The Day Our Lives Changed Forever

April 2, 2003 started out like any other day beautiful spring day.

The boys got up and got ready for school.  I let Billy take the car that day,
something that I didn't always do. He only had gotten his license February 7th so I was still cautious
but he was a very good and careful driver. My only request to him was to come right home from school
because his brother had a baseball practice and I needed my car.
He never came home.

I was on the phone with my husband at about 2:15pm when I heard the call-waiting beep.
I looked at the caller ID and saw that it said Westchester Medical and thought to myself, it must be someone looking
for donations. I told my husband to hold on while I answered the beep that would change our lives forever.

On the other end of the phone was a nurse who identified herself as an ER nurse at Westchester Medical.
She told me she thought they had my son there and that he was involved in a car accident.
I told her that was impossible since it was after 2pm and if something had happened at lunchtime
(the juniors and seniors were allowed out for lunch and most of them took their cars) I would surely have been
notified by the school. She asked if I had a son William, I told her I did, and then she said I needed to get to the
hospital right away. I got back on the phone with my husband and told him what I was just told.
I told him to hurry and meet me at the hospital. Just as I hung up the phone the doorbell rang, it was the fire chief
coming to notify me about the accident since he realized no one had called us. He spoke to my father,
who happened to be visiting, and told him what had happened. He then called for a police car to take
my father and I to the hospital. My oldest son, Jimmy ran across the street to tell his girlfriend what had happened
and then they followed in his car. At this point all we knew was there was an accident and that Billy had head trauma.
On the way to the hospital a doctor called to request permission to do a procedure, I told him to do whatever
they needed to do to make my son be ok. When I got to the hospital they brought me into a room where Billy was.
He was in a coma. He didn't have a scratch on him but he had such severe head trauma that there was nothing
they could do to stop his brain from swelling. We were told his brain stem was slowing dying and it was just a matter
of time before Billy would no longer be able to sustain life. At about that same time everyone started arriving at the
hospital. All of Billy's friends and their parents were there. The halls of the hospital were lined with his friends,
coaches, teachers and family. There must have been over 100 people there. Everyone tried to wake
him up but he just wouldn't open his beautiful big brown eyes. After a while they moved him to intensive care.
By midnight most of the people had left and my family sat with Billy. I sent my sons home to try to get some rest
only to have to call them a short time later to come back. Billy had taken a turn for the worse.

Early the next morning, April 3rd, I started making some calls to Billy's closest friends to tell them
they needed to come to the hospital to see Billy. I tried, as gently as I could, to let them know that it was to say goodbye.
Billy's friends started arriving at the hospital again. They didn't really know what to expect. They sat with him,
talked to him, joked, anything they could think of. Nothing worked. Most of that day was spent letting people
see Billy to say good-bye. The doctors had told us that he wasn't going to get well.

My husband and I decided to donate Billy's organs to help others to live.
Billy was able to donate his heart, liver, both kidney's, pancreas and 1 lung (the other was damaged in the accident).
We also donated his cornea's. Knowing that Billy still lives on in others does help some.
We finally left the hospital at around 10pm. The nurse called me at 5:30am to let me know that Billy's
surgery went well and all the organs were on their way to help others.

Everything after that gets foggy, we came home and the next day started making arrangements.
The community we live in was amazing. Everyone was there for us.  At Billy's wake there were over 3,000 who attended.
He was so loved by all. His funeral was attended by over 1000 people. His grammar school, St. Margaret's,
cancelled school for the day in his honor and our church had audio and video set up in other areas
to try to accommodate so many people. Never have I seen anything like it except after September 11th,
when a friend who was a New York city firefighter, was killed in the towers. It was heartwarming
to know that he was loved by so many.

After that first horrible week the cards, letters and food keep coming, as well as the many people who stopped
by to support us and to just to make sure we didn't need anything. Friends, relatives and strangers all were
there for us. For their unending support we truly thank them. Even now, 23 months later we still receive a card
or letter or someone stops by or calls just to say they are thinking of us.
We were truly blessed with amazing friends.




My Angel Bear,
designed & given to me for Mother's Day 2003  by Billy's friends.












You are listening to 'Time In A Bottle' by Jim Croce