Written by Victim Services Specialist Kelley Dair
My twin brother Scott called me every week or two. He had so much on his plate – working full time, going to school in the evenings, and being an engaged and loving father to his young son. But he made time to call me.
If you ask my older sister and me, we’ll tell you that Scott was the best one of the three of us. He was so caring, loving, smart, humble, and funny. He looked out for us and offered to help us in any way he could.
Scott and I talked about how we were going to take care of our parents as they got older. He planned to transfer to an office closer to them so he could take them to doctor appointments. I lived farther away, so I was going to see if they would stay with me when they needed more hands-on care.
He wanted what was best for all of us. Before Scott left for his work trip to Miami, he laid out clothes for his son, Finn (5 years old at the time), to wear to preschool that week and cooked food for his wife and son to eat while he was away. He was looking forward to returning home so he could watch his son play in his very first basketball game – a sport Scott loved. There was no way he could have known that he would never see his son or the rest of his family and friends again.
A 21 year old drunk driver stole Scott from all of us. I never got to say goodbye or tell him how I love and admire him so much. How much he means to me, how much I’m sorry about stupid things I said and did. How he is an amazing brother, and an off-the-charts father to his son. How I’m sorry I didn’t call and visit more often. How I wish I could have given my life to save him.
The last time I saw Scott was in November 2015 when our family came to my house in Charlotte, North Carolina for Thanksgiving. While most of the adults were inside chatting, Scott was outside making a pile of leaves for his son and nieces to jump in. He was a kid at heart and loved seeing them have fun.
Scott was in Miami hailing a taxi when he was hit by a drunk driver. The woman drove up onto the sidewalk where he was standing and hit him and his fellow agent. She knew she had hit people, but she kept on going – leaving Scott bleeding in the road. His wife Suzy called me when she heard. I thought, it’s ok, he will be ok. Then she said he has brain damage… I was not going to let any of this sink in until I saw him in person. I mean – he has to be ok.
Our family went to the hospital where we saw the extent of Scott’s injuries. He was unresponsive and had a breathing machine. He had staples from the front to the back of his head, a tube trying to relieve the pressure on his brain, and internal injuries. He had minimal brain activity. My husband, a doctor, gently let me know that he would not make it. Scott died 9 days after he was hit.
If you knew Scott, you would not be surprised that he was as generous in life as he was in death. He was an organ donor and saved many people’s lives. While it was the right decision under the circumstances, when we were informed about the organ recipients it further reinforced that Scott really was gone.
I think our minds sometimes protect us from things we can’t handle. Even after Scott’s cremation and funeral services, I went to a grief therapist hoping that she could help me figure out how to bring him back.
We heard Finn’s cries in the middle of the night: “Please bring my Daddy back. I want my Daddy!!” Scott loved Finn more than life itself and they were best friends. As devastating as Scott’s death was for me, my heart broke even more for Finn. Scott was an incredible and irreplaceable father.
Now, I keep a running list of memories of Scott and share them with Finn. Whenever I hear other memories, I add them to the list. We cherish the memories and pictures.
My family’s MADD Victim’s Advocate was there for us as we grieved and went through the criminal justice process. She understood that the loss for each of us was devastating and significant, and that each of our family and friends grieved differently. She empathized with our grief and provided support.
Because of her support, I decided to volunteer with MADD as a victim impact panel speaker and court monitor. After a year of volunteering, I joined MADD as a victim services specialist. All of my work with MADD is done in honor of Scott. Although I can’t bring him back, I can help others who have experienced the pain of loss and injury at the hands of impaired drivers.
When I find myself dwelling in sadness, I try to refocus my thoughts on the happy times I had with Scott, and how I am blessed to have had him as my brother for 41 years. He is often in my dreams, and I know that his spirit is with us all.
While MADD was founded by a mother who lost her daughter, we are also here for sisters, brothers, fathers, friends, co-workers, and others – all who have been impacted by an impaired driving crash.
For all the siblings who have lost a brother or sister – my heart goes out to you on National Siblings Day and every day. We know your grief is real and your loss is unimaginable. MADD is here for you too.
In loving memory of Jeremy Scott McGuire,
September 30, 1974 – January 24, 2016