Christopher Michael Clark
Born October 13, 1973
Died June 28, 1997
My son, Chris, had been a troubled young man who was finally starting to see some successes. After very tumultuous teen years and a two-year stay in Alabama, he returned home determined to get his life back together. As he had dropped out of school and had never received a high school diploma, he signed up for GED classes which, to his great surprise, came very easily to him, and he had passed his GED exams less than three months after starting the classes. This was a great confidence booster for Chris, and I remember him saying that he had not thought that getting his GED would mean so much to him. He began to consider attending college classes.
After this, Chris found a good-paying job and was considered one of the company's best workers. With a steady income, he then decided it was time to get his own place. After spending months saving his money, he secured an apartment and bought all new furniture for himself. I will never forget the day that he proudly drove me to see his new place. As his mother, I was amazed at his good decorating sense and how nicely he had fixed everything up, as I had never seen this side of Chris before.
Three weeks to the day after moving into his new apartment, one of Chris's best friends was about to be married, and the soon-to-be groom and some of the other groomsmen spent the night at Chris's new apartment. The next day, the last day of his life, according to reports from friends, he had apparently had the time of his life at his friend's wedding, serving as one of the groomsmen. He was quoted by a friend as telling people that he thought he looked so good in his tuxedo that he would like to be buried in it.
After the reception, Chris stopped to visit his father at a private club to show off his tuxedo. At the time, he seemed fine to both his father and others who saw him. He left his father, telling him that he was going to meet some of the people from the wedding at another place.
Chris never made it. Not five minutes after leaving his father at the private club, Chris was involved in a head-on collision. Apparently the back tires of his Chevy Blazer went off the pavement and into a muddy shoulder. In his efforts to get back on the road, Chris's Blazer was propelled across the road and directly into the path of a car coming from the opposite direction. On impact, his Blazer flipped on its side and Chris was thrown from the vehicle. Chris never felt he needed a seatbelt; like many other young people, he thought he was invincible. Paramedics found him on the side of the road, face down in his tuxedo, barely breathing, and attempted to resuscitate him. He was rushed to the emergency room as resuscitation efforts continued, which was only a few minutes away, but on arrival, frantic resuscitation efforts by the emergency room staff were unable to revive Chris, and he was pronounced dead at 11:10 p.m. on June 28, 1997. Later on, the irony of Chris's statements about wanting to be buried in his tuxedo and then the fact that he died in it really hit us hard. I considered Chris's statement regarding the tuxedo like a last request, and Chris was indeed buried in a tuxedo which we purchased from one of the tuxedo rental places. The one he had been wearing, of course, had been destroyed in the accident.
The driver of the other car was a woman who was coming home from babysitting her grandchildren. The accident caused her to be pinned in her car, and it took over an hour to extricate her. A helicopter was called to airlift her to a major hospital and was at the scene and waiting. When paramedics and emergency personnel finally were able to extricate her, she died within minutes, and the helicopter was not used.
Two crosses were erected by Greg Zanis on the side of the road where Chris and the other woman were killed (Greg Zanis also made the crosses for the Columbine victims.)
Chris was very loyal to his family and friends. He had discovered, through all the problems and turmoil in his short life, that the people in your life who care about you - your family and friends - are life's greatest blessings. On this third anniversary of Chris's death, we, his family and friends, miss him terribly!
Thursday, 29-Jun-2000 12:33:22 MDT
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