Christopher Lee Kent
02/27/83 - 08/08/01
My only son Christopher was born on February 27, 1983 in San Francisco, weighing in at 9 lbs. 12 ounces. Growing up, Chris was surrounded by my family, which included his great-grandparents (Nana & Papa), his grandparents, 3 aunts & an uncle. He was the only child in the family until his cousin Kyle was born almost 4 years ago.
His father and I had the usual child/parent conflicts with Chris and we went to family counseling as well as taking Chris to see a personal counselor (recommended by the school counselor), but he was never diagnosed with anything, but they wanted to put him on Prozac anyway. After a month Chris stopped taking them, indicating he didn’t need them.
When Chris was 16 he started in Taekwondo and loved it. He also asked if he could join the “Independent Study” program at school (instead of attending regular school). Those two things changed his life (or so we thought). He wanted to become a teacher in Taekwondo and his grade point average went from 1.2 to 3.8 at his graduation day. Although he continued with school his interest in Taekwondo was diminishing after he turned 17 and decided he liked hanging out and dating.
The last year had been one constant struggle. He wanted to run free with his friends but his father and I insisted he keep a responsible life (work part-time, graduate and be home at a decent hour).
When he turned 18, he got his driver’s license & a tattoo. He told me that the tattoo was a picture that he had made himself because it was a symbol that he had made it...he never thought that he would make it to 18. We knew of his past feelings and that is why we tried so hard to keep him safe, but that remark made us think he had finally grown up. It really threw us off guard.
We bought him a ‘68 VW bug, which was designed for off-road, cool looking and very loud. He loved it. He worked part time, made almost all of our curfews and graduated with his class in June 2001. He obtained a full time job and two weeks later he moved out, we gave him his savings as promised.
He quit his job, slept all day, hung out and drank all night. He was arrested for DUI on July 4th (which we didn’t know about until after he was gone) and then sent me an email apologizing for everything and asking if we could talk...but he never showed.
Weeks later he came by and said he had a job and stopped drinking. He slept over and we visited the family, he gave everyone a special memory he had remembered about them (but he did it privately with everyone) and that night he hugged his father and gave me a high five before leaving.
Four days later we received a phone call at 6:00 a.m. from his ex-girlfriend saying “he was in town, drunk and she called the police” I was so sick to my stomach that I called in sick (which I never do). I went about my morning as you would if you called in sick, but weren’t. My husband called at 11:50 a.m. to ask if I had heard anything from Chris, but I hadn’t.
I flipped on the noon news (which I never do) and there it was, my baby’s car smashed....unrecognizable, but the announcer indicated a VW on the highway he travels at the time he was traveling it that morning. I knew in my gut that it was him. He had driven his car head-on into the path of a gravel truck, knowing that his small, old VW didn't stand a chance in hurting the truck or it's driver...and he was right.
After that there was a blur of events, the sheriff’s confirmation and after contacting his roommates, we found that he left a note. It was 08/08/01. The day my world ended. They didn't allow us to see him.
The American Taekwondo Association honored Chris with his first-degree black belt at his memorial service.