November 29, 2018 in 309 words

What happens to your life after you accidentally kill someone?

I’m an accidental killer – and thousands of Americans share this secret shame. How can you recover from the trauma of accidentally killing someone?

Above: ‘There was another car smashed up on the side of the road. Then I saw a motorcycle, lying on its side.’

“There’s never a time, even when I’m laughing at a party, when I’m not thinking about it,” Pam Uhr says.

It was a hot summer day a few weeks before the end of her junior year of high school. Uhr and her friends had spent the afternoon at a swimming hole near their central Texas town. She was driving home on a country road, two friends as passengers, when her front tire slid. She overcorrected. The car spun. A car coming over a blind hill slammed into her passenger side, and everything went black.

She woke in a hospital. None of the doctors or nurses would say how the two boys in her car were doing. Her dad finally told her: they were dead.

Years later, after Uhr married and had three boys of her own, she found herself consumed by the thought that her three young sons would die as some kind of cosmic payback.

I nod my head as I listen to her story. It sounds a lot like the other stories I’ve heard over the years about accidental killings. First, immediately after the event, comes shock. Then the shame-filled memories of what happened. Then thoughts of impending karmic justice, which hang over the accidental killer’s head like the sword of Damocles – at every moment, even when you’re laughing at parties.

Can people move on after an accidental killing? I think about this question a lot. I’m an accidental killer too.

Ed. More tomorrow? Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Not? Today’s another Groundhog Day.