December 21, 2002 – April 24, 2004
When our third child Alec was born, his eyes looked so small. The nurse laughed and said, Oh no, his eyes are every bit as big as the rest of him. She was right. Alec did have the biggest, loveliest blue eyes.
I am the last of eight children and when Alec was born in December 2002, he became my parent’s 25th grandchild. Alec was the happiest baby. It was so easy to make him laugh and our other 2 children loved to do that.
Adriann and I have always made the safety of our children our highest priority. One of the major reasons we bought our house that we live in was because it is the last house on a dead-end street and we knew it would be safer for the kids. Adriann bought cargo nets for our station wagon to keep objects from flying around in case of an accident. Our children are the most important thing in our lives, and there is so much I could share about them, but this letter would be way too long.
No parent is ever prepared to lose a child. I always thought the worst thing I would have to do is bury my parents. But on April 24th of last year, a close family member backed up his SUV and ran over Alec, killing him instantly. I can not tell you how devastated our family has been from this horrific accident. We have faith and we know Alec is in heaven; however our hearts are still broken.
We are fortunate to have no regrets with him. Adriann is a flight attendant, but with family leave and other time off, she never had to leave him to go to work. We brought him everywhere. In Alec’s 16 months, he flew to Italy, Aruba, San Francisco, Chicago, Florida, Washington DC and Kentucky. He even skied on my back in the Catskills. He did more in his short life then some people do in lifetime. It is our hope that in his death, he will have more of an impact on people’s lives than most do.
In the year since Alec died we have been grieving him every day, and I am sure that will go on for the rest of our lives. We have been busy helping our other children through this agonizing time, and cannot speak highly enough of Bereavement Counseling. We were blessed with a daughter in February, and I can’t tell you how much she means to us and the rest of our family. We have also been busy honoring Alec’s life and trying to make a difference to others. Over $50,000 was donated by friends, family and strangers to build Alec’s Playground for children in a poor neighborhood in Huntington Station. Now those children have a safe place to play. Last December, in honor of Alec’s second birthday, dinner was cooked for veterans at the Northport VA Hospital on Christmas day, and we gave 70 pairs of winter gloves, hats and thermal socks as a gift to everyone who came to the dinner.
We also created the Alec William Nelson Charitable Corporation whose primary goal is to help children and families in need. We met with social workers from the local school district and Alec’s Corporation started paying for needy children’s lunches. Many of these children can’t afford school field trips and after school programs, things that most of us take for granted. We are trying to make a small difference in these children’s lives by sponsoring them for these activities, instead of them having to stay in the nurse’s office or the library while their class goes on a field trip. In April, we organized a 4 mile race in our hometown of Dix Hills and over 500 people came and ran in Alec’s Run, “A Celebration of Life”. It was a wonderful event and we also informed people of the dangers of the “blind spot” behind vehicles, which is so big, it is now being called the blind zone.
We have also been working with Kids And Cars. This organization has made tremendous strides in working to make cars safer for children, but there is much more to be done. We were appalled to learn that this type of tragedy kills at least two children a week across America and injures thousands every year.
There have been at least two incidents on Long Island since Alec’s. People just don’t realize how quickly something like this can happen and there are no official statistics being kept, just the ones the Kids And Cars is able to document. Tragically, most of these incidents are preventable and most of the time the driver is the child’s parent or family member. I can’t begin to tell you how this devastates a family. Even if we can help prevent one family from going through what we are going through, it is well worth it.
They say that the death of a child robs the parents of the future. Every day we wonder about Alec, what he would look like, what he would be saying, how he would play with his brother and sisters. We have met many bereaved parents and we have that common bond, the pain and agony of losing a child. You know what you have all gone through, and are going though, every day of your life. Our lives are forever changed. It is our hope that through awareness and existing technology,the tragic backover deaths can be eliminated. Thank you for taking the time to read about our little boy Alec, who is loved and missed so dearly.
Alec’s Mom and Dad.
Read more about the Nelson Family:
Running to Honor Alec’s Memory
(please add link to PDF file titled: Runningtohonoralec.pdf)
One Family’s Tragedy Prompts Call For SUV Safety
(please add link to PDF file named: 2005-08-24-WABC-AlecNelson.pdf)
Family campaigns in late toddler’s memory
(please add link to PDF file named: 2007-04-21-NewsDay-AlecNelson.pdf)