FINDING CLOSURE: FOR MOST VICTIMS, IT’S DIFFICULT, IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE
RID reached out to three different victims of alcohol-impaired drivers to address the issue of closure. What we learned is that attaining closure for them is an extremely difficult process that is never fulfilled.
Linda Campion’s daughter Kathleen died in March of 1989 when she was hit by an alcohol-impaired driver in Saratoga County. Linda feels the use of the term closure is insulting to many victims she has come to know over the past 25 years. She writes this:
“Closure is a word used by those who hope that if they were ever placed in a similar situation of losing a loved one to an-alcohol-impaired driver, that there will be closures of some kind.”
Yet, Linda has taken her anger and channeled it into positive action. She and her family founded the Kathleen A. Campion Foundation to spread awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. She has advocated for and improved victims’ rights in the court of law. While she may never find closure, Linda has turned her loss into the motivating factor for prevention and education so others won’t have to experience the devastation of losing a loved one to drunk driving.
Jared Spinola lost his companion, Laurie Tavares to a drunk driver on November 27, 2003. Jared suffered through a litany of emotions First, Shock as he couldn’t believe that this amazing person he had come to love was gone and their future together was stolen by a drunk driver. Then depression came as he spent the first couple of months sleeping more than he ever had in his life. The worst emotion for Jared was regret to which he struggles with to this day.
Jared found some relief from his pain when he attended the trial of the defendant. He viewed him a pathetic human being. While he could feel bad for him, he can’t forgive him for what the drunk driver took from him and Laurie’s family. The anxiety this tragedy has brought upon Jared is the only lingering emotion that he feels just as strong s he did ten years ago. Jared writes:
“If there is one piece of advice I could give anyone coping with a sudden, tragic loss of a loved one it would be to seek others who had the same experience. I spent weeks being consoled by friends and family , all of whom had loved ones, but none of them experienced losing someone so close, so sudden and so tragic. I have been through both and I promise there is a HUGE difference! I wasn’t the only one with those regrets. That was the most helpful thing I did that helped me cope and find some closure. You must seek others out who have experienced the same as you, so you may learn that you are not alone.”
35 years ago, Bill DiKant lost his first wife and two of their children when a drunk driver plowed into their vehicle, killing the drunk driver as well. Bill has been a forerunning advocate to get drunk drivers off the road ever since. His tireless energy spirited message as a motivational speaker has been heard by thousands of convicted drunk drivers covering four counties in the Capital region. He also spreads his message about the hazards of drunk driving to school children. Bill Writes:
First off it was how to deal with this; I lost my wife and daughter, then I had to decide to take my oldest son off life support, what’s to become of my youngest son? I’m being driven to frustration because of selfishness and greed. I’m thankful that the man (drunk driver) died. I kept thinking on how should I get even with him? There is no closure on this; it continues to be with me. I re-married and my wife was an EMT with the local ambulance, so I joined to assist the community. I made contact with Remove Intoxicated Drivers and did what I could to help them. I also try to speak to other Victims’ of these domestic terrorists trying to encourage them in dealing with this “Non Violent” crime as stated by the Second Court Circuit.”
I would like to thank Linda Campion, Jared Spinola and Bill DiKant for sharing their thoughts and experiences in such a poignant manner. We welcome your comments and feedback.