March 18, 2018 changed our lives forever. It was 8:50 am on a Sunday morning when the phone rang. It was an unknown number from Los Angeles, CA and knowing that it was 5:50 am in California, I felt I should answer the phone. No one could ever have prepared me for what I was about to hear. The person on the other end of the phone was asking me if I was Susan Becker and if I knew Emery Becker and then proceeded with the typical questions. “Are you alone?” “Are you sitting down?” I knew then what I was going to hear, “Emery had been in an accident and had died”. It was not until much later in the evening that we find out that Emery had not been in an accident, but that he had been first struck by a hit and run, stood up and then was hit a second time by a drunk driver and was pronounced dead on site. We were told that witnesses attempted to revive him. Our hearts sank.  A drunk driver!  Emery’s namesake, his great-grandfather had also been killed by a drunk driver 66 years earlier as well as a 10 year old twin daughter. You hear of that happening but never expect it to happen to you.

Emery was a 25-year-old young man less than 3 years out of college with his whole life ahead of him. He loved life and was a beautiful talented, brilliant, loving, caring, passionate, sensitive young man who had a way of making everyone feel like they were special.

His personal motto and message to the world was to not stay in your comfort zone but to go out into the world and see the beauty in it, to get lost and find greatness. He found ways to bring a community together and continues to do so. He threw himself into every project, every friendship, and every relationship. Emery Becker had a tremendous amount of love for the world and the people in it. It is visible through his photography.

A day does not go by that we do not think of Emery and we miss him so much.  Emery has a twin sister, Clara. Any children she may have will only know their uncle Emery through pictures and stories because a 22 year-old woman decided it was more important to go to a bar and drink then get behind the wheel of her friends car and hit Emery causing his death. In his short 25 years he understood what it meant to live life and the world is worse off without him in it.

I walk to keep living. I am determined to keep Emery’s memory alive and to find ways for Emery to impact others as he did when he was alive. I am determined for his future family members and friends to know Emery and his love for them even if he is not here. As time went on I realized I needed to find a way to honor Emery, to remember him in sorrow and joy with others who had experienced the same loss.

During the first year I often wondered what was next for me. I worked with Emery’s high school and college to create scholarships in his name and knew that I would eventually become involved with MADD. I just did not know when. As a family we attended the MADD candle vigils in Los Angeles and Indianapolis and I knew there was still more I wanted to do. When I decided to participate in the Walk Like MADD event in Indiana, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for and it was the perfect way for friends and family to join in raising awareness. The walk provided an opportunity to remember and honor loved ones. It was a chance for the community to come together to heal. It was a place to ensure loved ones are always remembered. For victims to know they are not alone.  I walk to raise awareness so that these senseless crashes stop.

Thank you for letting me tell you about my Emery. He is gone. But like so many others, thanks to MADD, he will never be forgotten.