2006-09-23 05:48:07 UTC

At about 9:20 on Thursday morning, we heard knocking and the doorbell. I woke up, got my socks on, went to the door. Mom was already there in her nightgown, looking through the peephole. She said that there were a couple of men walking away, one saying something about “scratches”; she guessed that they were repairmen trying to sell their services. (We still don’t know for sure whether this was the case or not.) I went back to bed; mom chose to stay up.

About twenty minutes later, we heard knocking and the doorbell again. I didn’t even bother with the socks this time, being more curious than that now; about when I got to the dining room, I heard a woman’s voice calling out my mom’s name from outside. Now this was very odd.

I opened the door, with mom behind me; it was our neighbor from across the street, with two men behind her. “These men want to talk to you.” Mom stepped out; I stayed inside the door (being barefoot, remember?), and noticed a sheriff’s badge clipped to the belt of one of the men. (Both of them were in plain clothes: each, a suit with no jacket.)

For awhile, we had a 1981 Audi parked in our driveway. It fell into disrepair, and we received a “notice of violation” since one cannot legally have an “inoperative” vehicle visible from a public road. We donated the car to a charity, but awhile after that, we received a letter reminding us of the violation. We paid it no mind, having already cleared the violation, but upon sight of the badge, I thought that this was another reminder about the car (I forgot that it wasn’t present anymore, so they probably wouldn’t have knocked on our door about it).

“I’m afraid we have some bad news to tell you.”

So much for that. I knew at this point that something had happened to my dad. The man speaking was not the one with the sheriff’s badge; we would find out in a few minutes that he is an Investigator in the HBPD.

“Your husband” — the officer was addressing my mom — “was killed this morning.” Text doesn’t adequately convey it; he seemed pretty shaken up about it himself. “Oh God”, responded my mom.

We were given my dad’s backpack and a paper bag containing the items on his person — money, ID, watch with its band broken (and its bezel blood-stained), among other things. We were also given a form giving a summary of the incident, and the business cards of both men. The senior of the two told us that the autopsy would be done that afternoon. A woman was with them; I think she was a grief counselor of some kind, but she didn’t say anything that I heard (although I did go back inside briefly to get my socks on).

Newspaper clipping: “PEDESTRIAN DIES · An unidentified man was killed about 6 a.m. Thursday when he was hit by a minivan at the intersection of Brookhurst Street and Yorktown Avenue in Huntington Beach. The driver wasn't cited.”
Clipping from the OC Post (another newspaper, run by the Orange County Register).

My dad took the bus to and from work every workday. At 5:54, he was crossing Brookhurst Boulevard to get to the bus stop, when a van hit him; the impact was fatal. The driver stopped and called police.

Dad was pronounced dead on the scene; presumably, the rest of the three-and-a-third hours between then and the time that the officers arrived at our door was spent interviewing the driver, towing vehicles, recovering personal effects, and cleaning up the scene.

Note: This is a good argument for always carrying your ID with you, if you live with anybody. Dad had his California ID card on him, so the officers knew where he lived and that he was married, making that location (i.e. our house) the logical place to look for next-of-kin.

A little later, the same neighbor from before and one of our next-door neighbors came over to see how we were doing. He gave us his business card, and I gave him one of our phone numbers (I’ve forgotten which one); she said she’d ask a friend of hers about urns, that friend being an employee of a nearby mortuary.

He came by later (while I was taking a nap, since my sleep had been cut short) to drop off a printout of an HB Independent article (and there’s an article in the Orange County Register, too). She came by even later than that (waking me up), and gave us a tray of Honeybaked Ham (spiral-sliced ham, regular-sliced ham, and turkey, along with baked beans, potato salad, cheese potato, and creamed corn). It was an awesome dinner (and we still have plenty of it to eat), and satisfied my longtime curiosity as to exactly how good or not Honeybaked is; obviously, though, that isn’t the way I wanted to try some Honeybaked Ham.

So, my father is dead. Once the arrangements are made, we’ll invite family down for the viewing, and then his body will be cremated.

It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I know, objectively, that my father is dead, but it isn’t real for me yet — I don’t feel it, if that makes sense. I expect that it will hit me at the viewing.

I haven’t written any code since the incident, and may not for several days yet (if not longer). I’ve been on IRC the past couple days, after staying well away from it for a long time in order to be more productive.

That’s all I can think of right now.

10 Responses to “Death”

  1. Simone Manganelli Says:

    My condolences for your loss.

    I wish I could say more, but honestly, I can’t fathom what it’s like to lose one’s dad. I can’t say I’ve really lost anyone close to me, either. And I don’t really know you well enough to offer anything more than that. So hopefully, even in some small and insignificant way, that helps you get through the day, even though it’s from someone random on the internet.

  2. Colin Barrett Says:

    On Thursday you signed online at an odd hour. When you told me your dad died, I honestly thought you were playing a joke. What finally convinced me it was real was when you told me that you were looking at his blood stained watch. That is what really got me. I felt terrible for the whole rest of the day.

    It’s so hard to lose a family member. The family member I’ve lost who I was closest to was one of our dogs, who ran out of the house and I chased after him, only to witness him getting run over by a car that didn’t even stop. One of the hardest things about it at the time was seeing the rest of my family in tears. It hadn’t sunk in yet that he was gone, but seeing my family weeping — and weeping myself — was just gut wrenching.

    Again, if there’s anything, anything, I can do for you, just say the word. Take care of yourself.

  3. Hernandez Family Says:

    We dont know you or your family, but we would like to send out our deepest condoleneces. We had to pass by the accident scene when I was taking my children to school. We stopped our car and prayed for your father and your family. We continuously pray for you and your family. May God be with you all during this difficult time! God bless.

  4. Peter Hosey Says:

    [quote comment=”141″]When you told me your dad died, I honestly thought you were playing a joke.[/quote]

    Reminds me of 9/11. I found out about it when looking at the topic on an IRC channel. No link or anything, so I thought the statement was a joke, in line (or so I thought at the time, anyway) with the poster’s sense of humor. I found it was real when I arrived at the hospital (mom was in there for a heart attack) and saw live coverage on ABC on the TV in her room.

  5. Andrew Aitken Says:

    My thoughts are with you buddy. I hope you can come through this.

    In a weird twist of fate, my dad died two years ago to the very day I read this (25th). I know how hard it is to lose your father so young (I was 20 when my dad died). I don’t have the words to say how sorry I am. I’ve only exchanged a few words with you in the past, but I sincerely hope you can get through this.

    Good luck.

  6. Peter Hosey Says:

    I thank you all for your condolences and your experiences.

  7. Scott Hicks Says:


    My condolences. I’ve spent quite a bit thinking of you on the past few days. Praying for you and your family. May God go with you and protect you in these days of need. This is not an easy thing to go through, I dread the day that I will be faced with this part of life with my only parent. Remember to take your time and that you are not alone no matter what. Also, thank you for being there for me in the past as I’m sure we’ll be there for each other in the future. I may have only known you online, but you have been a wonderful friend.

    Peace & Bright Blessings,


  8. E Says:

    I don’t know you but I would like to offer you my condolence. Be strong.

    Last week Thursday, on my way to work, I saw the accident. My heart was broken when I saw it.

    I prayed for your dad.

    I was just browsing online to find out what happened and I saw your site. Be strong. I will continue to pray for your dad, you and your family. Be strong together. I’m sure that’s what your dad would want.

    Smiles of Faith

  9. ken Says:

    I don’t know how I missed this in my feeds.

    I’m so sorry, Peter. My condolences.

    I don’t know what’s going on. One of my best friends lost her mother to cancer last week, and another of our friends tried to kill himself. It’s a messed up world.

  10. Jamie Says:

    Terrible terrible news. I’ve been thinking about it all day today – I truly cannot imagine what you are going through right now. My thoughts are with you, if there is anything I can do you only have to shout.

    Peace brother – Jamie

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