One Simple Mistake

Today I’m going to briefly review three human tragedies that made the news in just the past two days. If you don’t cry after reading this, I’ll be surprised. These stories remind us that we should treasure every day and never take life for granted. They also remind us that it is part of the human condition to sometimes make simple mistakes that have horrific consequences.

Last Friday, October 12, 2007 DeVere and Barbara Clay and their two granddaughters, Erin and Hope, were found dead in their camper/trailer rig at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. They had gone to the World Clydesdale Show together for a fun weekend, but were overcome with carbon monoxide from a portable gas heater while they slept. The camper had a roof vent, but carbon monoxide settles low to the ground. One can only imagine the terrible pain and suffering remaining family members and friends must be feeling today. My heart and prayers go out to them.

The family of Scott Javins last saw him on May 24, 2002 after he left a friend’s home in Terra Haute, Indiana. Scott was a student at Indiana State University when he disappeared, driving a silver Honda Civic. Last Friday someone found a car buried in the Wabash River near Fairbanks Park in Terra Haute. It was Scott’s car. His body was recovered after he had been missing for over five years. At least his family can now find closure in his disappearance.

At 3:40 am on Saturday, October 13, 2007 a van driven by Dr. Terra Thomas, CEO of Human Resources development Institute, a leading behavioral health and human service organization headquartered in downtown Chicago, rear-ended a semi trailer at an Indiana Toll Road plaza near the Ohio state line. Accompanying her were her three daughters, triplets, one of whom died with Dr. Thomas in the crash. The other two triplets survived with minor injuries. Indiana police speculate that Dr. Thomas fell asleep at the wheel. Dr. Thomas had traveled worldwide providing clinical treatment for developmentally and emotionally challenged children and their families. She held a Ph.D. and three master’s degrees.

Scott Javins probably made a driving mistake five years ago. Along with closure to the mystery of his disappearance the lives of a humble horse breeder and an internationally known behavioral researcher came to an abrupt and tragic end this weekend, along with the lives of those closest and dearest to them. All three lives were so different. One was an experienced horse breeder possessing incredible expertise. Another was a typical college student, preparing for his future life’s work. Dr. Thomas’ fame was well deserved and literally thousands around the world have benefited as a result of her passion for children. Three simple mistakes; the improper use of a heater and two driving errors, have caused indescribable pain for their remaining friends and family.

Stuff happens. It can happen to any of us, anytime. It is part of the human condition. Enjoy each day.

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