Everyone who knew them knew that these guys would do anything for one another. Well, almost anything. The late Jerry Brown, recently killed in what may end up as an intoxication manslaughter incident, was described as a guy with a sense of humor, a great physical capability and a young man living his dream to play in the NFL. For those of us who have football-loving sons, we can imagine that it couldn’t be any better. Certainly, no one believes that when the guys went out to party that night, Mr. Brent had any intention to harm his best friend.
No one ever does.
As a former ER nurse, I can honestly say that never once did anyone come through those doors saying, “You know, I thought I’d have an accident today!”
Which makes it all the more terrifying when our teen sons seem undaunted by any prospect of danger. (NOTE: I do think that teens’ inability to “see” danger is in some ways developmental. I believe that blind side is what enables them to take the terrific risk of leaving home and heading out into the world, filled with hope and optimism.) The regularity with which these types of accidents happens is heart-wrenching. In the wake of the Brown/Brent accident, Drew Pearson recalled the accident which changed his life many years ago. Mr. Pearson was driving in the car wreck which killed his younger brother. In discussing the Brown/Brent event, Mr. Pearson said, “I wouldn’t try to tell him (Mr. Brent) how to deal with it but what to expect,” Pearson said. “Like the guilt. It will be there for the rest of his life, and it will be deep-seated. And the depression can be so overwhelming.” Inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, Mr. Pearson acknowledges that he will deal with the loss of his brother forever.
Moving forward, thinking of our boys, please use this tragedy, along with Mr. Pearson’s story, to speak with your son. Draw his attention to Mr. Brent’s attendance at his friend’s funeral, alongside his friend’s mom. Encourage him to think seriously about what one would say to his friend’s grieving mother. Boys have a fine sense of loyalty. See what you can do to help your son “get” that loyalty also entails protection, safety, looking out for your pal’s well-being. You may want to include the question, “Knowing what he knows now, what do you think Mr. Brent might do differently if he had that night, that week, to live over again? Is there something you can learn from his experience?”
Then hug your boy and let him know how much you love him.