(Posted on the TACP Facebook forum) --
I haven't said this because, number one, it's painful and number two, it's somewhat embarrassing. But maybe it's time I do.
My whole life changed in a matter of one second.
Alan's actions on the night of June 1, 2013, have not only has taken his life, but mine as well, and many other hearts are torn.
It was not a bullet in combat, nor an improvised explosive device, as most hear on the news. It was by the hands of a whiskey bottle and a cell phone. Simple as that.
Now this is the important part, so listen up - he had a blood alcohol content of .19 (.2 = stupor/blackouts) and his last text message was sent at 12:17 a.m. - the exact moment of impact.
He managed to fool the people at the party into believing he was okay to drive, because in my heart, I know that not one of them would have let him go if they knew this would happen.
As his mother with personal involvement of the armed services for 14 years, and personally knowing four young service members who have privately told me that they struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, I am fairly certain Alan stuggled from PTSD, too. He hit the bottle pretty hard after coming back from Afghanistan.
He never said those words, probably due to pride, but now looking back, it was evident. I wish I would have seen the signs.
These "statistics" are not statistics to me, it is my life and what I am living with today. But, let me make this clear - this is not a military thing, and it's not a PTSD thing. This is about actions and the choice to make them and how much you value your life, or at the very least, care how much pain you put onto others by your actions.
So please, the next time you drink and drive, or text while driving or better yet, live carelessly, please think of Alan and what a unique person he was, and how much joy he brought that he will never bring again to his mother or friends.
Get help if you need it, it will save your life and others as well.
I love you Alan. I forgive you, and I just hope you forgive you, and live peacefully up there.
(Senior Airman Alan Bufala, Tactical Air Control Party Airman with the 25th Air Support Operations Squadron, died June 2 as a result of an off-duty vehicle mishap at Ewa Beach, Hawaii. To read the full story, click here.)