Friday, April 11, 2008

In Loving Memory...

In my last post, I said that things have to get better, right? Well life proved me wrong.

It showed me things can still get worse in such a tragic and senseless way…

Early in the morning on Saturday April 5th my brother in-law, Lydel Lee Knutson, died in a car accident.

My Saturday started with a call from the Red Cross. They were in need for people with my blood type (AB+) to donate platelets. She said there were only 5 people with my blood type on her list, and I was the only one she was able to get a hold of. So I went in and donated my platelets/plasma. One more donation and I will reach 4 gallons! That’s 32 donations to the Red Cross!

After the donation, Aaron and I tried to go shopping but no store in Madison had exactly what we wanted. We drove all over the west side, looking with no luck. We then got in an argument, gave-up, and just went back home.

When we got home there was a message on the machine. Aaron listened to it and said, “Some guy named Tommy left you a message, it sounds like he is breaking up with you…”

“What!? I don’t know any Tommys...” So I went over to listen to the message myself.

It was my mom’s boyfriend, Donnie (Not “Tommy”); he was crying and said I need to call him…

My first instinct was somethings has happened to my mom. They ride motorcycles, so my first thought was mom was in an accident and was injured or killed. So I braced myself for the news and called him back. That’s when I learned Lydel was the one who died… and that everyone was gathering at my mom’s. Becky wants me there and was waiting for me.

After we hung up, I totally lost it. I have been in a depressed funk for so long and this just pushed me over the edge… I screamed and screamed and cried so hard. It wasn’t fair!!! Not him! It can’t be….

Aaron tried to comfort me, but I didn’t want to be held. I just wanted to keep screaming, crying and be instantly teleported to my sister’s side. Aaron stayed calm and said we could not go yet.

“But she NEEDS ME!!!!”

“Yes, she needs you, but not when you are like this.”

I cried a lot more because what he said was true. (Why is he ALWAYS right!) Soon I was able to compose myself and we went to my mom’s. My sister was out on the back porch smoking. I went out and held her and she told me the whole story…

Becky and her husband were out at the bar she tends at celebrating the end of their Pool League with their teammates and friends. Lydel then said he wanted to go home. Becky knew neither of them were safe to drive, so she said she would call their roommate, Joel, to pick them up. The Bartender also said he’d be happy to give them a safe ride home. He had TWO safe rides home… But Lydel was naughty, snuck off and drove away by himself…

Becky was frustrated that he left, but stayed at the party. She helped the bartender close bar (since she works there too) and got a ride home from him. When she got there, Lydel was not home. She called his friends to see if he was with them with no luck. She called all the hospitals and the jails. She called everyone. No one knew where he was.

Later she drove around looking for him with their dog. She took their black lab with because she knew that if she found Lydel, he would want to see their dog.

Then she came upon the squad cars, fire truck, and saw the ambulance driving away with the lights off, and she just knew… Becky pulled over and got out of the truck. She said the firefighters and cops looked terrified to see her… not knowing what to say. They could tell who she was. Becky doesn’t really remember the next 5 minutes or so, the next thing she did remember was sitting on the gravel in the ditch and the coroner saying, “I think you already know that Lydel did not survive this accident.”

Joel, their roommate, who has been a tow truck driver for over 10 years, said that the wreck was in the top ten of the worst he had ever seen, and that says a lot. They said that even if Lydel had worn his seatbelt - he would have died in the crash. They also said he died on one of the first rolls, broke his neck. That was a comfort to Becky, knowing he died quickly. The thought of him trapped in the wreckage slowly dying for hours… it was good to know he did not suffer.

It was a huge comfort to me that Becky did not go home with him that night. I am so thankful that she is still with us… but I feel so much grief for the loss of Lydel.

Here is his obituary:

Name: Lydel Lee Knutson
Died: April 5, 2008


Lydel Lee Knutson, age 28, passed away on Saturday, April 5, 2008, as a result of a car accident. He was born on Aug. 26, 1979, in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Lydel graduated from Monona Grove High School in 1998. He served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps., from 1998 to 2002. Lydel was united in marriage to Rebecca "Becky" Frey on Jan. 14, 2006. He worked alongside his dad, Lewis, as a laborer for Vogel Construction. Lydel was a member of Local Union No. 464. He was a fun loving and adventuresome person, who loved being around people. Lydel enjoyed the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. Above all, he simply loved spending time with his family and friends. Lydel is survived by his wife, Becky of Cottage Grove; his father, Lewis (Dee) Knutson of Edgerton; his mother, Karen Aycox of Jacksonville, Fla.; brother, Lewis (Jennifer) Knutson II of Ferryville; a sister, Karalee White of Baraboo; a step-brother, Cory (April Whiting) Park of Madison; paternal grandmother, Evelyn Knutson of Ferryville; two brothers-in-law, Jeffrey (Shari) Frey of Marshall and Tim Frey of Kohler; two sisters-in-law, Jessica (Aaron) Scott of Madison and Samantha Zweck of Stoughton; mother-in-law, Debra Olson of Stoughton; 13 nieces and nephews; and other family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Leonard Knutson; sister, Alicia Knutson; and father-in-law, Thomas Frey. Funeral services will be held at ST. PAUL'S LIBERTY LUTHERAN CHURCH, 3494 Oak Park Rd., Deerfield, at 10 a.m., on Wednesday, April 9, 2008, with the Rev. Dan Anderson presiding. Burial will be at South Kickapoo Cemetery, Crawford County with military rites conducted. Visitation will be at GUNDERSON STOUGHTON FUNERAL HOME, Hwy. 51 North at Jackson St., Stoughton, from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m., on Tuesday, April 8, 2008.

To help Becky during this time I have set up this donation link. Your contributions, thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.

Lydel and Becky reading "Green Eggs and Ham"
to eachother Christmas 2007.

Thank you,

Jessica Scott


LC said...


I am so sorry for your loss, and for your sister's. We are all touched by tragedy sooner or later, and I'm so sorry yours came at this point, and in this way.

Know that your online fan is thinking of you and your family.

Anonymous said...

To the Family & Friends of Lydel...

It is very hard to understand why things like this happen. Every experience in our life is a lesson. No matter our age - we are still learning. It is what we do with those lessons that determine how well we have learned. I think God puts people like Lydel in our lives to teach us how to LOVE and LAUGH, and now that he is gone - we have learned how to CRY. Let all these lessons make us a stronger person, as a tribute to Lydel, and as a tribute to the love he has given all of us.

Rest in Peace Lydel....Job well done.

Jess said...

Dear Tocaya,

It is so sad to hear from your loss. I will be praying for your family to help in some way.

I already joined you in the donation link. Hope it helps.

Sending you a tight hug.
Jessica from Mexico.

Anonymous said...

I've just found your page and was so excited and inspired at all your great and honest advice. And then I came across your blog. It made life very real again.

Your sister is clearly going through an unimaginable trauma and of course you're also suffering heartache and loss. But your pages have shown you have amazing strength and bravery even if you sometimes doubt that.

I would be grateful if you were my sister in this hour of my life, as I'm sure your sister is.

Anonymous said...

Lydel was my cousin, I'd seen him right after he was born, watched him grow up, and was there when he was baptized, at his wedding to Becky, and through so many of the things he did. All the Knutson family get-togethers.

I can still hear his laughter after he'd pick on someone or pull some goofy practical joke, like trying to throw our daughter and her friends in our pool during her graduation party, or out playing volleyball, the only one without his shirt on.

He is going to be missed so much, but as long as we have his memories to pass on, he will still live. Thank you, Lydel, for being who you were, I know God is up there laughing everyday because of you.

We will miss you, but we will see you again one day. And thank you for sending the butterfly the day of your burial, that was a special gift.

Your cousin, Sherry

Kym's Challenge said...

Thoughts are with you and your family all the way from Autralia at this hard time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. I haven't had a chance to speak to anyone to find out what Becky went through. I know that the pain I am feeling is definitely multiplied a thousand times in Becky's heart.

Take care!
Karalee (Lydel's sister)

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you, your sister, and all of his family and friends.

pastgirl said...

I am so, so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

This heart wrenching event has touch so many of the lives of family and friends - far and near. We would certainly like to continue to extend our thoughts and prayers. I think with all the people that love Lydel and Becky - this would be an outlet for people to share stories, memories and just have some avenue to continue to feel the love Lydel extended to so many people. Would you consider (with Becky's blessing)starting a blog to keep Lydel presence alive and full of his playful vigor to all who loved him to share?

Jess said...

I will ask my sister and see about making a page soon.

K. said...

Gosh Jess, I am so profoundly sorry for this tragedy. This is just so sad. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours at this difficult time. Much Love,

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for you and your family's loss. My heart and prayers go out to you all.

Anonymous said...

Jessica, I am so sorry for your family's loss. I knew Lydell and was very close friends with him in Quantico. We had a big close group of Military Police Friends in the Marine Corps. If possible, I would like to get the address of the family and send some pictures of Lydell that they may like to have. I could not imagine how Becky may feel, I know reading your blog made me sick just imagining him rolling in that car. If only we could hear that loud goofy laugh of his just one more time. Please give my regards to your family and tell them they are in my prayers.

Semper Fidelis.
Sgt A. Thomas

Greg said...

Wow, my friend James just called me last night and let me know that Lydel passed last year. I was in the Marines with him and we were roommates for about 2 years. I am so sad to hear that he died. We hadn't kept in touch since he got out of the Marines but he was one of my best friends while we were in. He was such a nut, he could always make me laugh when I needed it, and he really had a good heart too. I am so sorry for the loss his family has been given and I will always remember him as a good friend and an even better person. My condolences to his wife and family, I am so very sorry for your loss.

Greg Parks

Anonymous said...

I just found out. My heart breaks for your loss. Lydel spent many a day and night at our house in Quantico with me and my ex-husband. And before that he was along for many a “date” when I first met my ex, they were close friends. He was always around. And as a result he became a dear friend of mine. Unfortunately, like some many other Marine friends I lost track of him. I am glad to hear he was happy. That he finally found a woman who loved him and made him happy. It isn't a stretch to say that I loved him like a brother, dearly. He had the best laugh and the best smile. And a wonderful outlook on life, he was guaranteed to make any situation better just by being there. I know this comes late but please accept my sincerest condolences. He will be greatly missed by many who knew and loved him.

Barbra Wisniewski Gavaldon