Page 11 - 2016 Autumn-Winter Issue
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all they have and give freely with no caveats or expectations.  Yet, thanks to her, I go on and see life for what it is. I
They are the personification of pure joy.                       remember how she marveled at small things that others
When that life is taken from us it leaves a huge hole,          might miss, I experience something that would have made
a chasm of emptiness. It changes our lives as parents           her laugh and I laugh. I look into the eyes of other special
immediately and
immeasurably.                                                                                          needs people when I come
Everything, out of                                                                                     upon them and in their eyes
necessity, revolved                                                                                    I see her reflected back on
around them. That hard                                                                                 me. I tell their parents they
work we came to almost                                                                                 are lucky. Some understand
cherish, the mindset of                                                                                and smile, others look
worry and care that was                                                                                puzzled until I explain how
our constant companion                                                                                 much I miss my special girl.
are gone in an instant.                                                                                They are lucky and I hope
Selfishly, I also                                                                                      they cherish every minute
immediately missed the                                                                                 of their time with that
brightening Erin brought                                                                               special child. I now look
my life. My ability to                                                                                 back and I cherish every
mirror her in smiling                                                                                  memory of every minute
at life and appreciating                                                                               of my time with Erin. I
even the smallest wonder                                                                               am so thankful today for
was gone. It was in that                                                                               that time. My loss is real
moment that my wife                                                                                    and deep but I still count
and I realized how much                                                                                myself lucky to have been
we needed her. We were “special needs” parents. For 25           David Hines with daughter, Erin a “special” dad to a truly
years we had lived each day with this as our blueprint for                                             “special” girl.
life. In the blink of an eye it was gone with Erin.
Other people, meaning well, would tell us it was a blessing     David Hines served as a police officer for 29 years in Minnesota, 23 years
that we no longer had to deal with all that. They could         in investigations, 12 years as a coordinator for juvenile programs and a
not have been more wrong. It is eleven years since Erin’s       community restorative justice program. He also co-authored two curricula
death and I still find myself seeking to find a new meaning,    for training in restorative justice and written several articles on the same in
a defining vision to replace my life as Erin’s parent and       various journals on criminal justice. He and his wife Colleen raised three
caregiver. There are other wonderful things in our lives        daughters; Heather, Erin and Amy. Erin was a special needs child who died
but none rise to the level of our time with Erin and I now      somewhat mysteriously at the age of 25 in April 2005. That event introduced
believe they never will.                                        David and Colleen to the St. Paul Chapter of TCF, an experience very much
                                                                needed and appreciated. Today the Hines family lives in Lake Elmo, MN
                                                                and has added three glorious grandchildren to the family.

How I Found Hope ...                                                                     © LukaTDB/

I have been sustained by people who choose to be present, people who
look my pain and my brokenness right in the face and say, “I am not
afraid. I am here. Let me help you carry this.” Those people give me hope.

                                                            Peggi Johnson, Jordan’s mom

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