In some ways, 10 years is a long time. In others, it’s gone in an instant.
We were married in the fall of 1984. Ten years later, we were busy raising two boys: Hayden, age 6, and Carson, age 4. Another decade later, these two happy and healthy young men were just a few years away from being ready to leave the nest and conquer the world.
Then, on December 2, 2008, everything changed. Less than two decades after Carson came into our lives, he died following a Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity hazing initiation ritual where he was compelled to drink large quantities of Everclear and other hard alcohol — unresponsive, unmonitored, and abandoned on a mattress. He was only 18.
In 20 minutes, the son we’d raised from an infant to a fine young adult was gone, for reasons we’d grapple with, come to peace with and that ultimately would drive our mission in life. It was a tragic and needless sacrifice — a wound that will never truly heal for our family. But, without question, it has also opened our minds and hearts in ways that would change everything we knew and, unexpectedly, in ways that would illuminate what Carson’s life was about.