Camping trip ends in tragedy

Wife, mother finds the power in forgiveness

June 7, 2013

By: Katie Kather

(Photo courtesy of StoryCorps)
Kathleen Monahan with her children, Sean, Megan and Tim.

Kathleen Monahan met her future husband, Tim, after he left the seminary.

Kathleen: Dad (her husband, Tim) was in the seminary, and he came out. I saw him walking, and it sounds really hokey, but I looked at him and I thought, “Oh. That guy could be the father of my children.”

And he was. The couple, who both worked in the social services, married and had five children who all grew up to be teachers.

When their youngest child was ready to go off to college, the couple decided to grab a few days together, and went off on a camping trip. They enjoyed a beautiful lazy day, until another car ran a stop sign.

StoryCorps’s mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. This excerpt was edited by WBEZ.

Kathleen: The next thing I know, someone’s pounding on the window saying, “This one’s alive.”

To find out what happened next, and how the family coped with it, listen to Kathleen and three of her children telling their family's story in the audio above. They shared their story at the new StoryCorps booth at Chicago's Cultural Center.

Katie Kather is an arts & culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her @ktkather.