If you are a CADI (someone who caused accidental death or injury), or if you are trying to help a CADI, you can find support and encouragement by sharing your experience. In so doing, you also help others in need. Please join the conversation. Tell us your story, ask a question, respond to someone who posted here, or offer your advice and guidance.
Some Recent Comments
From D: Back in November, I accidentally killed a homeless man who ran in front of my car. I posted about it on here right around that time. I am still devastated over it.
I spent six months staying quiet about how much shame and guilt I felt because EVERY SINGLE PERSON would say “it wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t feel guilty” any time I talked about it. Or they’d give the sad eyes whenever I would mention I was having a hard time. Sometimes, even now, they even interrupt me to tell me it wasn’t my fault. I think we all know how unhelpful and dismissive that can be, even when they have the best intentions. However, it made me feel more alone than I’d ever felt in my life. Nobody truly understands unless they’ve been through it themselves. I will stand by that statement until the end of time…
But I finally feel like I can breathe again. I’m not whole. I don’t know when or if that will happen, but I don’t feel like a burden to the world. It’s unfair that this happened, and it still infuriates me that this instance completely derailed my life. But I feel like I can breathe and actually have a little hope about the future…
We all deserve to feel less guilt. We all are entitled to our feelings of devastation, and we all deserve the help to work through that. We all deserve to feel like ourselves again.
I don’t know if this is any consolation. I just wanted to share that it’s okay to need a lot of help to get through this. It’s okay to accept that help. It will get easier one day.
From Chris: Hi D –
Thank you so much for commenting! There are so many of us who are experiencing similar feelings/situations and to hear you articulate these things is a comfort to more than you will know.
I think it’s important to note that a prime mover for people who tell you ‘Get over it, it’s not your fault’ is their own discomfort being around a person in pain. It happens all the time. We feel uncomfortable around pain and want to get rid of it – and their dismissive attitude has less to do with what you’re going through and more to do with our own unsettledness around grief.
That said, you give us a good example for self-care! Take time off. Enroll in a helpful program. Do what you need to do.
May your journey continue to reap a harvest of health. If not, that’s OK – you have a supportive community here that understands the mountain you face and are here for you.
Praying for you!
From E: Hello. I have been having a very hard time getting over the pain and guilt of accidentally hurting someone in a car accident. The accident happened a year ago. I was driving in the morning and I was feeling sleepy or drowsy. I didn’t notice a car in front of me stopped at a red light and I ended up rear ending them. The woman was pregnant and had a child with her in the back seat. At the time of the accident the kid was crying, but not hurt. The woman was not hurt and even drove off when we were done talking to the police.
However, I received a letter from the woman’s lawyer group saying that my insurance owed them money for six weeks of chiropractor treatment because of the accident. My insurance company took care of that, but I still feel guilty about hurting someone to the point where they needed chiropractic care. I have not heard anything about the pregnancy, but if something else happened because of the accident I would assume I would be contacted.
Can anyone give me some advice on how I can cope with this? Thank you.
From Chris: Hi E – Thank you so much for sharing your story. The pain of unintentional harm is real and serious, seeking this advice is smart of you.
Two things come to mind. First, seek a therapist. He/She can help you put things into perspective and give you coping skills that can make you feel better. Your feelings are your feelings, and while others may try to minimize what you’ve been through, you are the ultimate judge of the depth of your pain.
Second, we still know little about what harm you may or may not have caused. Life is hard enough when we take responsibility for what we have done, much less for what we may have done. A therapist can help you develop strategies to minimize these worries, as valid as they are.
Keep hopeful, even if the worst happens, you are not alone. People like me and many, many others have caused fatalities by our actions (someone unintentionally kills someone every 18 minutes in the U.S.).
Praying for you –
From G: Found this site last night , don’t know how I feel about it yet but definitely felt a little comfort hearing about people who have gone through similar situations. 5 year ago on Christmas Eve my whole family was over celebrating, 6 of my young cousins & younger brother wanted to go check out my old tree house I’ve built in the back. Trying to be the fun cousin I said let’s go I’ll take y’all! We all walked our way out there and just be safe I made them all stand back as I checked the tree house to make sure it was still strong. Felt sturdy so I yelled for them to all start coming up. All of them were climbing up the ladder when I noticed a wall starting to fall. I tried to grab it but couldn’t and as I watched it fall over from 8 ft up it landed straight on top of my 4 year old cousin. I instantly jumped down and ripped it off him but I knew in my heart it wasn’t good, I took off running to bring him to his mother and handed him off as she screamed in terror. He was pronounced brain dead and was taken off life support 2 days later. Was 17 at the time and really lost my self after, 3 months later I was kicked out for my own bad choices, been very hard learning how to take care of yourself while also hating yourself . Been 5 years since it’s happened and I feel like I messed up never getting help sooner.
From Chris: Hi G –
Thank you so much for sharing this heart-wrenching story – I can’t imagine all you’ve gone through.
However, as a fellow unintentional killer, I do know how important it is to be good to yourself. Trying to gain control of the guilty feelings, penitential self-flagellation, and heart-felt regret is so hard – and you are wise for seeking therapy.
While you express regret about not getting help sooner, at least you are getting/got help. You are still very young (I’m 60) and you have many years for the healing to take root – be patient with yourself – this is a marathon not a sprint. Keep at the therapy – most likely you can get to a better place – this is not the end of things. Many people find ways to use their hurt to help others – to become more compassionate and empathetic. You will probably get there. But again, be patient, you have a lot going on. Going to our monthly support group might be a good place for you to help move ahead as well – you are invited to join us.
Praying for you –
From S: Hi everyone. I just wanted to say how wonderful it was for me to meet some of you last Sunday at the fellowship meeting. I finally felt like I found exactly what I’ve been looking for these last 8 months since my accident. I was finally looking and speaking to people who truly know exactly how I am feeling and how events like this change you. I’m looking forward to the next meeting seeing you all again, and continuing this journey to hopefully heal. Thank you all again!
I have been aware of this organization for several years, but have been hesitant to share my story. One reason for this is that my accident happened almost 39 years ago in June of 1984 and I did not want to scare anyone into thinking that whatever happened will, in fact, effect them for the rest of life. I have certainly gone through many “stages” of healing and truly believe that keeping the lessons close to heart have made my overall living comfortable, peacefull and dare I say, fullfilled, even though most of these effects are internal and spiritual. I… Read more »
Hi Cliff –
Your carrying this for so long is indicative of the wonderful heart you have.
I wish you peace and solace as the journey continues. Do let us know if we can help in any way we can.
Thank you for being so brave to share.
I was in an accident 8 years ago at the age of 19 where a homeless heavily intoxicated man stepped in front of my vehicle and was never seen until he was going through my windshield. Later to find out the man passed away a few days later in the hospital. I was told over and over again that this accident wasn’t my fault and the man passed away from alcohol withdrawals due to being a heavy alcoholic. This accident has completely changed my life and is something I think about daily. It has made me think so negatively about… Read more »
I was in an accident where a pedestrian was killed. I wasnt at fault but I think that makes it worse. If I had done something wrong, I could avoid doing that thing moving forward. I dont have that. Also, I find myself afraid of everything! Im staying home more and more because going outside is just always so much. Its a lot to wade through. I feel myself falling into a deep depression and lying to myself about having it under control. I’m a mess.
Hi Jamie –
Thank you for sharing this – I can only imagine your pain and I’m really sorry.
If you haven’t already, do seek out a therapist. We humans are not programmed to hurt members of our own species with impunity. The thoughts and feelings you are experiencing are totally normal and it is your body’s natural response.
Do go ahead and peruse our site – even come to a Fellowship meeting – there is a way through this. You are not your accident. You can find a way to cope in a healthy and life-giving way!
I know all to well, as many do- the unending pain that comes along with unintentionally harming another, most especially when the injury turns fatal. What helped me most, most especially early on, was the Serenity Prayer- ‘God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference’. Early on, and still today, when the broken record starts playing in my head of how horrible and worthless I am – I try to remember the serenity prayer and replace the self loathing broken record… Read more »
I have not been able to speak about the tragedy to anyone who understands. I stumbled upon this site and I feel this might be a safe place to find guidance. I am so lost. It’s hard to tell my story but it’s gotta come out somehow. On July 4th, 2021 in Bedford, Virginia after a fireworks show my life changed forever. I was celebrating and drinking enjoying the holiday with my girlfriend and our beautiful children, it was a wonderful evening until the end of the night. Me, my girlfriend, and kids got in the car and I was… Read more »
God can and will bring you peace, turn to him. Bring Jesus all your sorrows. I’ve seen others healed from these same kind of situations. They say time heals all pain but it is truly, time with God. Bring it to him.
I was just trying to offer solace. I think 5 years in prison is ample accountability along with the loss of your daughter. Or was your comment aimed at me? I refer you to Dr Brian Goldman’s TED talk, Doctors Make MIstakes. He is more eloquent than I could ever be
Hi Julie! Just saw this post of yours, I didn’t get a notification (I don’t think…). Typed messages can get misunderstood at times… But, please be assured- I meant my earlier reply in the best possible way. I truly appreciated what you said and was just attempting to express that I agreed on a personal level. I look forward to listening to the TED Talk you referenced, thank you much!
Love, peace, and gratitude- to all, always🌻
I was driving and lost consciousness, we think there was a carbon monoxide leak in my car I had just gotten. I ran off the road flipped my car before slamming into an electric pole. My 5 year old son was killed he was asleep before accident and I don’t know how to not hate myself because he was my savior, after my second rape I was drinking extremely hard and ended up pregnant, he gave me reason to live and knowing I killed him is breaking me
I can imagine this must be hard to deal with. I encourage you to please seek help. I will pray for you.
I want to correct something in my last post. When I said that making mistakes as nurse is “worse” than hitting someone accidentally in your car I meant that I think it seems morally worse. I may be wrong. A car accident would be horrifying and traumatising and I apologise if I seemed to minimise anyones experience.
J. I was a nurse and I made more than one fatal error. It was at a time when these things were swept under the carpet and not properly addressed. I tried to persevere in my profession because I thought if I could help other people it would make up for my errors. I did leave nursing as I was totally devastated and now in my 60s remain unsupported. Every aspect of my life has been affected and I will grieve to the end of my days. I feel my story is so much worse than someone who accidentally hit… Read more »
One of the most compassionate and extremely insightful posts I’ve read. I often feel the need to explain my life and circumstances and upbringing when I share my tragic experience- but, many times don’t- in fear that it will sound as though I’m making excuses for my bad behavior- but, nothing could be further from the truth… I appreciate background when an experience is shared with me- as I feel it helps me to get a full sense of things and to really understand and fully relate to the person sharing . Thank you so much for your wise words-… Read more »
Thank you Bekah. You have helped me with your story also. I think that background does matter. It is extremely relevant to what happens. And I don’t think that it’s an excuse but an explanation. And yes I think it is mitigating of guilt. Some would say that such extreme determinism leads to nihilism and abdication of responsibility but I think with grace it leads to great compassion. Much love Bekah and thank you too 🙂
“If there was no intent how can there be blame?” Legal culpability exists for a very good reason. A drunk or distracted driver (i.e texting,) may not have had intent to cause the “accident”, yet their negligence resulted in the accident. I’m not trying to sound harsh so please do not take it this way, it’s just that this statement seems to negate accountability.
This comment raises an important issue for our community. As this website indicates, we consider accountability to be an integral component of healing. By accountability, we mean that we look at ourselves with integrity and courage and conduct an honest appraisal of our responsibility, if any, for a tragic accident. It is also important to bring compassion for ourselves and others to this process. Accountability without compassion is harsh; compassion without accountability is empty. In my experience, the members of The Hyacinth Fellowship feel a tremendous sense of accountability and responsibility, while recognizing that they did not intend harm. Our… Read more »
Here to re-add my story. On 10/24/09 I hit and killed a pedestrian that was attempting to cross a freeway. It turned out, she left the nearby hospital before being discharged and was trying to get home. She had no idea what she was doing, as she was inebriated, had been beat up by her boyfriend and was being treated for pain in the hospital. Somehow, I knew when it happened that she didn’t know what was going on. Our eyes met for a split second before the accident. It was like she came out of nowhere. The accident was… Read more »
HI Melissa! Thank you so much for telling your story. Those of us who have done similarly can experience great solace knowing others have learned to get on with life. I like to think of this ongoing pain as a sign of my humanity – even God-given compassion. Our pain, guilt, sadness, etc. are signs of our care for others – we don’t feel badly about doing things like this unless we are somewhat loving and caring toward others. 13 years after the fact, as you’ve mentioned, you’ve been changed to your core, reminds me that we are always changing… Read more »
The holidays can be a difficult and lonely time for CADIs. Please share with us how you are coping and what your experience has been like. The Hyacinth Fellowship is here for support.
Hello, i so appreciate that there’s a place where i can connect with others that can relate to my pain… My car accident was nearly 24 years ago. At the time, I was 25 and the woman whose life I accidentally ended was 51. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of her. Though I served 5 years in prison for my actions, the true sentence is life long- as the pain is never ending. It was was completely my fault. I fell asleep at the wheel after I had been drinking. Now that I am close… Read more »
Your story is so tragic for both families. People makes mistakes. Sometimes nothing comes of them, and sometimes something terrible results. You unfortunately experienced the latter, but you’ve suffered enough. I wish you peace and self-forgiveness.
Bekah my heart goes out to you. I have had a drink and driven. I was lucky. You weren’t. You have paid more than enough for your error. I wish you peace and joy. If it helps you to know, you have dragged me out of a deep hole today. Thank you and much love. Your courage is inspiring 💕
Julie, your words help me more than you can imagine… for the last 24 years, it’s been by sharing my story, in hopes of it maybe helping someone else- that i find any sort of solace or sense of salvation from my demons of the past. Thank you and much love back to you! Your kindness is inspiring to keep on sharing. It’s not always so easy- but, if I can in some small, itsy- bitsy way help someone else- it’s MORE than worth it💕
Bekah and Julie. I found this website as I’m going through personal trauma. I read your story and felt “ oh god I’ve been so near and just barely passed the hardships you have faced.” I’ve so narrowly missed tragic occurrences as a mother. When one missed second of watching out could have and nearly cost some tragic occurrence that would devastate me and others. As a baby my son escaped from my flat while I slept. The door was off the latch when the boy I babysat left. My baby son crawled in the early hours along a busy… Read more »
Michelle, words cannot fully express how much I appreciate- not only your post, but, the tremendous love, compassion, honesty, and empathy behind it. I pray daily for peace and comfort for all those I’ve harmed and for my daughter to recognize how much I love her and that my past mistakes in no way were a result of not loving her enough but, rather, not loving myself, at all. One day at a time, I find myself inching closer to acceptance of what is, rather than lamenting over what isn’t. A lot of times it’s 1 inch forward, 2 inches… Read more »
I found the comment and reply sections, where people shared their stories and received support from other commenters, to be the most helpful part of the old website. I hope this will continue in its original form. It is a relief like no other to know that you truly are not alone, and all of the comments give that gift.
Thank you for this comment, and I think many people would agree. Although we are unable to bring over comments from the old website we are eager to encourage our community to share new stories, comments, and questions.
Thank you for sharing with us. Sharing and support are important elements of healing after we unintentionally harm someone.