It was another cold snowy winter afternoon in downtown Toronto where the Johnson family was preparing for Christmas and their second annual holiday party. As it is just days away from Christmas Eve, there is preparation going on for the arrival of guests and family for their party later that evening. The streets were filled with lights and decorations as their home began to take similar form. Although, they are struggling financially because Luke recently lost his job, so this has taken the shine off the celebrations. Luke struggled to avoid showing up late and hungover which cost him his job, and his laziness and lack of motivation has prevented him from finding another.
“Could you get off your lazy ass and give me a hand setting up?” said Emma to her husband Luke while she continued to work strenuously to make the house seem perfect.
“I shouldn’t have to help you can handle it all on your own,” he responded as he finished another beer in the living room while playing with their daughter Annie.
“Why don’t you get up and actually do something you drunk, I can’t do everything around here!”
“I’m spending time with Annie, but what would you like me to do then sweethea--”
“Don’t call me that. Just go to the store and get some more chips and snacks for the party and more beer since you drank it all.”
“Whatever you want but I’m going to need money to pay for it,” Luke said as he grabbed money from her and began heading for the door.
“You better hurry, I need you to come back and look after Annie while I work on dinner and drinks,” said Emma as she sat Annie in the kitchen.
The snowfall had gotten heavier as Luke embraced the cold stepping outside towards his old rusty beat down car. It was getting later in the day with a dark wintery sky making it difficult to see the roads ahead. Having to make a couple different stops that were a few blocks away with little traffic and bad conditions, Luke began to speed up aggressively to get to where he needed to be as quick as possible. As he dangerously drifted around an icy corner and continued to swerve down the street, Luke suddenly heard police sirens and the bright flashing lights blinded him as he immediately pulled over.
He nervously rolled down his window to see what would happen next. The police officer slowly walked over to Luke’s car and bent over to speak through the window.
“What’s the rush over here, you need to be somewhere in a hurry?” the policeman asked as he pointed his flashlight into Luke’s car.
“No officer, I was just h-h-heading to pick up a few things for my w-wife,” Luke answered as he struggled to not slur his words.
“It sounds like you’re having some trouble with your words and I smell some alcohol in here, have you been drinking at all tonight?”
“Uhhh, yes I have been officer,” he admitted while sweating heavily in the cold.
“I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the car please.”
Following the request of the police officer, Luke stumbled out of the car and was unable to walk straight or stand up normally. After determining that he was just over the legal blood alcohol content level to drive and the situation in place, the officer came to a verdict on the penalties that he would face.
“You’re a very lucky man Mr. Johnson, not only did you avoid getting into an accident from your reckless behaviour, but I have decided to not charge you with a DUI but you will have a $300 fine and 3 demerit points for speeding and breaking traffic laws,” said officer David, “consider this an eye opener and early Christmas gift if you will to be able to go home to your family.”
Luke was taken home by police officers as his car was left parked at the side of the road. He was very fortunate to receive the outcome that occurred considering the severity of his actions. Meanwhile, waiting for him at home was Emma who was not impressed whatsoever at the events that occurred.
“Are you kidding me Luke?! How could you have been so stupid to have gotten caught doing that!” yelled Emma as the police left their home.
“Emma let me expla--”
“You should have told me that you were too drunk to drive and couldn’t go out to the store! What if you got into an accident?!”
“I know I’m sor--”
“What if you never came home Luke? What would happen to our daughter if she never saw you again?”
There was a silence between the two. Emma began to breakdown and cry as she looked at Luke, “I don’t know if I could ever live without you, I would be broken if I lost you.”
Luke was speechless as he stared deeply into Emma’s tear filled eyes.
“I’m sorry, I never meant for this to happen or to hurt you.” “I just can’t do this right now I don’t even want to look at you,” sobbed Emma, “we have to finish getting ready before the guests show up and no one can ever find out about what you did.”
The couple immediately acted as the incident never occurred and went their separate ways as Emma infuriated, went back to preparations for the party and the arrival of guests while Luke just sat back down and continued to drink. Sitting on the living room floor while watching everything unfold was Annie, frightened and confused, she turned to her dad for an answer.
“Daddy, why is mommy so upset?” asked Annie, “what did you do wrong?”
“Everything’s going to be okay sweetie, don’t worry about a thing.”
“Please don’t be sad daddy, I love you,” Annie said as hugged her father.
“I love you too Annie.”
Time began to pass and it was well into the evening with guests and family having all arrived. Dinner and drinks were being served and everyone was having a good time interacting with each other. Emma was walking around socializing and catching up with everyone while Luke continued to drink and entertain guests.
“Emma! How are you, I haven’t seen you in forever!” said Jamie, an old friend of Emma’s.
“Hi Jamie! I’m doing great it’s so nice to see you!”
“Your house looks amazing; you guys must’ve spent so much time to make it look so incredible!”
“Yeah it was definitely a lot of work but I guess it was worth it all!”
“Your little girl is adorable, you and Luke must be so happy everything in your life just seems so perfect.”
Emma smiled and nodded as she tried to hold back all her emotions and act as if everything in their life was superb.
It was half past midnight and the party had died down as only Luke, Emma and Annie were the remaining in the quiet house. Annie was put to sleep and Luke and Emma were left with the mess to look after in their home. Empty bottles and dishes of food were found in every direction and there was a lingering smell of alcohol that filled the house which largely seemed to originate from Luke.
“Luke, the parties over, can you please stop drinking now and help me clean up?” “You can clean up yourself you don’t need my help,” Luke uttered as he stumbled to grab himself yet another drink.
“That’s it I’ve had enough! You can’t keep drinking like this I can’t deal with you anymore you need to stop now!”
“Maybe you’re the problem not me drinking! Did you ever think about that?”
“What is wrong with you do you even care about this family anymore?! Get out of this house, just leave!”
“If you want me to leave I’ll leave; I have no problem with that!” screamed Luke as he stormed out the door.
As he was leaving the house, Luke swiped Emma’s car keys by the front door while she was occupied looking after Annie who was woken up terrified by the yelling and screaming. He sat in the car frustrated and hesitant about what to do just following being kicked out. Luke, clearly unstable and extremely impaired came to the conclusion that the best way to solve his problems was to keep drinking so he decided to drive to the local bar that was open late. He started the car and began to drive in the direction of the bar. The road conditions have extremely worsened as the streets were covered by sheets of ice and layers of snow on top. Unable operate the car properly under severe impairment and treacherous conditions, Luke somehow managed to swerve and slide his way down the road. As he sped up, he suddenly hit a bump in the road. The car began spinning uncontrollably in whichever direction it wanted. Incapable of stopping the car, Luke helplessly began to panic doing everything he could, until everything came to a sudden stop.
It has been exactly 6 weeks from the day of the accident. On the night of December 21, 2016, Luke Johnson had an argument with his wife where he left and was driving dangerously intoxicated when he abruptly lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a telephone pole. Luke has been in intensive care, deep in a coma from which he may never wake. Days and days pass by and Emma and Annie are found sitting bedside praying that he wakes.
“Alright sweetie, it’s time to go home. We’ll come back again tomorrow, say goodbye to daddy.”
“Okay mommy. Goodbye daddy, please wake up soon. I love you.”
On the way out, Emma was stopped by Dr. Elliot, who was the expert in charge of Luke’s recovery: “Hi Mrs. Johnson, may I have a word?” he asked. “Yes of course, Annie go wait with the nurse. How is my husband doing?” “That’s actually what I wanted to speak with you about. We have done some more extensive test on your husband, and it has shown that the damage deep in the center of his brain stem was more fearful than we thought.”
“What do you mean? Is he never going to wake up?”
“I’m afraid not, the destruction that Luke’s brain endured in the crash is showing no improvements and is slowly continuing to deteriorate and destroy the structure of his brain.”
“Are you serious? That’s it? He’s just never going to get better?” asked Emma, disheartened and panicking frantically.
“Yes, all that can be done now is to detach and remove all treatment methods to put him to rest in peace. We can hold off until tomorrow so you and your daughter can come say your goodbyes.”
“No, I don’t want my daughter to have to go through that. I want to say my goodbyes and let you do what’s needed.”
“Alright, I’ll give you your time, I’m sorry for your loss.”
Tears filled her eyes as the worst possible news had just been given to her. Broken hearted, she walked into the hospital room for the final time where her husband lay peacefully.
Emma sat next to his bed and held his hand, feeling completely crush and with a heavy heart she whispered to him, “Luke, I love you so much. I wish we had never fought on that night you left, if we didn’t, maybe you would still be home. Thank you for trying to give me the life we’ve always wanted, a warm, safe home and a beautiful daughter who loves us and wants you to be home more than anything. I’m sorry I couldn’t do better for you. I couldn’t stop the anger, the depression, the drinking problems, you deserved a better life than what had turned out. I’ll always love you forever.”
The night had disappeared but the sun still rose, in the wake of the families agonizing loss. Annie, who was clueless to what has unfolded, patiently waited to her dad early that morning.
“Mommy, can we go see daddy now?”
“I’m sorry Annie, we can’t see daddy anymore.”
“Why can’t we see him?”
“Daddy’s gone sweetheart, he’s never going to wake up.”
In complete disbelief, Annie and Emma sat in each other’s arms as they cried knowing Luke would never come home, and their family would never be the same.