankfully my psychic has been improved, temporary relief for which I am very appreciative. Over the weekend I had some ‘garage time’ working on the YZ450. Performed the normal tasks like changing the oil and filter cleaned the air filter and changed the spark plug. Heck I even polished up the Thunder Alley a little bit. It felt good inside and man I sweat profusely in this Houston heat. It is simply too damn hot in Houston now.

Suzette is having a real hard day. I feel so helpless; watching her pain simply hurts. I never thought I would feel absolutely helpless in life, but this is it. A soul mate cannot help the other endure the ultimate of pain – dealing with the loss of a child. When Mom’s “do it right” they have a Special relationship with their sons and Garrett and his Mom were very close. She literally had a sense about his every move. My own Mother was a great Mom and Suzette is much better. I will never forget her face at Herman Hospital Trauma Center when I told her that Garrett “did not make it.” It is often one of those things I see when I awaken in the middle of the night. The sounds of her sleeping remain a comfort as I lay in the darkness.
That day in September is beginning to sneak into my psychic. The ‘year mark’ and at times it feels like an eternity. I am not quite sure how to take the first anniversary; hopefully we will have the headstone in place. I wonder if I should ride, or drink – I won’t but the ‘thought’ is there. I learned a long time ago that whiskey doesn’t change reality. I wish there were a way to forget the pain, the reality of what has happened – just for a short period of time. At times, life is in fact a “run away roller coaster!”

Tomorrow evening is another Compassionate Friends meeting. We have missed the past couple, but we both need to go – just being there for each other! I sincerely hope and pray that our experience of loosing our only son can somehow help prevent another set of parents from having to live this nightmare! Looking for this 1440-minute period to end.

August 24, 2003 – Sunday
It has been 48 weeks today! Everywhere I go I think of my son. I wonder if “moving forward” becomes easier. In my head I often hear the echoing of Charleton Heston as he spoke, “those things that cannot be defeated must be endured!” A profound, yet challenging reality.

My Dad, Leon Wallace “Wally” Berg Jr. would have been 81 years old today. I wish my Dad could have known my son. He had numerous opportunities, but….. It was not to be. I suspect, this is one of the reasons I try so hard to be a good Dad. Nothing should ever separate a father and child! None the less, I look back to my Dad and remain thankful for the “good” and grateful to have learned from the “not so good.” I have discovered that being an effective parent is not instinctive, but rather a “learned skill set” that must be intentionally developed over time.

Yesterday, the three of us and Suzettes Mom and Dad toured the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans. It is absolutely incredible and definitely worth while! My Father in Law Bud is the only Grandfather my children have ever known. He is a damn fine man and has had a superb impact on Garrett and Shannon. Bud fought in the Pacific during WWII and saw much combat. To this day he speaks of it infrequently, but when he does the tears and pain are clearly visible in his eyes. My Dad also fought in WWII in the European sector with the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment. As I grew up, Dad never spoke much about the “Great War.” He told the “humorous” stories, but never got real detailed about the horror; he took that to his grave. I reflected much as I toured the museum – amazed at the reality of what our soldiers went through. All war is hell, but this one was incredible. Sadly yet fortunately retrospection often brings wisdom that awaits application.

September 1, 2003 – Monday
It has been 49 weeks and one day. My wife is having a rough time. I see her and immediately recognize “that look” and know there is nothing I can do to help. This helplessness really stinks – you remain there and desire to feel like you are of comfort, but you know differently. I am simply ‘there’ and it does not feel like enough. I know the pain and anguish of a father’s grief, but a mother’s grief is hard to watch!

This past week I saw “that look” and instinctively touched her shoulder asking, “can I get you something honey?” She said, “Yeah, bring my son back!” Those words pierced my soul – how I wish it were possible. I know she meant no harm she is just hurting, but words are like bullets fired from a gun, once the trigger is pulled there is no getting them back. In my mind I keep hearing “Yeah, bring my son back” – talk about being completely helpless! I have started to have those “thoughts” I have fiercely resisted. I think to myself, “if I had not let him get the YZ450 he would still be alive?” I believe this is true. Not once have I regretted riding motorcycles with my son – I would do it all again. But the YZ450 decision now haunts me. Oh I know how much Garrett loved that YZ450F and that he had never been “happier” in his life – the price of “his happiness” and the cost of my decision is now a huge burden. The pain remains incredible.
The person I was before September 22, 2002 no longer exists. Inside I am struggling to find out who I am now and feel desperate to "re-engage life” again. I am not “comfortable” being whatever I am now. I am different now and do not fully understand it, yet I know why. G_d I miss my son!

September 21, 2003 – Sunday [52 seven-day periods since his death]
It was 52 weeks ago today about this time when I was ‘officially’ told of my son’s death, even though inside I already knew. I remember seeing his face at the track when I removed his helmet– it was then that I knew he was dying – inside I had a nauseous feeling of absolute helplessness and panic. I remember thinking, “not my son, not my son.” I am grateful that his last conversations was with me and mine were the last words he heard – but the pain and anguish of his death remains difficult to handle.

According to the Gregorian calendar tomorrow is ‘officially’ September 22, 2003; however, the ‘Greaco’ calendar is inaccurate, thus the need for inserting leap years. As defined by the Hebraic calendar it was 52 seven-week periods from today when the accident occurred. The Hebraic calendar compensates for both lunar and solar occurrences; thus mathematically maintains its precision.

Suzette and I went to the grave today and placed a wreath she made. The birds were singing big time as she laid the wreath at his head. I resist going to the grave because it is usually such a gut wrenching experience for me. I almost never hear the birds, except when Suzette is there. We drove to Splendora and put a wreath on the tree that Garrett Hit. The track was closed due to rain and we had the place to ourselves, just the three of us. Suzette commented on how peaceful and pretty it is and she understands why Garrett hangs out there.

I stood and reflected on the accident and walked the sight line of Garrett’s last ride. I find it hard to understand why he was going so damn fast. I remain astonished at the distance he traveled and I wonder why? Split second decisions that were made and the result were “Garrett was 6 inches shy of missing the tree.” His line of sight was restricted and he could not see the tree behind the one he successfully missed. The injuries he sustained were massive. G_d was very merciful in minimizing his suffering!

It remains very hard for me to “engage” life again. Inside I am different – I hurt most of the time. Loosing a child profoundly changes a person in so many ways. It embeds an emptiness that steals your joy. I feel like Garrett is fine where he is now, but I long for that “sign from above” when Garrett lets me know that he is in fact O.K.! Life is so different now – I miss my Son!

October 12, 2003 – Sunday
It has been 55 weeks today. I wonder if the ‘weeks in my mind’ will ever go away. Recently I have been fortunate to get a reprieve from the anguish of grief. I was having real difficulty ‘engaging’ the events of the forthcoming coming Memorial Race, even though I am looking very forward to it. It is hard to explain and even more difficult for me to understand. I frequently ask myself “when should I just let my son be dead?” It is not like I do not live with the reality every day.

I am very excited about GMB2 as it has become known! I am pumped about the raffle of the 2004 YZ450F. It was just an idea I had coming home from work thinking about how our family could give something really neat back to the community whom has given us such tremendous support. I know how much Garrett loved his YZ450 and hopefully the winner of the “Ultimate Raffle” will appreciate the ‘hora’ associated with our intention. Oh well, it is time to take a ride at Splendora today with Shannon. I am so thankful for this temporary reprieve!

November 11, 2003 – Tuesday Evening
Fifty-nine weeks and two days! The past couple days have been rough. I keep reliving portions of the accident in my mind. Lately, my psychic has wandered back to the trauma room at Herman Hospital and those minutes with Shannon and hugging Garrett as he lie on the gurney. I keep going over ‘waiting’ for Suzette to arrive from Dallas and relive telling her all over again. I wonder if all this makes sense.

There is a part of me that hates living in this house. So much of the environment is still the same; except, my Son will never come home. The internal struggle during the difficult days is confusing. It is so damn hard to move forward. Life feels like a burden much of the time – it simply is not, nor will it ever be the same. The finality of death never felt this intense with the loss of my parents. G_d, this is hard to take. Negativity over runs me. No place to hide and no where to run! I detest the way I feel.

Life, I wonder now what is its purpose? The “lows” know no bottom. I hope the distance between ‘them’ keeps growing. For now it seems each day is just another 1440 minutes that ‘grind’ on whatever remains of what was and erode portions of “what is.” Anguish and grief have no boundary or conscious and remains “An Endless Journey!” G_d damn it I miss my Son!

November 27, 2003 – Thanksgiving Day
It has been 61 weeks and 4 days since Garrett died. We drove back from Dallas last night after visiting with Granny and Paw – Paw. We had a Thanksgiving meal with them. It was very good to see them. My kids have been fortunate to have such great paternal influences in their lives.

As I drove back in the darkness my thoughts dwelt on Garrett his life, but mostly his death. I looked at Suzette and she had that ‘stare in her eyes’ – I knew she was thinking about our son. I hate to say it but the pain remains so intense for me. At times it feels like I am “standing still” in a world that is passing me by and each time I attempt to ‘stand up’ I emotionally get knocked down. Each time it is harder and harder to get up. Inside, I battle with that part of me that wants to be lying next to my son. I must stop writing for now for there is no positive energy – damn it all!

December 8, 2003 – Monday
Last night both Suzette and I lay in bed and cried. She had a rough day and was really missing Garrett. I was on that “emotional verge” all day and her tears started mine. It has been 63 weeks and one day.

I was drawn to Garrett’s grave on Saturday and spent about an hour crying and talking with my son. I actually heard the ‘birds’ sings. It was a rather chilly day and I wore a jacket that Garrett would have liked – a Yamaha Racing jacket. I purchased the jacket and dedicated it to the memory of my son. As I sat at the grave my mind wandered from his birth to his death. I was remembering many of those “special moments” in my mind. I am trying to talk with Garrett more these days, but it remains hard – I seem to always end up in an emotional deluge. I cannot explain the pain that comes from looking down at your son’s head stone, seeing his picture and reading his name. My mind wandered as I remembered the words of my Grandpa as he stood by the casket of my Aunt Dorothy in 1974. He said, “I wish to G_d that the bullet had hit my head and not my arm and I was laying there and not her.” He stroked Aunt Dorothy’s cheek and fought back tears, I cried! Unfortunately, I know his pain!

I have had a diabetic sore on my left foot that has not healed for eight months. It developed from a blister and I cannot feel foot pain due to neuropathy, so I chose to ignore it. This fact combined with apathy – I suspect resulting from depression. I just pressed on. The end result was a “raging infection” that could have gotten into the bones of my foot. Had that happened, it would have been surgery, or worse. I have been off of work for four weeks now. The only way to heal it is to stay off of it. In retrospect, part of me just simply did not care – blatant and conscious defiance! I have not been like that in a long time, goes all the way back to my “thoughtless youth.” My wife is the one who finally made me see a specialist. Why is it that most men wait and then finally listen to their wives? Thank G_d for “soul mates.”

I dislike the “holiday season” and will be elated when they are over. Don’t get me wrong, I cherish the family time more now than ever before, but I find it hard to ‘enjoy’ them these days. No doubt it has to do with missing my son. I wonder if the ‘hole’ in my heart will ever mend. The commercialism existing sickens me. Many people subconsciously take their families for granted. If you are reading this now, make sure you ‘refocus’ on what is really important in life. Life can change in an instant. Make sure that you tell your children that you love them – it will be something that you will never regret!

Fortunately, I am feeling a bit of a reprieve from the negativity that was crippling me. I never would have believed that I can feel so damn depressed – and not see it coming, nor defeat it when it grips me. I hope this reprieve continues. This Holiday Season enjoy your family and hopefully I take my own advice!

December 28, 2003 – Sunday
It has been 66 weeks. A few days ago we had a family dinner at noon. The table was ‘set’ with the China we seldom use, but it looked real nice. Briefly I felt sort of a soothing feeling and then I saw only three place settings. Instinctively I set a place for Garrett. It felt better, but as I began to eat “it” sent me to the front yard in tears. The memories from all the years past came roaring back to the forefront of my mind and I broke. Heck it was only noon and I had already had two emotional deluges. The first was after I had showered and inadvertently glancing down at a box on the bedroom floor, my eyes focused on a picture of Garrett I had taken when he was a baby – it hit me like a ton of bricks. The enormity of our loss continues its haunting presence.

I haven’t ridden the YZ450F on a track since the end of October and I have the itch real bad. My foot is healing nicely from the wound. I am dying to go back to work. It is very difficult to be so “inactive” and stay off the foot. I managed to start the bike, heck after it was running; I had to ride it around the block – cast and all. It was just one of those things that had to be done. When I got home my wife said, “did that help?” My response, “I think so.” Come to think of it Garrett and I normally started the bikes and ripped around the block a couple of times on major holidays. I hope he was looking down and smiling.

I guess “all this” is normal. This past November was simply brutal and I remain very thankful for the ‘reprieve’ – hope it continues. The three of us went to a movie with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. It is a great movie and funny. Both their performances deserve an Oscar. The film was entitled “Something Has Got To Give.” It was worth the money and the movie is one that I will watch again.

Shannon went with some friends to Skull Creek to ride today. It is the first time I have let her take the bike without me. Needless to say we had one of the “Dads – Daughter” talks about responsibility and being careful. I trust the Dad whom is mentoring her today. It is a private riding place that encompasses 3000 acres. I know she will come home smiling, dirty and will have had a major time. It was sure tempting for me – I must make sure this foot heals. I will ride around the 10th of January.

January 1, 2004 – Thursday
The secular New Year of 2004 is here and hopefully America will remain free from terrorist attacks. Last night I sat in the garage and drank Crown Reserve on the rocks, smoked a decent cigar and gazed at Garrett and Matt’s bike. I remembered all the fun we had riding and the ‘fatherly’ talks. I remembered the wheelies Garrett became known for and the endless ‘roost’ from both of them. Mostly I remembered how much I enjoyed watching them mentally and physically develop into fine young men! For a while there, at least in my mind it seemed damn real. Unfortunately reality returned, as did the tears.

In the darkness I heard firecrackers, music, and laughter and saw some fireworks in the distant skies. No stars were visible and that caused some temporary irritation. I wanted to see the stars and to believe that Garrett was one of them. I thought of Matt and Marine Boot Camp and figured that he was probably thinking about home and Garrett. It was then that I decided to start the YZ450 at midnight! Reacting on instinct, I took a “spin” around the block providing the “Ultimate New Years Tune” – the crisp sound of a finely tuned Four Stroke playing the “Thunder Alley Boogie!” I saw some of the neighborhood kids running with me on the sidewalks, barely hearing their cheers as I rolled back the throttle and let the bike sing! What a way to “roll in the New Year” remembering my son and playing his ‘favorite tune!’

Suzette has been having a rough day today. We went to the cemetery and hung out for a while. Still hard for me to go there, but she needed me. I have been there a lot lately. Shannon came home tonight from another off-road dirt bike excursion. Friends of our family took her to Skull Creek again. They spent the night last night and rode all day. I don’t think I have ever seen Shannon so dirty and so happy. I am grateful that her mind was ‘occupied’ on something else. I will forever remember the smile on her face. She is definitely her Daddy’s girl and Garrett’s sister – whom I suspect, was looking down from above and smiling too.

I finally get to go back to work on Monday. I have been about to go stir crazy sitting around. I have been doing my best to make sure my foot healed as quickly as possible. I have about three more days just sitting around finalizing the healing of the wound. From now on I will need to make it a point to be more mindful of the condition of my feet. I am definitely ready to hit the ground running!

All things considered I feel relatively strong and very thankful for the emotional reprieve. Happy New Year all!

February 1, 2004 – Sunday
Well it has been 71 weeks today. Remarkably I am still feeling stronger, yet I miss my son so very much! Last night I sat on his bed looking around at the disarray, memorial T-shirts that remain, pictures, old computer parts, his hats, shoes even the blue jeans he wore that dreadful day. I broke into uncontrollable sobbing and tears – it still hurts so badly. My eyes drain as I type. Living with pain is now beginning to feel normal, yet it is still pain and it hurts! I know it will never leave, until I do.

Today is Superbowl 38 – and many await the second “Winner” of the 2004 Yamaha YZ450F raffled off to help Jakey McBride. It is an awesome cause and I am proud to have been a small part of it. I look forward to finding out the “winner” and notifying them with Mark McBride during half time of the game.

Today is also a day of “national remembering” the astronauts that perished in the Columbia disaster one year ago! I know one of the boys whom father was killed – pain still evident in his eyes. I hope they find comfort as the nation remembers today during the Superbowl 38 Festivities.

Yesterday I went to Texas Yamaha and just hung out for awhile, for nostalgic reasons. Texas Yamaha is the sole sponsor of the 2004 Houston Supercross, quite an honor and expense! I was asked to bring Garrett's 2003 Yamaha YZ450F to their V.I.P tent in the pit areas during Houston Supercross 2004! I must tell you I was humbled and blown away. Graciously I accepted. I am actually excited that Garrett’s bike will sit amongst the “best of the best” during Houston Supercross 2004! This is an unbelievably cool tribute to the memory of my Son. G_d I miss my Son!

February 10, 2004 – Tuesday
It has been 72 weeks and two days. I awoke this morning in tears remembering my son. It was not the emotional deluge that has become so familiar, but rather a ‘gentle’ flow, yet distinctly painful. It remains difficult to describe how it feels to miss someone in this manner! I never had these feelings when I lost my Mother and then my Father years later. It is simply different when you bury a child – it is definitely part of you that is forever gone in the physical realm. Thankfully, I feel stronger but ‘living with pain’ is beginning to feel normal. I now know that time does not heal all wounds, even with great memories this pain remains eternal.

I was talking with my Rabbi this past weekend and during our conversation he said something that “rang true” at the very core of my soul. He said, “I will buy you this book about the 23rd Psalm, there is part of it that is especially for you, a message is there.” In typical fashion I responded, “the valley of death, Right?” He said, “exactly, you must walk through it, not stay in it.” It was at this point that I realized I remain in the “valley overshadowed by death” and I have yet to travel through it! Seems so simple, yet so hard to do. All I have to do now is figure out how to climb out of the valley and learn to enjoy the new horizons. I have always said, “recognition of the problem is the first step to correction.”

I have often wondered, “when do you just let your Son be dead?” So many thoughts run through my mind. Garrett touched many people in his short life – he really made a difference! Now many folks want to keep having the Memorial Race every year. I am honored the desire exists to do this and the Memorial Race weekends are incredibly awesome. Great people getting together and sharing their hearts and celebrating the life of my Son. It is very humbling for me. Parts of it can be difficult because you re-live a portion of “that day” all over again. In reality I have relived a portion of “that day” everyday for the past 72 weeks and two days – no real reason for that to change. As long as people want to have the GMB Memorial Race weekend type event – we will. It is in all actuality for all of us.

The 23rd Psalm read: “Hashem is my shepherd, I shall not lack. 2 In lush meadows He lays me down, beside tranquil waters He leads me. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me on the paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake. 4 Though I walk in the valley overshadowed by death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in view of my tormentors. You anointed my head with oil, my cup over flows. 6 May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the House of Hashem for long days.”

This was my Mothers favorite Psalm. It was read at her funeral in 1979. It now has an enormous sense of meaning for me. “Though I walk in the valley overshadowed by death, I will fear no evil...” At this particular junction in my life I do not fear anything except “repeating” what I always feared...."The death of one's own child." Who says there cannot be hell on earth?

March 21, 2004 – Sunday
It has been 78 weeks today. The emptiness inside is so real and I hate it. I rode yesterday on a track for the first time since last October. The foot has finally healed. I lost any endurance I ever had and am sore from trying to hang on to the YZ450F. It felt good to ride again. Shannon had a big time too. She rode real well. I followed her for four or five laps. She sure is special.

Still trying to adjust to the partial vision loss in my right eye. It hinders just about everything I do, but it could have been worse. I remain amazed how people my age can make such poor decisions. The process of living with grief is challenging and can really screw up your psychic. The mind plays ‘tricks’ on you when you hurt so badly that you loose your luster for life. I wish I had not ignored my diabetes. I must remain healthy for Shannon. I have since become a work in progress, playing a game of catch up.

During my sleep I have been dreaming lately. Nothing I remember when I wake up and not the dreams I long for. I have dreamt of Garrett once since his death and I awoke crying because I knew he was dead and I could not be having that dream! Oh how I long for that dream again. Suzette has been having a rough time lately. I listen for her sleeping sounds in the darkness and often hear only silence. We both know each other are awake, yet we remain silent. We have learned that we can do absolutely nothing for each others pain; however, we remain “hand-cuffed” steadfast together as ‘soul mates!’ We miss our son!

March 28, 2004 – Sunday
Another week passes – 79 weeks now. I wonder how long the “weeks” will last. It feels normal to ‘hurt’ now and an awareness to ‘move on’ persists. I remain in the valley overshadowed by death, but at least I am moving away from its infinite depth that so unconsciously entrapped me.

I awoke this morning to replays in my head of the accident. The sounds, visual memories and the look on Garrett’s face when I removed his helmet, “Oh G_d not my son!” How I have come to hate this memory. I suspect the horror will never go away. The purpose of his death, if one exists remains elusive and the emptiness so real. I hurt today and I wish I did not. I realize that Garrett would want me to go on and be so strong, but some days remain hell on earth.

Yesterday Suzette told me that one of Garrett’s flowers bloomed in the back yard. It is called a Passionflower and is a vine that can have many blossoms. We even had a picture of this engraved by hand on the headstone. I went and looked at the blossoms for the first time. The plant has at least twenty little flowers ready to bloom. The little things now are so acute in our memory. I will check them later in the back yard and I suspect they will bloom. I wonder if this could be a sign from above, from Garrett that will comfort his mother. I hope so!

For the past few weeks I have been “eating right” so to speak. I have started a regular exercise program that feels like it is going to kill me. I am stunned at how out of conditioned I am. I need to loose about 50 pounds in all and I have already dropped about ten. I wonder if I will make it. I hope that I become ‘impassioned’ in this exercise routine, for that will make it much easier to continue. I am so damn sore that I can hardly walk when I first stand up. Shannon is trying to force me into joining one of these 24-hour Fitness places. She will be paying half the cost; she wants to joint too! Nothing like a little personal investment to establish actual desire!

May 2, 2004 – Sunday
In mid April I changed jobs, for the last time. This was a major blessing for my family and me. I took a position with an organization determined to grow in a variety of markets that thrives on technology. Most importantly the markets we serve are not mature and digressing, or outsourcing. I sell highly specialized products associated with colloidal silica in aqueous and organic solvents. This is literally the perfect job for me. It provides leading edge technologies, has all the technical and sales challenges imaginable and a long history of being a company that views their people as a valuable asset. It feels so good to “look forward to going to work – everyday!”

It has been 84 weeks. The pain remains acute and is never far away; however, I have discovered my focus on life has finally changed. The turning point for me was first to realize that I had been “stuck” in the valley over shadowed by death. Thanks Rabbi! I know this sounds strange, but I was “so close to the flame, I could not see past the campfire.” The reality still amazes me, how one can be so close, yet not see. Once I realized precisely where I stood in life, I had to develop, or find the desire to “go forward” with life – literally I had to make a conscious decision to “live, or I would die!”

Reflectively, I now understand that somehow I had given up on life. I simply wanted to “be with my son.” I do not believe this was a conscious decision on my part; but rather “a place that grief took me on the roller coaster ride that never stops and never ends.” Frankly, my body physically rebelled, eventually waking me up. For elusive reasons I “did not heed” the frequent warnings from Suzette and Shannon. As if I had been startled suddenly, I found myself literally in physical shambles and emotionally exhausted. I came very close to loosing my left foot by ignoring a wound that would not heal. Shortly there after, one morning I awoke only to discover a vision loss in the upper half of my right eye. Doctors confirmed a forty-percent permanent vision loss caused by ischemic optic neuropathy, resulting from uncontrolled diabetes. Talk about a reality check! I now know that when a person hurts so badly inside reasoning and logical thinking can vanish ever so subtly. Then, unknowingly the “dark clouds of depression” begin to devour your soul, one bite at a time. Its clever beginning goes unnoticed and then at a later time “some how” your consciousness becomes aware that you are being devoured, victimized as if encompassed by a feeding frenzy of ravenous piranha. I am very fortunate and grateful that my wife and daughter never “gave up” on me like I gave up on myself. I am so very sorry that I have hurt my “soul mate” and my very special daughter. Perhaps they can learn from my weakness. I am now committed to “living” and “being there” for both of them. I will honor the memory of my son!

Perhaps one day I will be given the privilege to help someone else that becomes entrapped by grief resulting from the death of his or her child. We must all “learn from” and “rise above” the adversities that cross our path in our journey of life, if not, we are destined to repeat them!

June 6, 2004 – Sunday
Much “reflection” as this day began. I awoke with thoughts of my son and “that day.” I also had smiles from the 16th Birthday celebration for Shannon. The three of us along with three of her friends went and floated the Comal; a beautiful spring fed river in central Texas. Shannon got to drive her ‘present’ – a bright red 2001 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Super Cab. This was truly the first real surprise her Mother and I were able to successfully “pull off!” The perfect truck for the perfect daughter! I believe the “Spirit of Garrett” exemplified and enhanced the circumstances leading to the purchase of this particular truck! I highly suspect that Shannon sensed this too! Baruch Hashem.

Today also brings the remembrance of the D-Day landing that took place 60 years ago. I remember hearing stories of “that day” from my Dad. He was there. Sadly, I believe much of America does not really appreciate the significance of what took place on June 6, 1944. I am amazed how the “passing of time” dilutes and by in large distorts those things documented in history. Many of these historical facts gradually become portrayed as ‘events’ that really did not matter much. I believe the affluent lifestyle Americans enjoy is taken for granted, expected as our right – rather than remembered and appreciated because of the personal sacrifices of our Nation’s Forefathers!

Individually, naturally we blissfully traverse through the “fields of life” and then tragedy strikes! National tragedy and personal tragedy profoundly changes you. Perhaps we should all reflect on “where we are” and stop and appreciate those things that are closest to us. I remember a discussion my Father and I had in 1979 about 6 weeks after my Mother died. After we both had consumed a couple of beers, my Dad somberly said, “Mike I wish the hell that I had taken the time to smell the roses with your Mother!” Thankfully I never forgot those words my Dad said. I took the time to “smell the roses” with my children.

In retrospect, I have had no regrets associated with a lack of parental involvement in the lives of my children. I miss my son in ways that are beyond words; yet thankfully I am learning to live with constant pain and deal with the emptiness that remains. I suspect the eternal void will persist as long as I draw breath. Thankfully, I have learned I still have much to live for! It has been 89 weeks!

June 24, 2004 – Garrett’s 19th Birthday, Thursday
I have felt much anxiety awaiting the arrival of this day. I guess that is because “this day” is one of “those days” that I naturally focus on thinking about my son! Hell, I think about my son everyday, but “today” I suspect will cause “painful memories” for those whom remain. It has been hard not to think back on Garrett’s life and how I enjoyed his birthdays and watching him grow. Now, I remember what was and wonder what could have been! There are times that I feel cheated inside – robbed of the memories I had always thought I would see! No parent should ever have to bury one of there children!

As “this day” had approached I had planned to work through it. Then, in my psychic I began to see “pain” in the eyes of my soul mate and decided it would be best if I just spent the day with her and do what ever you do when you both just want the day to be over. The Houston weather is rainy and wet; “perhaps my tears will go unnoticed!” It has been 91 weeks and 4 days!

Today I am thinking about last Sunday, Fathers Day 2004 and how “unique” it was. For the past couple years I have not looked forward to them. In the end this Fathers Day turned out to have a “very special twist!” One I will never forget. I had gone to Splendora to ride with Howard. Mr. B. was with me, but was not riding. It felt good to ride, but my heart was not really into it. My mind was wandering, or should I say remembering?

Late in the afternoon I watched three families that came together to the track, set up their own portable awnings and started a small barbecue pit. Each family had small children. I noticed one individual whom kept looking in my direction. I watched this man stare at the ground as he walked toward me. He extended his hand and introduced himself. I had wanted to meet this man again, but had no way of knowing how to contact him. You see I have wanted to personally thank him for helping me on September 22, 2002. He is the man who helped me perform CPR on my son. I was giving Garrett ‘mouth to mouth’ recitation and he performed the chest compressions – as we desperately tried to save my son. His name is Jaron LeBlue and he and his family live in Deer Park, Texas. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Jaron’s life changed that day too! Jaron also had a desire to “talk with me.” Needless to say it was a very emotional time and I thanked him. I mean, “how do you really thank someone for trying to help save your son’s life?”

After I had hugged him it came to me. I asked him if he would like to take a few laps on Garrett’s YZ450F. The very bike Garrett died trying to save. His response was, “Yeah I would really like that.” I cried as I watched him ride Garrett’s bike those few laps. He was fast and smooth as he rode. As I watched Jaron ride I got that “feeling” deep inside that Garrett was riding with him! To this very day, this is the exact “feeling” that infrequently happens to me, yet remains indescribable and unforgettable! The pursuit of “riding with Garrett” is exactly why I continue to ride. Thankfully and appreciatively G_d continues to work in “mysterious ways!” Baruch Hashem.

July 17, 2004 – Saturday
It has been 96 weeks and 6 days since Garrett’s death. The memories are still so vivid and the pain intense. These days I am moving ‘forward’ through the valley overshadowed by death. I doubt that one ever “truly” leaves the valley over shadowed by the death of a child. At times it is a real challenge to put one-foot in front of the other. In your mind “those never ending, reoccurring thoughts” – it is like a ‘flashback’ in an instant you can go from the ‘here and now’ back to that day. Those “little things” I would not normally think of ‘trigger’ thoughts of the past. I cannot even begin to describe how much I miss my son! Thankfully, I still have Shannon, that in it self will sustain me! She is so “special.”

It remains extremely difficult to watch my “soul mate” endure the reality of Garrett’s death. A mother mourns differently than a father. Neither is easy, just different and explaining the difference remains an illusive reality. It feels so helpless not being able to do anything to lessen her pain. Women have a “toughness” not realized by men until we witness their birthing process and unfortunately witnessed again after experiencing the death of ones child! Hell, I am going to the gym – perhaps the exercise will help the psychic improve! I have been thinking about going to his grave, but tend to resist because it remains a gut wrenching emotional reality.

Mission accomplished I had a good work out today, but I decided not to go to the grave. I thought about my son as I exercised. The process of getting back in shape has been interesting and it actually feels good. I did the usual cardiovascular routine, threw the weights around and spent about twenty minutes in the steam room. I wish I had begun this process earlier, rather than wait until it became a necessity. One thing is for sure all this helps with my endurance on the YZ450F.

I am going to ride tomorrow with Howard and Dave at Rio Bravo. Rio is an old track with a long history in Houston. Garrett and I rode there many times. This will be the first time I have ridden there since he died. I hope the track is found in decent shape.

August 22, 2004 – Sunday Evening (Late)
It has been 102 weeks today. The weeks keep moving on and all too often my mind returns to “that day.” It does not feel like a conscious thing, but just simply happens out of nowhere. Over and over again “that whole day” replays in my mind. I recently found myself at his funeral again. The pain so real, the events ran together and “portions of the things” that I said echo in my head. Many of the words I spoke at his funeral remain elusive to my conscious. Part of me wants to remember the other part wishes I could forget. I actually wish I could remember the things I said. The portions that I have sporadic memory of, I was speaking about G_d.

Shannon started school this past week. A real “cool thing” happened that just blew me away, actually it made me cry. Shannon took Engineering Graphics this year. Her teacher this year is the same teacher that taught the same class to Garrett four years ago. This teacher came to Garrett’s funeral and spoke about his fondest memories of Garrett. He remembered Garrett was an “A” student and that he always had to take “Motocross Madness 2” off of Garrett’s computer. Garrett would finish his work and then install and play MM2 in class. This happened three or four times over the course of each semester. Garrett finally hide MM2 in files that went undetected until after his death!

Back to the story, a Memorial Poster of Garrett riding hangs on one of the walls in his classroom. The first two days of class students just went in and sat wherever they wanted. On the third day the teacher assigned seats. Assigned seats are necessary to keep the same student on the same computer, in case some mischief happens to the computer. The teacher asked Shannon if the poster bothered her and she said no and that she has pictures of Garrett all over her bedroom. The teacher said to her, “remember where you sat the first two days in class?” Shannon responded, “yes I wish I could still sit there.” The teacher said, “that is where Garrett sat when he took this class.” Initially, Shannon had unknowingly picked and sat in the same chair that her brother sat in! Absolutely no way that this was a coincidence. This experience seems to have had a favorable impact on Shannon’s psychic. Talk about a “sign” from above!

I have not ridden in a few weeks. Even thought riding is not the same anymore I have a real desire to ride again. I have actually had the “itch” for at least two weeks. I remain focused on exercising and getting my body in shape. The blood sugar levels remain well in control. I also think about my son allot as I wander in this valley over shadowed by death!

August 29, 2004 – Sunday
Well, it has been 103 seven-day periods since Garrett died. I cannot believe that I have not seen my son in almost two years! This has been a dominant thought as September 22 approaches. I simply want this day behind me. The pain remains very real and sadly the numbness is now beginning to feel normal. I am learning to live with “this hole in my heart!” Oh how I wish things were normal again, but that will never be.

Young people continue to give little thought to the “decisions” they make that can and do change the lives of their loved ones and friends forever! Yesterday Shannon went to the funeral of a young girl whom was killed when a car she was riding in hit a tree during a drag race gone array. Suzette went with Shannon to the funeral because she did not want Shannon to go alone. Another incredible example of the “Love of a Mother!” I am incapable of attending a funeral for another young person just yet. My wounds remain too deep! I feel for the parents whom now begin this “journey” that never ends. Mourning the loss of a child is simply something a parent must endure when they loose a child. There is no “right way” or “wrong way,” nor is there an easy way through it. Perhaps, at the right time I will have the privilege of encouraging them to begin “moving” through the valley overshadowed by death.

It seems that I remain a fraction of a second away from an “emotional deluge.” It is hard to explain these feelings that I myself do not understand. I am reminded of the time when I was searching for words that explained how I “felt inside” after his death. The words of Neal Peart remain so true, “Phantom Pain hurting for a piece of you that has been TORN away!”

Fortunately, there has been some “relief,” or should I say that I am adapting to living with the pain. It seems like these feeling have become more intensified as I approach the second anniversary and the reality of the years to come. G_d, I miss my son!

September 22, 2004 – Wednesday
Two years ago this date my world changed forever. Living with the pain remains challenging. To a certain extent, I have become accustomed to this “feeling” that is hated by all that know its wrath. It has been difficult the past two evenings as this date approached. My sleep has been very much interrupted by a “restlessness that has no end.”

The arrival of September 22 forces me to “reflect on the life and the death of Garrett.” I am remembering the good memories and those “special moments” between a Dad and Son. Thankfully there were many “special moments” between Garrett and me. Reflection occurs daily, but as this date approached it seems as though I had to “re-live” all aspects of that day again. It is weird how the mind can be so damn controlling. To no avail I intentionally try to ‘distract’ my thoughts and focus on something else.

Invariably I am remembering that day two years ago, reliving the whole damn series of events. In my mind I vividly see the track, the tree, remember removing his helmet and looking into his eyes and knowing, listening to what became his last words, remembering my last words and eventually giving my son mouth to mouth recitation. I agonize over the feeling of watching helplessly and knew he was dying. The Trauma Center experience and “officially hearing” that Garrett was dead, watching Shannon and the pain of “waiting” to tell Suzette that “Garrett didn’t make it!” She was flying to Houston from a convention in Dallas that day.

I am not sure why we humans tend to remember the painful moments in life, rather than the joyous moments. The joyful experiences “fade into the contentment of our heart,” but painful experiences destroy the “tenderest portion of our heart – the part that loves and can never heal!”

November 28, 2004 – Sunday
Many things have happened since I last wrote. This year the third annual GMB Memorial race went off flawlessly and was completely awesome. I believe it was the best one yet! So many people came from so many places. It remains an incredible experience to finally meet someone whom you have corresponded with in cyberspace, yet never met. Once again meeting with those people initially “brought together” by the death of my son remains a very humbling, yet rewarding experience.

I saw Matt this past Friday while he was home on leave. He looks so different. He appears taller, has a distinct whisker base and displays much confidence. Occasionally, that smile and light in his eye is seen as he speaks about certain aspects of being a Marine. He is no longer a boy, but a damn fine man. Matt has orders to go to Iraq between January and February 2005. I spoke with him as if he was my own son. We discussed those painful type experiences that change a person forever, yet can make us better people in the end. He gave me the privilege of speaking with him about those things that may lie ahead and to provide heartfelt thoughts on the importance of maintaining a focused positive mental attitude.

This past November 18th I spent the night in Rochester, New York on business. That evening while sleeping I experienced a “dream” that was awesome, yet painful. This is only the second dream I remember having about Garrett since his death – 116 weeks ago! I am told that people dream every night while sleeping, but most of the times have no memory of their dreams.

I dreamt of experiences with Garrett. There were those special moments between a Dad and son. The looks and expressions on his face were so real and vivid. Seeing his smiles again was awesome. Our conversations were so real. I remembered the first time that Garrett beat me in Chess, how he ran outside to tell his Mom – his excitement! Part of me was pissed and the other part of me was excited because he earned the victory! Thankfully, Garrett never saw my frustration, but only my excitement for him. I remembered talking with him at one of his football games and providing encouragement. I found myself behind the backstop and watched as he threw a kid out at second base. I remember how excited I was and how irritated his Mom was because I was so loud. I saw Garrett’s smile through the catcher’s mask! I reflected on moving from our older home into a new home. We moved a bunch of stuff into a couple of storage units. It was then that I realized he was a young man and no longer a boy. He moved furniture with me as if he was a grown man. I remembered a particular ride in the National forest and our talk about girls, G_d, life, making decisions and my apologies for not being a better dad. Lastly, I remember him hugging me – damn it felt so real! Comforting yet painful. I could not let go and I kept squeezing him. I heard him say, “I love you Dad.” I then awoke in a deluge of tears. Talk about mixed feelings. I wanted so desperately to return to the dream. Thankfully life goes on, but the pain remains internally embedded.

January 16, 2005 – Sunday
It has been 123 weeks. During the past six weeks my mind has wandered back and forth in a restless manner. There have been a few “brutally emotional days” the kind that ravages your psychic and you erupt inside like a subsurface oceanic volcano; somehow you appear on the other side mentally drained. Perhaps it was the anxiety of the secular holiday season that provides all the family time enabling past memories to surface and magnify the “reality of our loss.” A ‘distinct absence’ remains and never leaves even though the three of us know exactly how special our time together now is.

Recently I have refrained from writing down my thoughts. I am not sure why, but I have wondered when do you stop? It has never been my intent to draw attention to myself or create a public perception for the purpose of self edification. I guess I just thought it was time to stop. During this time my thoughts and feelings continue. My restlessness swells inside as I ponder a mechanism of release. My desire to write intensifies the longer I refrain. My thoughts come at the strangest times and I try to internalize them away. Writing seems to be the only way to vent the feelings of my heart.

I recently saw Matt again. We had a couple beers and some whisky. The next time I see him he will be on leave immediately prior to going to Iraq. I am very proud of him and his many accomplishments. He is a damn fine Marine! I detest the reality of where he is going and inside I feel that our involvement in Iraq is another “Viet Nam” situation. I resent how our government is completely mishandling the situation, playing political games with the lives of our soldiers.

I rode yesterday for the first time since the third memorial race. Some people from ATM came to Houston and we got together, ate, laughed, talked and rode in Splendora. I savor the feeling that results from the power of a big four stroke and I love its sound echoing through woods, but riding is not the same for me these days. Perhaps I am still ‘rebounding’ from my recent funk. I remain amazed by the experience of getting together and witnessing the “bonding of hearts” existing between people drawn together through Garrett’s life and death. It remains very humbling for me, after all I am simply a dad who lost his son and somehow chose to openly share my heart. Nothing more!

March 5, 2005 - Saturday [Shabbat]
For some reason the past eight weeks have been very difficult, down right brutal upon occasion. I find this perplexing because at times I feel stronger, moving forward and them bam – knocked down painfully hard. Inside I resist vocalizing my feelings because they always seem so negative. Negativity tends to promote, or encourage negativity. I detest being negative. I wonder if ‘pain’ and ‘negativity’ are the same, or do they act synergistically. No doubt they are synergistic!

Recently, I became entrenched in another deep biblical study about “Who is Eloheyneu?” For me, this is very relaxing and temporarily highly addictive. These studies seem to bring about some comfort and internal peace that help me overcome the constant reminder of pain. Strangely enough, I still find it hard to pray, not because I am angry at G_d but often times it feels like much of ‘life’s joy’ is gone. No! I do not believe that it is just an “attitude thing” either. Life remains an adjustment process that appears to be considerably influenced by the “Final Day” thoughts that appear from nowhere. Daily they arrive! In simple terms it feels like I have lost a “major” physical portion of my body and life is now completely different than it was before Garrett’s death. Pain constantly probes at the inner most being and serves as a brutal reminder. I wish I could find a psychologist who has lost a child! I remain convinced that for a person to truly understand living with the ‘loss of a child’ one must have ‘lost a child’ and that is something I would never wish on anyone!

Matt is now in Iraq he left eight days ago. That was very tough for the three of us. I can only imagine how Matt’s Mom feels. I have found myself praying for his safe return and that his family finds strength and comfort. Perhaps this will help me too. I remain very proud of Matt. He is focused, well trained, passionate for his job and is proud to be a Marine! Matt is also in love. I would hope that this fact serves as a strong motivator to help him return home soundly and safely in mind and body. I too think of Matt daily! I remain highly frustrated that the American government handicaps our soldiers in harms way, especially the Marines. I will remember this come election time!

This past Sunday I had a fantastic time with Shannon. The two of us took her Toyota Tacoma out ‘mudding.’ She is becoming very adept at selecting and navigating through the most challenging areas one can imagine taking a 4x4. She smiled and laughed the whole way through each and every obstacle. As I bounced around inside the cab of her truck, her smiles and laughter truly warmed my heart. I haven’t seen that amount of joy in Shannon in a very long time.

She had her braces removed and she looks much older. Just what every father wants for his sixteen year old daughter – not. She sure is a pretty and more important she is beautiful on the inside! From time to time we have those special “father – daughter” talks. She is making good decisions in a very difficult ‘High School’ world. I am very proud of her and, for the most part confident in her decision making capabilities. For me, the challenges are knowing when to “loosening the reins” and allow her to experience more of life. As expected at this age, her challenge is separating the “heart from the mind!” She remains one incredibly special girl and I am very proud of her.

June 11, 2005 – Saturday
Recently I returned from a 4,700 mile drive across seven western states with Shannon. I am grateful that Suzette did not mind the fact that “Dad and Daughter” took a ‘road trip!’ She turned 17 on the day we returned home. We took our dirt bikes put them in the back of my new Tacoma and drove to the WCTTR in Forresthill, California. It was awesome to meet some folks that I have seen and/or met on the internet. In a weird sort of way this was sort of a “closure,” more specifically Garrett would have wanted to make this run to the WCTTR if he were still alive. He would have done it in a Tacoma too. I know it sounds weird. It is simply something I wanted to do deep inside. I learned much about Shannon and she learned too much about my “youthful days” – the result of hooking up with an ole friend known as “Bones.” I am confident that this trip will remain the highlight of my life.

Garrett’s twentieth birthday will be on June 24. This date seems to be ‘flashing’ in and out of my psychic as it approaches. Thankfully “life without my son” continues for I have much to do yet. The reminders of him surface daily and I find myself back somewhere on that “Final Day!” I hate most of the memories of that day, but remain thankful that the last words he heard were mine. His last words were, “Dad it hurts!” They still echo in my head. Hell, I guess “Fathers Day” is coming too – damn that day is painful.

Once again I have resisted writing my thoughts down. If I were to do it sooner perhaps they may be more positive. I guess it is those quiet moments, the ones when I reflect back. My mind simply goes back to my son. Damn I miss him. It is harder to ride these days and I am not sure why. I imagine I will ride a couple times this month in Splendora. It has been 143 weeks and 6 days.

July 16, 2005 – Saturday [Shabbat]
It has been 148 seven day periods and 6 days since Garrett died. I remember when my Rabbi said that I must “walk through the valley overshadowed by death, not stay in it.” I think of these words often because I know how important it is that I keep moving through this valley. My memories from the “Final Day” go hand in hand with the acute awareness of the darkness of depression. In fact, my memory of being depressed literally scares the hell out of me. These memories motivate me to keep moving, albeit ever so slowly. Perhaps the darkness of depression is like personal memories from combat, all of them are horrible and a person must simply learn to live with them. Memories of that “Final Day” continue to surface daily. I hate them all.

An interesting event happened this past May, but first a bit of history. Garrett had a favorite flower he first discovered at a friend’s house when he was in Junior High school. Garrett came home all excited and described the flower to Suzette. Suzette called Ryan’s mom and found out the flower was a Passion flower. We actually had a Passion flower hand engraved on Garrett’s side of the family headstone. In fact, Suzette planted a Passion flower at the grave a couple of years ago; it continues to bloom to this day.

As previously mentioned I have always wanted a “sign” from the heavenly realm that Garrett is O.K. I suspect this desire is normal for parents who bury a child. I continue to have a very strong belief in the G_d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and yet inside I long to see Garrett again. On May 14, 2005 an interesting thing happened. I was missing Garrett, crying and working on his bike in the garage. Nothing major simply changing the oil, lubing the chain, but mostly just crying. Suzette knew I was having a rough day. She came into the garage and pointed to something and said, “Mike do you know what this is?” I looked and to my surprise there was a Passion flower actually growing inside of the garage. It was about four feet in height and was growing on the air compressor Garrett bought to work on his bike! I said, “Yeh, that’s a Passion flower” and I began to cry uncontrollably. Suzette laughing said, “If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is!” We went outside and determined that the flower actually grew under the concrete patio a distance of about six feet and into the garage. Suzette said, “I guess Garrett will do anything to get back into the garage!” It took me about a week before I could talk about this without crying. The fleshly side of me is not sure exactly what to make of this, but inside I believe it was Garrett trying to show me “something.” The remnant of the flower remains today around the air compressor in Garrett’s favorite place, out in the garage hanging out by his bike!

This past Fathers Day was tough, as was getting through Garrett’s 20th birthday. I guess that these days are designed to make a dad focus on being remembered and remembering. The positive side of missing my son on these days was that I received two cards that were very special. They made me cry then and still do today. For some reason I feel they are the most heart felt cards I have ever received. I miss my son and I hurt inside.

October 23, 2005 – Sunday [Sukkot, 5766 – Day Six]
Thankfully I have received a “slight reprieve” from daily re-living a portion of Sunday, September 22, 2002. Thoughts of Garrett are still my first and last thought every day. Daily occurrences take me back to his life and not just that “Final Day.” This morning I dreamt of receiving and giving Garrett a hug and a kiss on his cheek, telling him that I love him. I awoke crying and wishing it was not true and yet thankful that I “felt his hug.” Once again, I wept uncontrollably, crying out loud. Fortunately Suzette was in the kitchen. I try and ‘hide’ these emotional deluges from Suzette and Shannon. Perhaps all three of us do. Prior to Garrett’s death I never cried uncontrollably, even when I buried my parents. I have learned that many tears remain and regularly those single tears roll down my cheeks.

It feels strange, but I find myself angry and resentful of the things and events I will never see in Garrett’s life. I will not seem him marry, have children and experience seeing him be a Dad. That hurts! I would like to think that he would be a great Dad, but I will never have the privilege of seeing it. I know life is not fair, but this reality hurts at the deepest level imaginable. I will never experience him being more successful than whatever level of success I achieve in life. G_d I hope all my pain and the reality of my existence helps parents stay focused on what is really important in life! I know I appear strong at times, but there are those times I wish I could roll up in the fetal position and go back in time. What a great world it would be if no parent ever had to bury one of their children again! It has been 163 seven day periods since Garrett died and yet I am so, so thankful that I have Shannon. She is the apple of my eyes and the driving force for me to move on!

November 6, 2005 – Sunday
I have been feeling weird lately, not so much physically but mentally. I feel recklessly rebellious. I am aware of what is missing in life and I fully know it will never be what it was. The house serves as a constant reminder of what was, yet I know the reality of what is! I look at Garrett’s bike and inside I ask myself, “What am I going to do with that?” Riding is not the same, hell nothing is the same. I don’t know if it is the ‘moving forward’ reality of life or what. I just do not like life as it is and I know there is nothing I can do about that. I really, really miss Garrett. There are many times that I feel strong inside, yet I resent the fact that the “what is” has, or will replace the “what was!” The “what is” hurts and is a constant reminder of the “what was.” Hell, I am not sure any of these thoughts makes sense. It seems like I am always on the verge of an emotional deluge. My tears constantly sit at the edge of my eyes. I suspect that Garrett would want me to move forward and get on with “what is,” but I wonder when or if the “what is” can replace the “what was!” Is it like this for everyone who has a child killed? I feel like I am treading water in the ocean of life with no land in sight.

May 14, 2006 – Sunday [Mothers Day]
It has been 192 seven day periods since Garrett died and many times it still feels like yesterday. I still hurt real bad inside. For some reason “I long to see him, just one more hug.” I feel like I never had the chance to say “good bye” – hell, I do not think I could have done that anyway. How could a parent ever say “good bye” forever to their child? I fully know the reality of things but, as I’ve written before “As I think of times now past, I ponder why the painful last.”

Today is Mothers Day and I force myself to not say “Happy Mothers Day” to Suzette, because it is not! Rightfully, this is a day that Mothers are honored and they should be, but the other side of this day for a Mom who has buried a child is painful. It serves as a constant reminder of what was. This day harbors pain and loss visible in the eyes of a Mom who remembers.

I am now aware of another facet of the grieving process, that of a young girl, now a young woman and how loosing her big brother impacted her. Not until recently did I become capable of understanding how this loss has changed her life. G_d I wish I would have been capable of seeing and truly understanding how this affected her. For the longest time I was emotionally distraught, unknowingly trapped in the “valley over shadowed by death.” I was not capable of functioning – it was literally all I could do to stay alive and even that was not my conscious intention. I can only imagine how she felt seeing me cry daily, my face changing forever and the blank emptiness of my eyes. In retrospect she tried to be so strong and by and large emotionless around me. I wonder if she wondered if I would make it through it all. Did I cause her to fear for my survival? Painful questions for me. I now know the depth of Shannon’s strength and I know how this can eventually help her as she moves further into adulthood. I also know the depth of her pain and that some how she must transform her pain into a positive energy force in her life. I regret and I am so very sorry for not being able to focus on her and comfort her in the time of her greatest loss. I love Shannon so much and to realize that I was “not there” for her when she needed me the most is a very painful memory. This fact still haunts me. Fortunately, during this time of my ineptness and period of unintentional self destruction Suzette was there for Shannon. Some how Suzette realized and mustered up the strength and was the “glue” that held the three of us together. In the time of our greatest trial and the most unimaginable pain she rose to the challenge, doing that which I could not even see. Perhaps one day in the future I will be able to say, “Happy Mothers Day” to her. These are my thoughts this day and how I remember one very, very special mom my wife Suzette.

June 15, 2006 - Thursday
It has been 196 weeks and four days. I dislike this time of year. Fathers Day is coming and I hate that day. It is a day that I should like, but its approach results in a natural focus on Garrett. I am at a loss to express the pain that results from a broken heart. I know I have so much to be thankful for and I really am thankful – but I still hurt. Folks say that I will probably always hurt, which is true. Saying that and living with it are very different. I just miss him so badly I cannot even begin to express it.

Right after Fathers Day will come Garrett’s 21st birthday. He was born June 24, 1985 at 8:18 PM. His birthdays have always been real rough since he died. This one would have been his 21st. The 21st birthday has always been special. I turned 21 while I was overseas in the Army. I turned 30 in Canada and I turned 50 drinking Crown and thinking about my son. I am going to drink some Crown Reserve on the 24th and think of him. These are simply two days that I would just like to be able to sleep through and wake up “on the other side.”

Lately I have been angry with Garrett. To my memory this is a first. I am pissed that he died as a result of his unintentional actions. The pain that those who love him deal with daily is brutally cruel. I know it was an accident and that he did not mean to die, but it still pisses me off. I hurt and I miss him. For example, last night Howard called me. I did not recognize his voice and asked who it was. Howard responded, “Who do you think it is?” Thinking it was a prank call or a damn salesman I became visibly and vocally agitated. Instantly I became ready to “go for the throat.” I apologized to Howard, but he knew from the tone of my voice. This time of year simply hurts. I remain emotionally “on the edge.”

August 27, 2006 – Sunday
Below were my “thoughts” on Saturday, June 24, 2006, Garrett’s 21st Birthday. As if I were being stalked, the coming of this day haunted me. I am not sure why I felt this way, but I did. I wrote these words, crying and feeling totally helpless:

“Today….today Garrett would have been 21. I remember his birth like it was yesterday, so vivid and real. I remember Suzette as the labor was long. He was premature by 6 weeks. His beginning in this life was a rough one. What an incredible day this was 21 years ago. Today….today I remember what was and try to deal with what is. It was 197 weeks and 6 days ago that he died. He was my son, my friend, my riding partner and I remain so very proud of him – today I hurt real bad inside.

You see I would have had a beer with him today and told him how proud I am of him and that he had made very good decisions in his life. I would have talked with him about the day he was born and how I felt, how I acted. I would have hugged him at least a couple of times. I would have made him smile and give me that “special look” that only he gave. This is a day that every parent looks forward to, when their kids become an “official adult” – that 21st Birthday. It is almost as if it is a right of passage.

Today…..today I will have that beer with him, but it will be at his grave site. I will cry and tell him how proud I am of him, wishing I had that hug and hopefully I visualize that “special look.” I will tell him about the impact he left in the motocross community and how proud I am of his legacy. I will also tell him that I wish he was still here. Today I remember my son Garrett M. Berg the finest son a man could have asked for.

"Godspeed Garrett - may you rest in eternal peace!"


I still cry when I read these words, just as I do when I read “The Letter.” This day, while bitter sweet did have an act of real kindness to it. I was trying to “mentally prepare” myself to go to Garrett’s grave when I heard a knock on the front door. With tears in my eyes I answered the door. It was two of Shannon’s friends who knowing that it was Garrett’s 21 Birthday came by to visit me. It was Sam and Miles trying to cheer me up. We talked about three hours. I would be proud to call Sam and Miles my own. They are focused and making good life decisions. When they left I took some beer and went to the grave. When I went to bed that night, I felt completely and totally exhausted. Thinking back I believe that the month of June is tougher on me than the month of September – the month he died. I feel better now and I am looking forward to the forthcoming Garrett Berg “Remembering Those Who Rode” Memorial Race. It has been 207 weeks since Garrett died.

February 9, 2007 – Friday
It has been 230 weeks and 5 days since Garrett died. Not that I am counting, just remembering. For a couple of months now I have resisted writing. I am not sure why, but I just have. I have been struggling inside. Do not get me wrong I am thankful for so much. I have a great family and a job that I really, really enjoy. I work with great people. I feel like I am not “engaging life” but that I simply just exist in life. I struggle to learn how, or if I can re-engage life in a manner similar to how I did before. When I lost my parents, eventually I was able to move on and re-engage life. This time, this time it is not the same. There simply remains a major part of me that is gone forever. While I accept it and I understand it, the difficulty of living with it remains. I feel blown apart and that I am still trying to pick up the pieces.

Life is now a journey where I walk along side of the valley overshadowed by death located on my right side and life located on my left side. I have an acute awareness of the valley overshadowed by death and I remember what life felt like. I still slip into the darkness of the valley overshadowed by death, but when I do, I immediately jump up and leave. It is as if I scurry back up to the edge between the valley overshadowed by death and life. The valley is dark and relentless. It seems like I can never get away from life along the edge. It haunts me like a hungry wolf stalking its next meal. Once again I am re-living the accident in my mind. My mind is blown around like a feather in a wind storm of events that remains burned into my memory. At night I find myself listening for the sounds of my wife sleeping. Sometimes I hear them, sometimes I don’t. I wonder if she is awake too!

I have asked myself if this normal or is it just me? I continue to move in the scope of life but the differences now, they never leave. The emptiness never completely leaves either. I continue to struggle to move farther and farther away from the “edge.” I wonder if it will ever go away.

April 5, 2008 – Saturday
It has been 289 weeks and six days since Garrett died. I recently read a post on ATM that for one dad it had been seven years and it “feels like seconds” since his son had died. I can so relate to this feeling. In fact, it brought me a “feeling of ease” because I too often feel like it was just yesterday that Garrett died. It is nice for me to know that I am not alone in how I feel and that another dad feels the same way. I often wonder if what I feel and how I feel are normal, or if there is something wrong with me.

Much has happened since the last time I wrote my thoughts down. Many good and positive things, yet the struggles continue inside. At times it is so difficult to “deal with the pain” that remains and the memories that surface. The emptiness is so real and moving forward can be so difficult. The smallest of events can happen and I am “right back” to where all this horror and pain started. Those people who know me well see and sense my feelings. There are times I am unaware of my anxiety and how it may show to others. This life experience that produces these feelings and emotions is without question the “damnest thing” I have ever experienced. I so wish that other parents would never have to feel this way.

I watch as the “List – Remembering Those Who Rode” grows. It is as if a “thief in the night” strikes and flees and there are no witnesses – only the devastation remains. I am thankful that so many people support and embrace people who lose a child. There love and support is so helpful to us. I pray often that those who are not members of this “club that needs no new members, parents who lose a child” ever know the pain that comes from a loss like this. My heart bleeds for those families whose children, dads, moms, brothers and sisters names that end up on the “List.” May we always care enough to remember!

April 24, 2009 – Friday
Well it has been 344 weeks and five days since Garrett died. Not sure why I continue to remember the weeks since his death. I still think about him every day. I do not dwell on it, but is surfaces first and last thing every day and often during the day. I miss him beyond description, yet thankfully life goes on. It is hard to cry these days. At times when I visit the grave there are simply no tears, other times there is a deluge yet I am learning to live with the pain and move forward and away from the valley overshadowed by death. I am so thankfully for that. This excruciating journey and experience has shown me much, most of it in retrospect as I continue to try and learn from my mistakes and experience. I will continue to try and help other parents who end up in this “club that needs no new members.”

Recently, a high school friend of mine and his wife who I also went to high school with lost their twenty-four year old daughter Katie. To my recollection this is the first time since Garrett died that I have been ‘close’ to someone who lost a child. Even though we went separate ways since the high school years, I have always maintained an admiration for Mike and Kay. Mike and I will forever have a close bond. The times I have spoken with Mike were “gut wrenching” for both of us. How I wish I could take the pain from him. I really do. I know the struggles, confusion and the roads he will travel. I hope I can help him know he is not alone and that others truly care.

Well I bought a street bike about ten weeks ago. I wish I had done it earlier. It has really brought a new purpose into my life. I ride and it brings upon a peaceful and tranquil feeling that is very difficult to describe. Somehow it just makes things easier. Do not get me wrong, street riding requires much attention and awareness in the Houston area, but out in the country it is an amazing experience each and every time. I have just over 5,670 miles on it already. It is a 2009 Yamaha Raider S. As the saying goes, “it is 113 cubic inches of attitude.” I put one of the original “Motoman 393 God Speed” stickers on the license plate. I am fairly confident that Garrett would approve, I know he would understand why I ride. I often wonder if one day I will feel his presence when I ride like I did on his YZ450F. Man that was an awesome feeling. Time will tell. Man do I love riding this bike! It gives a whole new meaning to “therapy for the soul.”

Suzette is not real happy about my decision to ride, but I tried my best to explain it to her. I hope she grows to understand my ‘reasoning” as time goes on. I doubt she will ever agree with me. Shannon does not like it either. Perhaps she will understand my perspective one day. I know why they both feel like they do. I thought about it long and hard before I bought it, but for me it was something that I literally had to do. I believe it took me to the “next level” in moving on in life. It seemed like all I did was sit and wait for Monday so I could go to work. It is hard to explain, but those who ride, or rode may just understand.

September 17, 2009 – Thursday
It has been 365 weeks and 4 days since Garrett died. That’s 2,559 days! It often feels like yesterday and at other times it feels so distant. The 7 year date of Garrett’s death is fast approaching and those memories are now taunting me. I wish “this day” would just pass me by. It is not possible to not “revisit that day” on that day each and every year. While life moves on and I am thankful for that, the vividness of that “Final Day” and the reality remain. I miss my son and I ache for that which is no more, or will it ever be again! Do not get me wrong, I cherish that which I do have for Suzette and Shannon are my life!

Selfishly, on that day this year I will ride and then ride some more. It is the first year since his death that I have the opportunity to ride a motorcycle out of town through G_ds country! By day’s end I hope to have ridden about 700 miles from Houston through the Hill Country of Texas and back home. I will go to that part of Texas which gives me so much comfort, joy and solace. The evidence of G_ds Creation is everywhere and to me, the scenery is panoramic and breathtaking. I wonder if I will sense the presence of Garrett. I dearly hope so, for it has been so long. When my head touches the pillow after this ride, I hope to be immediately asleep. No thoughts, no stress and no painful memories I just want the day gone.

August 17, 2010 – Tuesday
I was in California this past weekend visiting a friend and I met his youngest son. We all went to a pro-football pre-season game in San Diego. It was an awesome time and it was great to see my ole friend Ernie again. I called Suzette on Sunday morning to check in before I flew home. Immediately, I sensed something seriously wrong on the phone. My heart raced and pounded as excitedly I asked, “What’s wrong, what’s wrong? Is Shannon O.K.?” Sobbingly and almost indistinguishable over the phone Suzette said, “Maggie is gone! It is like losing Garrett all over again!” My heart sank as I heard these words, for the pain and memories came rushing back. This was the dog that was extremely close with Garrett and both of us had “hung on to her” ever since Garrett died. For us, it was the last part of Garrett that we had. What a special dog! Suzette had struggled to load Maggie into our truck for hours to take her to the Veterinary Emergency room about 4:00AM. Not sure why she did not call and ask Shannon, or someone for help. The Vet said that Maggie had a tumor running the whole length of her body, from her chest to her rear end. Apparently, the tumor ruptured. Neither one of us saw any sign at all that Maggie had a problem. I remain amazed how much a person can hurt inside from losing a dog. For us, dogs have always been “part of the family” – especially Maggie! I hate seeing Suzette hurt so much and I am missing Maggie too. She was a special and gentle dog. This event follows having to euthanize Moose, our other Labrador this past December 22. It has been 413 weeks and 2 days since Garrett died. Thankfully, life goes on and the "loss" remains to haunt me from time to time.

September 11, 2011 – Sunday
Much time has passed since I last wrote. There have been many times I have felt the urge to write, but I have resisted. I pondered when should I stop writing about all this? I am not sure I know the answer to that. It has been 10 years since America was attacked by radical Islamofacist scum. I remain angry and I will never forget or forgive. The pain from this day remains just below the skin surface. It remains vivid in my memory. I feel so badly for the innocent families who lost so much that day.

I have seen and experienced much in the past year. I have seen that Shannon can be truly happy and I saw that “look of hers” that I thought I would never see again! She had not been so happy since before her brother had died. For this dad, it was awesome and completely unexpected. Her joy turned to sadness for reasons I won’t go into here and I experienced an anger and rage I never thought possible. I reacted like any good dad would have, but vindication was short lived and inadequate. Thanks to massive efforts on my part, I forced the legal system to work as it was designed. The scumbag culprit is now a convicted felon. I try and remember that there are more good and helping people in this world than there are scumbags. I have managed to ride in twelve more states on my cruiser and run the mileage up to 37,000+ miles in 29 months. A couple friends and I rode to Sturgis S.D. this year for the largest bike rally in the world! It was a great experience. Riding my cruiser has proven to be a phenomenal release mechanism for me. Riding provides me with a mental and physical euphoria that has eluded me since Garrett had died. I still have a serious “distaste” for the month of September, for the memories of “That Final Day” surface and begin to taunt me. I know of no way to prevent those memories, the reality of that day in 2002 from surfacing. The memories leak from the annals of my mind in no particular order. They are vivid, amazingly acute and produce many feelings and emotions that cannot be forgotten. It has been 469 weeks since Garrett died!

September 18, 2012 – Tuesday
For absolutely no reason I woke up suddenly this morning at 0420 hours. Immediately I found myself back at the track re-living that final day in 2002! Damnest thing I have ever experienced. For the first time in ten years this month was going along fine and then this morning the memories came out of the darkness and a dead sleep. Vivid flashbacks, the expressions on his face, his comments, telling Suzette at the hospital he was gone - it all came screaming back - tears. It has lingered in my mind all day. Every time I look at the calendar the 22nd jumps off out at me like a thief in the night. I want to ride on the 22nd long, hard, far and in an expedient manner, but Suzette wants me to take a short ride. I want to ride in “G_d’s Country – Texas Hill Country! The condition of my left foot has her overly concerned. It has healed nicely from multiple surgeries, but life’s aging process does continue. Probably have to ride local. I just want to wake up on the 23rd with it all behind me for another year. I am emotionally drained. I miss my boy. It has been 522 weeks and two days since he died.

August 12, 2014 – Tuesday
For the record, it has been 621 weeks and two days since Garrett died. I am not sure why I continue to remember.

For the past six months I have resisted writing simply because I was “trying to analyze what changed, what happened to me since just prior to September 22, 2013.” In typical ‘male fashion’ I was over analyzing, trying to figure out the what, the why! In the end I remain clueless, but damn thankful! Perhaps some things in life must remain unknown!

Prior to September 22, 2013, each Anniversary of my Son’s death was emotionally brutal, an absolute gut wrenching experience. It was like I relived “That Final Day” - it haunted, taunted me each year. For the previous 10 plus years I relived portions of that day every year! All I wanted was “for this day to be behind me, over,” for then I got a one year reprieve!

This past September 22 of 2013 was an unexpected surprise. I was able to spend the day with Suzette, Shannon and other close friends. The day while not pleasant, was far from brutal and I largely experience a tranquil feeling. I was able to and enjoyed interacting with my wife and daughter - for the first time since his death, on this day I was “not selfish!” It was not an exercise of shear survival. I was completely surprised, pleasantly blown away by it all. My distorted perception of normal on this infamous day was to ride my motorcycle until the day was over, or I was lying in a hospital bed literally watching the clock on the wall at the foot of the bed – hating every second that passed!

Back in early January 2003 I could not vocalize how it felt after losing a child. I kept searching for how to describe how I felt. It was a passion, for I was frustrated that I could not vocally describe how I felt inside! Then I found it - written by Neil Perth (Drummer of Rush) in his book, “Ghost Rider” that a friend had given for me to read. When I first read it, immediately I knew. I was actually relieved after I read it. It was like finding that “thing” that had been missing for years. It read, “"My survival remains an act of pure will. Holding me together like a soldier wounded in battle, and I feel that I could collapse from within at anytime. No peace anywhere, no redemption imaginable. Just a sense of waiting: killing time. Waiting for what? For time to pass, I guess. Can there be no healing? Don't think so. Only strive to minimize scars. Not get too twisted, crippled inside." When I first read this, what a relief - believe it or not, it was awesome. I read and re-read this over and over and over.

In April of 2014 I decided that I should re-read “Ghost Rider.” I had given a copy of “Ghost Rider” to my friend Mike who lost one of his daughters four years ago and he was most appreciative. In late May of 2014 I bought another copy and began to read “Ghost Rider” for the second time. I was apprehensive, but I proceeded. It was not long before I was engrossed and reading as if for the first time. I remembered those little “nuggets” tucked inside the pages from the first reading, yet new “nuggets” touched me, as if they jumped from the pages especially for me! I was searching for the reason of the “What” and the “Why” of this reprieve from The Valley Over-Shadowed by Death that had so encapsulated me for eleven plus years!

Then I saw it…… the very last sentence in the acknowledgment section of Ghost Rider: It read, “Dedicated to the future, with Honor to the past!” Immediately I knew that that was where I was in my journey through “The Valley Over-Shadowed by Death!”

It was then that I began to understand that I had somehow, unknowingly learned to “live with the pain” of losing a child and was no longer controlled by the pain of the past. Somehow I had literally regained the will to survive, to go on. My “get up and go was not longer gone” – I can go on I want to go on - “Dedicated to the Future with Honor to the Past!”

October 3, 2017 – Tuesday

I have learned much since the last time I posted in this forum (August 2014). I have no idea of how many weeks it has been since Garrett died. I no longer count them and I will keep it that way. Some may have noticed the name change in this forum from Morning Reflections – An Endless Journey.”

In reality it is only an Endless Journey IF YOU ALLOW IT. Thus it was renamed to "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey - If You Allow It"

I have done much changing on the inside and on the outside. My family and I are doing fine and I am a Grandpa. My Grandson was born on my 61st Birthday in 2015. What a “Life Changer” – thanks to my Special Girl Shannon. That “Once in a Life Time Moment” when she sat me down and had a ‘heart to heart’ talk about where I unknowingly allowed myself to go – a dark, dark place. I had no idea that I had fallen that ‘far.’

I have learned that, “Aging is inevitable, but getting old is a choice.” It is literally that simple. I have shed over 60 pounds, wear 36” pants (not 44”) and my diabetes is very well controlled for the past two years! It will stay that way.

More later!

THANKS for ALWAYS being there for me and my Family.

From the bottom of my Heart

Mike Berg – “Motodad393”

Last edited by Motodad393; 10-05-2017 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 01-16-2005, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

Mike, thank you so much for posting this here on ATM.

It is worth taking the time to read this everyone. It will move you.
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Old 01-17-2005, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

Mr. Berg, I think it is very beneficial to have this posted on ATM. Every parent should read this. Thanks for putting your very personal thoughts and feelings out there for us. It certainly helps me appreciate my own relationship with my son even more.
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Old 01-17-2005, 12:46 AM
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Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

For those of you who didn't know, Garrett is the ENTIRE reason ATM was created. To honor a young man who offered help to anyone who needed it, and did so without reservation. A young man who died doing what he loved. A young man who will have an everlasting effect on those who have never even met him.

Yes, thank-you Garrett, and thank-you Mr Berg for posting this over here. I have read it over at TT before, but it definately belongs here at this website as well.
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Old 01-17-2005, 03:51 AM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

That journal is truly amazing.

I feel like I know Garrett, Mr Berg, and family a little bit better after reading that.
It really did move me and just makes you realise how lucky we are to be together, riding [i]with[/b] in some way.

I have not met anyone from ATM yet, but it feels like I know you very well.
It's amazing how such a great young man's misfortune can bring us all together.

Thank-you for sharing that with us Mr Berg. I felt privileged reading what your emotions and feelings were like and your experience. God Bless You!
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Old 01-17-2005, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

Mr. Berg, Thank you so much for taking the time to post this here.
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Old 01-17-2005, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

Thanks for posting Mr. Berg. It's very hard to read your letters and not cry. My son is so special to me. He is only 5 years old and he is my best friend. I hope everyone looks at your letters in a positive way. If anything I know to cherish the moments I have with him right now. Thanks again.

Ryan-
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Old 01-18-2005, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

I have to agree with what everyone else has stated. I'm fortunate not to be in the "club who needs no members," but have 4 healthy and alive boys. What you have written and I've read helps me to cherish what I have now. Not tomorrow or next week, but now.

Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate it.
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

Mr. Berg Thank you!

I started to read this at work......what a mistake that was knowing what it would do to me. I had to stop and will finish it at home where I can cry without making everyone else wonder if everything is ok.

Maybe it affects me more because I know you, your wife and wonderful daughter. Mike it's a good thing that you posted this journal here.

Thank you and your family for sharing with us. Your a kind man and I can't wait to ride with you and Garrett again.

Dane
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

First off thanks this is a great place for this thread. Secound dbd you are not the only one that had to stop and restart again this is touching to everyone. This is a great thread for everyone to read really makes you think. God bless you and your family and i hope things get easier.
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Old 09-30-2006, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

I charish every second I get with Dalton. thank you for shareing your thought's with us. I tought since you shared so much with me. That i should share my son's smile and love to ride with you.
[brk]
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Old 01-24-2008, 05:03 PM
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Default Re: "Mourning Reflections - An Endless Journey"

That is heartbreaking, my son and daughter mean the world to me and I cannot imagine life without them. Thank you for sharing.
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