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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The "A Father's Unbearable Grief" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Struggling with my thoughts today as I write this story.  This past Thursday I wrote a story of a young man who took his own life while in prison for the murder of three people; his best friend and his best friend's parents.  Throughout this terrible tale which began on May 12, 2007, I often thought about the parents and siblings of the boy who committed the crime, Alec Kreider.  I can remember Alec from his time in the Manheim Township Middle School and even though I never experienced him as a student, I do remember him from photographs I took of him for the school yearbook.  But, I never got to know the parents of Alec.  I'm sure they were just like myself and my wife in that they wanted the best for their son as he grew from childhood to become an adult.  But, in this case that didn't happen.  I feel sorrow for not only the boy but his parents.  He confided in his father about a month after the murders that he was the one who had committed them.  How awful his father must have felt.  I still get chills and tears in my eyes just thinking about it.  And, to have to turn your own son into the police ... well, I'm not sure I could have done that.  But, his father Tim did the absolute right thing.  I'm sure he has thought about that every single day of his life since that fateful day of June 16th, 2007 when he told the authorities about his son.  The few days that elapsed from the time his son told him until the day he talked to the police must have been unbearable, just as that month was for Alec when he told no one of his terrible deed.  Well, today I got to visit the internet site titled "Refuse To Drown" and read the father's heart-wrenching story which led from the day his son told him of the murders till the day he was notified of Alec's death.  The Blog post tells the story of a young, troubled boy who loved animals and enjoyed spending time with his family.  What follows is the text that Tim wrote in his blog.  Tim's website: "Refuse To Drown- A Father's Unthinkable Choice" can be found at: www.refusetodrown.com and you may care to visit it.  Tim has co-authored a book about his experiences which no one should have to ever go through.  May both Tim and his son Alec be at peace now!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

On January 20, 2017, in a small quiet cell, alone and desperate, the life of my son Alec Kreider came to a tragic end. There are many who will say and believe that he got what he deserved, good riddance or it’s about time.  Alec committed a horrible crime and took so much away from an innocent family and that certainly is part of who Alec was and part of his story.  It simply isn’t the entire story. There was another side to Alec.  He was a loved son, grandson and brother.  He wasn’t always angry, desperate and lost in the wasteland of depression and anger.  He was a beautiful baby boy born with ears too big for his head and eyes that didn’t quite work right.  But he was still beautiful to us. Eventually, he grew into his ears and after a couple surgeries and eye glasses he learned to deal with his eyes.  He became a small child with a huge grin, big dimples and bright eyes behind those eye glasses.  He loved to play with legos and his nerf guns.  He played in the snow, ran in our yard and road in his big foot truck.  He was an innocent child simply enjoying life.  Like almost all small children, he was scared of the dark and “monsters” under his bed and would wake me to tell me he had a bad dream.  He loved animals and would curl up on the floor with our family dog or chase him around the house.  One time when our kids wanted to watch a “scary” movie, we rented The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Alec was maybe 10 or so and after the movie I asked him if he thought it was scary.  He said not but when I went upstairs to tuck him in, every light in every room in the house was on. I guess it was a little scary.  He had a bright and quick mind, which at times made him a challenge.  He wasn’t one to take “because I said so” as a good enough reason to do something.  He was determined and strong willed.  Attributes that should have served him well in life.  There were so many hopes and dreams for his future and the life he would have.  The possibilities seemed endless.  As he grew older he became a handsome young man who valued honesty and integrity and he simply didn’t understand why so many things in the world were so messed up.  He so wanted things to be better and different.  One of my fondest memories is when we watched a John Pinette video together.  John Pinette was a comedian and Alec, his younger brother and I watched and laughed so hard our sides hurt.  They were big belly laughs, we were, at that time, happy, enjoying life and for the moment free of any worries or concerns.  Unfortunately, somewhere along the journey, a darkness fell over Alec. It was something he struggled with every day.  All he wanted was for the pain, hurt and anger to end.  He tried so hard but yet the darkness would not leave him.  The bright eyes of his early childhood became dim and darker.  That small child with the big dimples and the joy for life was lost deep inside the anger and desperation he felt.  He was not the “monster” so many want to simply right him off as.  He did something monstrous, but that is only part of Alec.  To label him as such and not make an effort to understand the deeper story is the easy way to discard him and his life.  Alec loved and wanted to be loved.  Alec desperately wanted his life to be different.  He had hopes and dreams for his life and future and they were lost to the darkness and where it led him.  He was hurting and unable to conquer the inexplicable darkness that was a constant part of his every day.   He didn’t understand or know why he felt the way he did and why, no matter what he did, no matter how much he wanted to, no matter how hard he tried, he wasn’t able to overcome the darkness and anger.  Alec wanted, with all of his being, for his life to be different, to be free of the torment he endured and had lived with for so long.   I encouraged him constantly to not give up, to keep trying, to believe that things could and would get better.  Some days he was hopeful and other days he was hopeless.  Unfortunately, the hopelessness proved to be too much to endure.  Alec was my son, his life did matter, he was loved and he will be missed.  May he finally rest and be at peace.

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