The Drive Home

We had been driving most of the day when we finally reached the town where you were waiting for us.  I spoke to the sheriff alone as your brothers waited in the car. He was very kind as we finished the paperwork. He gave me the address of the home where we would find you.

As we drove across town nobody said a word.

The home's owner met us at the door. He showed us to a private room where we were to sit and wait. We had just seen you two months earlier. We could all remember wishing you well on your new adventure in life. You gave us all huge hugs before driving off.

As they brought you to us I felt my hands shake. Your brothers were silent. There were no words; only tears. As I put my hand on you I could feel my heart breaking. I told you I was so sorry. You went to the car with your brothers as we finished up the paperwork and prepared for our trip home.

We drove for hours without speaking. The landscape passed us by, showing the same rock formations we had driven by just hours earlier. But this time, everything seemed different. Everything had less detail. Even the sound of the road seemed muffled.

After hours of silence I felt a slight tug on my sleeve. When I turned around I could see my wife breaking down, crying. The image I saw beside her was more than I could take; your brother, sound asleep, with his arms wrapped around you, holding you to his chest. His heavy tears were still visible on his cheeks.  I took a picture, even though I knew I may never be able to view it.

I felt angry. If you loved your brothers so much, how could you do this to them? Why didn't you call us before making this decision? Why didn't you realize this effects us all? Did you think we didn't care? Did you think we wouldn't want to help?

I wanted to scream at you from the top of my lungs: Why - WHY?! - would you do this? Can't you see what you're doing to your family? How could you hurt us so bad? How will we ever recover?

There was no answer. Somewhere inside I knew there never would be.

As we pulled into the driveway I was exhausted. We had driven more than a thousand miles with less than a dozen words spoken. My body ached as I carried you into the house. I sat on the couch. rethinking everything I had said. I love you so much. I am so sorry I was not there for you when you needed me. I'm so sorry for the things I screamed at you. I just miss you so much.

I sat for what seemed like hours, just holding you. As I stood up I felt faint, like I wasn't even there. It seemed like a dream. We had cleared off a special spot for you in the niche we all loved.

As I laid  the perfectly folded flag down behind your picture, I knew that I would never let go.  I will hold onto your memory forever, and I will love you for the rest of my life.

Editor's Note: If you are experiencing persistent emotional pain and/or thoughts of suicide, please call your physician or primary care or mental health provider.  If you are in crisis and your provider is not available, do not hesitate to visit your local emergency room or dial 911.  If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, it is okay to get help. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for confidential support. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

Click here for Kyle Adams' obituary. 

A GoFundMe page is available to assist the Adams family with memorial costs. Click here for more information. 

Kyle Adam served in the U.S. Air Force from 2014 to 2018.

Dan Adams
Dan Adams has been a licensed plumbing contractor for nearly 30 years. He owns and operates Edgewood Plumbing  in Redding with his wife, Holly. In 2000 he and Holly moved to Redding from the Bay Area in search of a better place to raise their sons.
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10 Responses

  1. Beverly Stafford says:

    Heart wrenching. There are no words . . .

  2. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    Like Beverly, I can come up with no words that fit. My heart goes out to all of you.

  3. Shelly Shively says:

    Unfathomable and heartbreaking.
    I’m so sorry.

  4. Dear Dan, this is such a sad column, but I thank you for the courage it took you to write it. I pray that your raw and earnest words might help others avoid the suffering that you, your son and your family experienced, and that you and your surviving family members and everyone who loved Kyle will continue to feel.

    I am both honored and heartbroken to publish this. Thank you and bless you and your family, Dan.

  5. AJ AJ says:

    No words . . . none . . . only tears.

  6. Joe Domke Joe Domke says:

    I’m so sorry, Dan.

  7. Karen Bennett says:

    I’m so sorry ~

  8. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    I have no idea what took Kyle to Elko, NV, other than knowing it’s a boomtown. It would be presumptuous to assume that he was socially isolated there.

    So this is wholly from my personal experience: If you know someone who is socially shy and that person is moving off to a new place where they have no family or friends, and where there is no imposition of group camaraderie, check on them often and ask how they’re doing. *Really* ask. Ask how work is going, as what they’re doing for fun, ask about new friendships. And then follow up regularly.

    Humans for the most part aren’t built for social isolation, and shy people can plunge into depression under that circumstance quickly and deeply. That depression may not be obvious at first or second blush, especially if the person’s normal demeanor is somewhat guarded.

    • Linda Cooper says:

      This is such wise advice. I’m too am speaking from experience here. We have landed in Chico after losing our home in the Carr Fire, and after living in Shasta for twenty-six years. It’s the sweet gestures from the neighbors that have sustained us. The young couple next door bringing us a plate of food from their next door party, and the neighbors on the other side offering us the loan of their chairs while gone for a week. They haven’t engaged on the deeper level you mention, Steve. And I understand that. However, your comment, and Dan’s very personal article, are a good reminder for me. I will make the call on Monday for an appointment to “see someone.”

  9. Eleanor Townsend says:

    Dan, you do a service you will never know by writing this for us at ANC. Thank you for the courage this must have taken. I’m sure your son loved you very much.

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