Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Message from Kevin Tork's Dad, Ken

Message: Hello to all, our family has experienced a horrible tragedy. We lost our son Kevin Monday night March 30th to a craze that has invaded our children's lives 'the choking game'. He was 15. Before I tell you about how he died I would like to tell you a little about how he lived.

He was the perfect son in everyway. He was happy and fun loving and caring, He would be the first to jump in with out being asked and help where needed. He loved his family fiercely. He loved to laugh and make others laugh. He was in several plays in school, he loved music, basketball, writing poetry and stories. He loved making swords and models and he was the most honest young man there has ever been. He truly was perfect in every way. We told each other several times a day that we loved each other and we hugged multiple times a day.

Everyone I have talked to has told me how special he was, and you just felt it when you were in his presence. I am just now finding out how truly amazing this kid was, his classmates got to see a side of him I never did because at home he was our baby boy. Home was where he came to be a kid. When he walked out that door every morning he turned into this strong young man that I can now only know through their stories or his journals. His love for other people just reached out to you with out you even knowing it. One of his classmates told us that 5 minutes after she met him she felt she knew him her whole life.

I want to share with you three of the many stories that demonstrate the strength of his soul. When he was 6 my wife had to go pick up her father at the train station in downtown Seattle. He asked if he could have 75 c to go get a bag of chips from the machine. Well the chips got stuck and did not fall out and my wife told him she didn't have another 75 c to get another bag. A homeless gentleman overheard this and came up and said here you go ma'am and gave her the money for another bag of chips and walked away. Kevin got his chips and he and his mother went and sat down. Kevin looked across the train station and saw the man that gave him the money and he asked if he could go share those chips with that man, so he walked over and they just sat and talked and ate potato chips, and that man came up to my wife and told her with tears in his eyes that was the kindest thing anyone had ever done for him.

Two summers ago my father and his wife came to see me and we were downtown on the waterfront and were having dinner. A very scary looking woman came up to me and asked for money. She was an obvious addict so I told her that I would not give her money but she could have my meal. She looked past me and walked up to my son he had pulled a ten dollar bill from his wallet, money he earned mowing the lawn, he gave her that money, she said thank you and turned and walked away. We all immediately jumped on him and told him never to do that again, it was a kind gesture but that she was just going to go and buy more drugs or she could have a disease or she could have hurt him. All the things a parent might say in that situation. He got very upset and started crying very softly and was quiet the rest of the night. Later after everyone went to bed he came to me and asked to talk. He told me that he understood why we got mad at him but he just felt that he was supposed to give her that money that somewhere down the road it might make a difference in her life. My eyes filled with tears and I grabbed him and held him to my chest and told him to forget everything we said earlier. That sometimes we adults don't see things as clearly as a pure soul and his was the purest soul God cold make.

A few months ago he was walking his sister home from the bus stop when a car drove by and yelled something at him and his sister. The car went up the hill and turned around and came back and as the car approached the passenger pulled out a knife and the car slowed down. Kevin grabbed his sister and pushed her behind him and stood to face these two boys ready to do whatever he had to do to protect his sister. The driver yelled an obscenity and drove away.

I want everyone to know this was the way Kevin lived his life everyday. There was no sacrifice too great. No task too big and for those of you that knew him... you experienced it. He had compassion for everyone he met that never wavered not even a little. We found a statement that Kevin wrote and I think this sums it up very well. "I believe that life is eternal and life is a flame that will never go out. I am a Christian so I believe in God and heaven. I also believe that we go there when our life here is over. I believe that angels are the souls of our loved ones that come to see their families and to watch over them and be close to them and try to help them. This is what I believe.

Two days before he died he and I were talking and he asked me if he had to sacrifice his life to save his mom and sister would I be ok with that. I said ok with it no because he was my boy and I loved him but if it had to happen then I would be able to accept it because he would be saving the life of his mom and sister and that was the way we raised him. To do what was right. He then asked what if it was a total stranger would I be able to handle that. I told him... well son, I would not like it and it would hurt me forever but if he felt he had to do that and that the life he saved may go on to do great things then yes I could live with it because that's what warriors do. He then said that if he has to die he wanted it to be saving others. I teach self defense at a karate school in Auburn Wa. and I understand that sometimes one might have to make that ultimate sacrifice to save another and I like to think I will be brave enough when called upon to do that but how many 15 year old boys in today's day and age would even consider it. This was the man my boy had become.
I am asking anyone who reads this letter to pass it on or if you don't like to forward stuff then to print this email out and show it to people. I have been praying for my son and my family. Our hearts have been destroyed by this and when I was at a point where I could not go on I suddenly felt his love come into my heart and pull the pieces together and I felt him giving me a message. And that message was
'Dad I need to let people know about this'. There are other kids just like me that are being reached online and at school and are thinking of trying this. You have to stop it. I didn't mean to die, I didn't mean to hurt you and mama and Kelly. I'm so sorry but it's up to you now to let people know". And my soul was surrounded with his love.

On the night he died the paramedics said they had his heart beating and he was trying to breath, but I think he was given a choice and knowing Kevin he saw a chance to save other people and if it meant he had to sacrifice himself to do it he would because he was that kind of man and he knows how strong our family is and he knows how strong our friends are and he knows God will get us through this.
For those of you who have lost a child you understand our grief. For those of you who have not please cherish your children and share with them our story and be as graphic and as candid as they can handle so that maybe just maybe we can all stop this. HUNDREDS of kids have died. This "game" is taking our children at an alarming rate and people have got to know! Parents have to be told that this activity is not a fad it is an epidemic that is killing our children.

I am asking, begging on my knees to anyone that reads this letter. Talk to your children. make them aware, love them, hold them, shower them with kisses, because we will never again be able to hold his head on our shoulder or smell the scent of his hair or watch his face light up when he smiles or see the twinkle in his eyes or feel his arms around us, or hear again the last words he spoke to me " I love you too dad"

Help me fight this battle. Pray with all your might, and tell anyone who will listen. Our family will bear this cross that God has asked us to carry but please share our story, our grief, our loss, so that someone you know and love will not have to experience this unspeakable, unbearable, unending pain. And then my son's death will not be in vain.

Ken Tork