What's there to be grateful for when your child's life is stolen in the space of an instant with no warning?
I'm grateful that Dustin's life ended in the space of an instant and that all evidence indicates he had no warning. I like to picture it as Dustin just riding along on his bike thinking happy thoughts about the evening he'd just spent with friends. He was doing one of the things he most enjoyed in the world (biking!), he had just been planning a trip to the beach with people he had loved for a long time, and he was happier in his life and with himself than I had ever known him to be.
He was going to college and doing well. He was not only participating in groups and activities of great interest to him, but he was progressing as a leader and as an informed and intelligent commentator. It was not only a great honor to him but also a testament to his ability and likability that he went to his first Americans United for Separation of Church and State in February 2011 and was voted to the board just three months later. He was so thrilled! He organized AUs participation in the Portland Gay Pride Parade and was slated to organize their participation in the Vancouver Peace and Justice Fair. http://nwfreethought.org/index.php/dustin-finney-memorial-award.html#.URSbEmfoaSo
As evidence of how well he was thought of in life, in memorium, he is being honored with the Dustin Finney Memorial Award to be given for the first time at the Northwest Freethought Alliance conference in April. This is an award of $500 for school books for students of Environmental Science who are also participating in community activities, like Dustin was. http://nwfreethought.org/index.php/dustin-finney-memorial-award.html#.URSbEmfoaSo
And of course, he had the profound love and pride of his mother and step-father, sisters and brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles, other biological family members, and his friends who were and still are his other family. He was such a loving and intelligent man. We miss him so much!
So, more I think than anything else in my life, I am deeply grateful that he died in an instant with no warning.