Never Forgetting the Victims & Their Families

Michael Jay Nass
Age 26

I can still feel the gentle breeze and the beauty of the day when we brought our baby, Michael, home from the hospital.  As he grew, and for twenty-six years, the promise of that day never faltered.  No matter what life brought us, we were able to overcome, because we had our child who brought us enough joy to counteract anything.  Three years later, when we were blessed with another wonderful son, Clifford, our utmost wishes were realized.  Then, in one shattering moment, everything changed.  One ring of the doorbell and our lives were changed forever.  We were told that a 30-year-old woman who had been driving drunk killed Michael.

How can a parent put into words twenty-six years of love, happiness, pride and fulfillment?  How does one express the promise lost when a beloved child is gone?

I remember all the wonderful times we had.  Every day, it seemed something exciting would happen with Mike around.  He was very gifted and always won awards for things he tried, but he hated it if we bragged about it.
He was very creative and energetic.  He crowded so much into his short 26 years.  His humorous skit was chosen for the Princeton Triangle Club production one year, and it was taken on tour another year.

We always knew that Mike would become a scientist.  He read every book pertaining to science that he could.  He took extra courses in science at the Gifted Child School on Saturdays.  While at Princeton, he was one of only a few young people to be chosen to work on the moon landing (in California).

Cliff graduated from Princeton a week before Mike received his Doctorate and so Mike flew to Princeton and we all shared the festivities, then watched with pride as Cliff received his diploma. 

When Mike was killed, we received letters from around the world.  Friends and family told us of his enthusiasm, infectious joy of life, his charm and his kindness.  They spoke of his love of family which was uppermost in his life, his willingness to share, his humanitarian gestures, his compassion for his fellow man, and his sweetness.  His colleagues and professors spoke of his brilliance in Physics and the computer, and of their appreciation and love for him as a man.  Two of Mike’s roommates paid him the most beautiful tribute.  They named their sons after him.  I cried for days because of the sweetness of the gesture and for the realization that Mike was really gone.

Memories are a personal thing, and cannot bring back our loved one.  They are important only to those who have shared in those memories.  But, if one drunk driver can realize from these memories, the terrible and searing pain he could inflict on a family  (perhaps his own), then it is worth the tears I shed as this has been written.

Submitted by Florence Nass*

*Florence Nass, co-founder/director of our organization, and dedicated fighter of drunk driving, passed away on August 23, 2002.