A Grandmother's Worst Nightmare

Kris Edwards

I am a mother and grandmother, age 56. Five years ago my son graduated from college in Law Enforcement Administration, and married the lovely vibrant gal he had dated for three yers. It was all so perfect. Kathy and Dan were married in Macomb, Il. They were the couple everyone loved. Dan was hired by the Macomb Police Department and Kathy by a local bank. They bought a house, were very much in love. In September of 94 Kathy' mom at age 48 died very suddenly of a heart attack. Two weeks later Kathy and Dan announced they were expecting a baby. They did all the right things, safe house, safe car, safe everything. Dan was promoted to detective, a 9-5 job so he could be with his family. On July 5th of 95 Kathy and Dan became the parents of Toby James Edwards. We could have asked for no more. The summer was perfect. So was the fall. Toby grew and cooed and laughed. The fall was as perfect. We had two grown children in Macomb and each had a baby son. Dan had gone to detective school in Springfield on Dec 15th. Kathy and Toby spent the evening of the 17th with us. We made Christmas decorations, cookies, laughed, and for some reason I took over a roll of photos. We listened to the weather and knew a storm was coming in. We asked Kathy not to leave for Springfield the next day, but the storm was still far west, and she wanted to see Dan. At 11:45 on the night of the 18th, Dan called and said, "Mom. Toby and Kathy were in an accident, she slid on black ice in front of a semi. Toby died and Kathy has less than a 5 percent chance". The storm had hit between Macomb and Springfield, the roads were impassable. The AM of the 19th, the State Police flew Dan's Dad and me and his sister, Jen to Springfield. Toby was dead and Kathy was going to die of massive internal head injuries. We had taken, by Dan's request, living will and organ donor card. However, she "lived" until the 24th. The neurosurgeon would not declare her dead even thought she was "flatlined" (The medula had herniated into the spinal cord. SHE WAS DEAD. We did everything to try and get him to declare her, yet in a large metro hospital it could not be done. There was staff shortage, Christmas eve. ROBI (Illinois Organ Bank if Illinois had been called by the nurses, but had to turn back. The doctor would not make the time of death call. Then, at 3AM, it was too late, Her living will had not been honored by this neurosurgeon and neither was her organ donor card. So, not only did we loose Kathy that night, but also any hope of using any of her organs. They could have ALL been used, She was 27, and an athlete. My worst nightmare came true. Not only did I (our whole family) loose Kathy and Toby, but also all chance of having part of her live on in another. After Christmas my anger became so intense, I asked hospital administration, physicians, chaplains, etc to work hard on changing hospital policy so one physician can never again call the shots they way he chooses, and ignore a husand's wish. I can never explain the total futility of all the losses involved. It is 16 months later and we are healing, very slowly. God has two very precious people in heaven!

Kris Edwards
Macomb, Illinois

You can send email to Kris at: [email protected]
mail welcome

anniversary date 12-24
date of post 04-05-97

[return to home page] [column] [book excerpts] [honor page] [discussions page]

Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW