KFRX Content Director Double J will be going to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena to see a float featuring his son, but for a situation that Double J wishes would have never happened.
When Double J’s youngest son Michael was 13, he found a loaded gun in a drawer at his mother’s house. Michael took the gun and went on Instagram Live with some friends. Michael then heard a car pull up outside and got scared, hitting his elbow on a table, causing his finger to hit the trigger of the gun. The gun went off, shooting Michael in the head and killing him. Michael was revived and put on life support, but after 5 days, doctors told his parents there was no chance of recovery. It was then that Michael’s parents decided to donate their son’s organs.
Michael ended up saving 5 people’s lives with the donation of his organs, one of whom was a man in need of a kidney. Double J has kept in contact with this man, who for the first time in 5 years of being on dialysis, was able to leave his home and take a family vacation. Instead of going to Disneyland like he had planned, the kidney recipient decided to go to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in San Francisco. He did not know it at the time, but this was Michael’s favorite theme park. Double J believes that Michael had somehow pushed for the trip to Six Flags, asking to see his favorite park one last time.
The name of the float is “Light in the Darkness,” and will honor several families of organ donors like Michael. Double J said that losing his son was the darkest thing that he and his family have ever gone through, but seeing the impact that Michael has had on the lives he saved has shown Double J that positivity can come out of such dark times.
Double J’s advice for parents everywhere: If you have a gun, put a lock on it. More importantly than that, tell your children that you love them every day no matter what. Double J’s life has never been the same since losing his son, and he attributes a big part of his recovery to counseling groups for grieving parents going through the same thing. “It never goes away, you can never get over it,” said Double J. “But it can become manageable.”
Michael’s memory will live on in those whose lives have been saved and those who have been impacted by his story. Double J still finds it ironic that the number of lives that Michael was able to save was the same number that he wore on his football jersey: 5.