A Bitter Sweet Email to HowiRoll.com

If dreams are like movies, then memories are films about ghosts…

A few days ago I received an email. It was from a guy who’d been the direct cause of his friend’s paralysis roughly a year ago. The email explained how he felt horrible, and that the guilt was eating him apart. He main reason for reaching out was to help his friend find adaptive sports/activities. He explained that, since the injury, his friend seems to be in a dark depressed place, lost, constantly staring off in the distance. He wrote about how they’ve drifted apart in the past year, partly due to his friend’s depression, but mainly due to his deep feeling of guilt.

While I was glad to see this young man reaching out to help his friend, it was also bitter sweet.. I couldn’t help but relate his story to my own. I was injured in a car accident January 26, 1999, which was caused by a best friend who was driving. . The result was paralysis and a wheelchair. My friend and I drifted apart, just like the young man who emailed me a few days ago. So I wrote him back, sharing my experience, suggesting he shouldn’t allow the guilt to distance their friendship.  Also answered his questions, offering contact information for a couple organizations that may interest his buddy.

The emotional experience reminded me of a VH1 “Behind the Music” episode about Leif Garrett. During the late 1970’s Leif Garrett was a teen idol, on top of the world. But in 1979, just 3 days prior to his 18th birthday, he crashed his car while under the influence of Quaaludes and alcohol. The car accident left his best friend Roland Winkler a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair.  For the 1st time in 20 years they confront one another on this episode.  Eerie..After the crash, Leif publicly promised to look after his best friend Roland. Although, lawsuits and judgments left the 2 friends estranged… Until 20 years later during Leif Garrett’s VH1 “Behind the Music” filming. The producers told Leif that they’d found his estranged friend Roland. To this day, watching that moment in the episode is eerie for me, as if his heart sank and he saw a ghost… Each and every time I watch the episode it hits close to home, and I get the chills… Below, split into 5 parts, is the entire episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music” Leif Garrett. If short on time, start watching at part 4. This is where the producer tells him they’ve found his friend Roland and they reunite. I strongly suggest watching. Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the episode.

Part 1: VH1 “Behind the Music” Leif Garrett

Part 2: VH1 “Behind the Music” Leif Garrett

Part 3: VH1 “Behind the Music” Leif Garrett

Part 4: VH1 “Behind the Music” Leif Garrett

Part 5: VH1 “Behind the Music” Leif Garrett

I wish my old friend who crashed in 1999 could watch this entire episode, wherever he may be…


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Showing 4 comments
  • Janette

    Thanks son. This brought back a volume of feelings. You know what is so sad is that even though the one who was the injured person has completely forgiven the one who was at least in part the cause has not been able to forgive himself. And you have to ask yourself why? To me, there is no more freeing a feeling than to truly know forgiveness. I am grateful beyond expression that you are free son. I love you always and forever.

  • Trung Vu

    Thank you for your help Jacob. I hope everyone can really learn a lot from you. You’ve made me realize a lot of things. Greatly appreciated.

    • Jacob

      Trung, I’m glad to help bro. Let me know if you or your friend ever need anything. I’d like to point your buddy in the right direction. Stay positive brother.

  • Kirk

    Whoa, that is intense!

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