Many victims/survivors find journaling to be a helpful tool for processing the overwhelming feelings that come with grief and traumatic loss.  Out of that process, or sometimes in a completely alternate activity, many find a voice in poetry that best expresses their deepest emotions.  This poetry may be very personal  – something not meant for anyone else – OR it may be a way of talking about something too difficult to discuss conventionally, where healing can be found in sharing it.

At MADD, our goal is always to provide ways for the victims/survivors of impaired driving and underage drinking to heal, to provide them support through the pain however we can, and to encourage them that life can eventually be good again.  With that in mind, we’ve  created this space where we can share the poetry of our Tennessee victims/survivors.  We hope that it will help them to have a place where their poetry can be shared AND we believe it may help a fellow victim/survivor who reads it to realize that they are not alone in their grief.

If you would like to submit a poem for posting consideration, please send it to tn.state@madd.org. Feel free to include the name of your loved one, crash date info, and/or a photo if we do not have one on file.

 

Poetry Submissions by Victims/Survivors of Impaired Driving Crashes

“Untitled”
I stand at that place and stare at the ground,
I imagine you sleeping,
No movement, no sound.
I look above me, but no longer ask why.
I just close my eyes and try my best not to cry.
I have finally accepted a Mother’s worst fear.
But each step is painful through my first bereaved year.
It’s your name inscribed on the marker I see,
Then tears fill my eyes because it should have been me.
I’ll walk through this life, some sorrow, some joy,
But keeping my head up for my baby boy.
A smile on my face, but broken within,
God give me strength until I see you again.

Mandy Robinson Larson, February 1, 2017
Mother of Nick Willhoit

Nickolas-Willhoit-300x250

Nickolas Willhoit, age 21, killed July 31, 2016, by a drunk boater

 

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“You Step”
We step…
And find ourselves new parents of a wonderful baby boy.
You step…
And we called everyone to let them know that our little boy had taken his first steps.
You step…
And suddenly we are taking you to your first day of school.
You step…
And we are watching you start Cub Scouts and how excited you are.
You step…
And we are watching our switch hitter get his trophy from playing baseball.
You step…
And we are watching you get awarded your Arrow of Light.
You step…
And we are watching you suddenly attending high school.
You step…
And we laugh as you say something in Japanese and we say “Huh?”
You step…
And suddenly you were graduating high school early.
You step…
And we watch you begin college.
You step…
And suddenly you are soaring, having earned your rank of Eagle.
You step…
And so soon, we see our boy becoming a man.
You step…
And you’ve graduated college with an IT degree, just like me.
You step…
And we watch you walk on air, sharing love with a beautiful girl named Bri.
You step…
And all too soon, you are Dancing with the Angels.

Jeffrey S. Garner
Father of Jeffrey S. “Scotty” Garner, II

Jeffrey Scotty Garner II

Jeffrey “Scotty” Garner, II, age 25, killed May 18, 2017, by a drugged driver

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“Grief’s Silent Battle”
As I lay here in the bed
I’m screaming, screaming in my head!

I want you back
Begging God to backtrack

What kind of man would you now be?
If only, if only I could see

What would you look like, long or short hair?
Opening my eyes to find you smiling in your favorite chair

To clearly hear your sweet deep voice
Saying, “Sorry Mom, sorry for my choice!”

Why did I bury you at age 19? Always my baby…
God must want me to share your legacy

Worlds collided that fatal day on Highway 47
But I thank the good Lord, KNOWING you’re in Heaven!

An exhausted calm finally mumbles around in my head
As I lay here, silent tears tumble onto the bed…

I love you, Cole Kilgore
Your Momma – Forever and Always,

Kathy Kilgore Beeler, September 1, 2012
Mother of Cole Kilgore

Cole Kilgore, age 19, crash June 4, 2011; died June 5, 2011, killed by a drunk driver

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“Grief”
The waves hit me with great force – I waver and I bend, yet I do not fall. Each wave stings a little more as it slams into me. The fury of the winds cut through me like a knife. Every cell of my body is silently screaming from the pain. It is so loud; and no one can hear it but me. Do not look at the waves, I tell myself; for looking at the storm gives it power, do not give power to the storm; look away, look away. Do not allow the storm to overtake you or you will die. But it is everywhere, it surrounds me, it is all I can see. I struggle to regain my focus – It is a constant battlefield. Finally, I am able to look past the storm and I can see You. I do not fall because I am standing on the Rock; I will not fall because the Rock protects me as the waves and the winds try to destroy me.

Carry me Lord when I cannot carry myself, give me strength when I have none, give me determination when I feel like all hope is lost, give us justice, give me peace from the storm that rages in me. I cannot lose my focus, no not now, not ever. I am standing on the Rock and I will not be moved. My eyes may temporarily see the storm around me, but I will always refocus and stay fixed on You.

Calm the storm Lord, if only for a moment so I can catch my breath.

Tammy Leonard
Mother of Kassidy Leonard and Grandmother of Kimberlynn Griggs

Will Kassidy Kimberlynn

Kassidy Leonard – age 19, William Griggs – age 20, Kimberlynn Griggs – age 12 days, all killed October 12, 2015, by a drugged driver

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