I got the call about my precious boy while I was with my mother, sisters, and 4 of my nieces in Mexico on a vacation that we had planned for a year. Before I left, I gave him a hug goodbye and told him “I Love you Chandler, now don’t do anything stupid while I am gone.” Chandler told me “Oh mom, I love you too and I never do anything stupid,” (wink-wink). The phones were down in our room but I got word to call home. I got the gut-wrenching news that my boy would not be alive when I got home over a pay phone in a busy hotel lobby during spring break. “NO! NO! NO! Why am I not fainting like they do in the movies so I do not have to deal with this news?” is what was going through my head. My husband was at the hospital frantically waiting for me to call so we could give our permission to donate his organs. Yes! Yes! Yes! Take every organ that they can use. He was a very healthy, athletic, strong, young man so surely several people would be able to benefit from this horrible tragedy. But he was bleeding so much internally that all the vital organs were not getting the blood that they needed to live and be helpful for someone else.
Our son Chandler Anthony Roman had a bullet bike and I hated it. He hadn’t been on it all winter and the decision was finally made that it was going to be sold. Yeah! On Tuesday, March 13, 2007 he asked his dad if he cold take it for a ride and his dad said “No!” It did not have insurance and was going to be taken to the dealership that he worked at to be sold the next day. Chandler had a great day at school, played a fantastic game of soccer for his school, had a gig with the drum line, and was to pick up some friends to go four-wheeling that evening. He was to call his dad after the drum line performance but he never did. We think that he must have thought to himself “just one last ride.” He was just a few miles away from the house. It was around 7:30 p.m. and the sun was setting. He was going up a hill and a lady pulled out in front of him. She was at a stop sign, waiting to turn left. She did not see him. She pulled out and from what the paramedics told me, he had no time to do anything. It happened so fast that he probably didn’t know what happened to him.
We were overwhelmed with the outpouring of love by our friends, neighbors and all of his friends and the high school. His viewing lasted five and a half hours. We were blown away with the people that waited in line for hours just to say that they were sorry. He died two and a half months before graduation. We attended his graduation and the Vice Principal paid tribute to him in his commencement speech. There are kids from school that still go to his My Space account and leave messages. We find little notes at his graveside all the time.
We have been traumatized by his death. He has one sister who postponed her wedding for a year. Now that a year has passed we still think about him daily. The pain in our hearts is still very raw. We love to talk about him with anyone who will listen. I have found that the one thing that gives me anxiety is the fact that people will forget him. I feel like yelling sometimes “DON’T ANY OF YOU DARE FORGET HIM!”
Because it is important to us that he be remembered, we are starting an annual bowling tournament. We are calling it the “Big Birthday Bowling Bash.” It will always be held in September near his birthday. Chandler liked bowling, and was a crazy bowler, but we mainly decided on this activity because it is something which all of us, at any age, can participate in. We have trophies that represent different awards. They will travel every year to the home of the one who earned them and we are making a plaque with winners engraved on it so we have a history of the awards given throughout the years. This way, with all the new little ones that are being born into our family, they will know about Uncle Chandler and what a fun boy he was.