The Christmas Eve that changed our lives
(Pueblo, CO USA)
My sister loved Christmas! So much so that she just HAD to go to WalMart for some last minute Christmas items on December 24th, 1987, even though she was done shopping and all the gifts were bought and wrapped. She asked her then 16 yr. old son and her 11 yr. old son to go with her. You know how teens are...my 16 yr. old nephew only wanted to be with his girlfriend, so off went my sister Winnie, and her 11 yr. old son, Jonathan. They would never return with their items to their apartment.
Earlier that day, Floyd Aragon "tied a few on" to celebrate the holiday with his friends. I was told he'd quit drinking 6 months prior, but friends talked him into having a few with him to "celebrate" the occasion.....Christmas. Unfortunately, he didn't know when to stop and got behind the wheel of his girlfriend's car and drove to Pueblo after having some sort of an argument.
That year, the snowstorm was pretty bad. It was icy and driving conditions weren't great for even the most trained of drivers, let alone, a drunk one. He wasn't thinking too clearly when he passed up other drivers on the shoulder of the road and lost control of the vehicle, which then sped over middle of the road, hitting my sister's car head on. She died instantly when the steering wheel went thru her rather large-framed body. Her 11 yr. old son's head slammed into the windshield and soon after, he was in a coma, with massive internal bleeding and swelling in his brain. The doctors had no idea what type of injuries he'd sustained until he'd wake up. But he was never going to. It was decided, as a family, to put him out of his misery and pull the plug. I don't wish that kind of decision on anyone. Believe me, it was done with much discussion, care and thought of everyone involved, including the 16 yr. old brother that was left behind.
On the other hand, Floyd Aragon lived, with a few bruises and cuts perhaps, but nonetheless, lived. After about a year or so in court, and learning about his 5 prior "slaps on the hand" that the court had given him for drunk driving, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison. He served 8. I remember the D.A.'s office asking each of us what we thought a just punishment would be for this crime. I said "A public hanging by his toenails would not be enough to suffice. After all, he doesn't have enough lives to pay back what he took." I still feel that way, in a sense, even though I have forgiven the man many years ago. I heard he learned his lesson and is no longer drinking. I hope to God that's true, but what a hard lesson to learn. I hope that every day, he thinks about what he did and thinks about what we, as a family have missed for all these years.
God bless each of you that have been through something similar. I know how hard it is to share and I thank you for taking the time to read and to share your stories with the world.