A Secret Life of Mom Highlight Story: Sometimes there are stories that are just too good, too beautiful, or too unbelievable to keep locked away. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to enjoy again. They may make you smile or shed a tear, but they’re always meant to add a little something to your day. This story is from March 2017.
No parent should ever have to endure the loss of their child, no matter the cause, it is a pain that cannot be compared to anything else. One father lost his son many years ago, and the grief was almost too much to bear. But, what got him through, was something he did in secret. Every night, he would go to a specific location that he had dedicated to his son. Many years went by and the land was to be developed. Instead of removing the memorial, the company involved decided to rebuild it better than before.
A secret shrine
It is not uncommon to see little memorials of people who died in car accidents. Their loved ones commemorate their life by placing flowers, pictures, messages, candles, and occasionally special keepsakes, right where the crash happened. One father, Ray Olsen, did exactly that at the location his son lost his life. Ray’s son was only 22 when he died in 2003 – thanks to a drunk driver.
Ray had discovered that the company that owned the property where his son passed was a multi-billion-dollar corporation. So, he did not ask permission to build the memorial, as he assumed they would never give it. After h built the memorial, he would return to the location at night so he wasn’t seen and grieved for his son. This was the only source of comfort he had in the pain that never seemed to fade. The only place he had where he felt connected to his son.
They left him a message
Ray has been visiting his self-constructed monument for just under 20 years. Since 2003, he has kept it a secret from the owners of the property. He thought the company did not know about it, when in reality they were empathetic to the father’s grief, and let the monument be. They may have been aware of the memorial, but they did not know who kept it maintained. “We’d see that it was being maintained, but we’d never see who was maintaining it,” said the executive of Chevron, Joe Lorez. “He added, “All we knew was that it belonged to somene who was very much loved.”
In 2017, Chevron thought it was time to upgrade the property. But, this meant the memorial was in jeopardy. In order not to disrespect the emotional factors attached to the memorial, they left a note for Ray. When Ray found it, he assumed the worst. In an interview with NBC News, he said, “I just knew they were going to take it down.”
Read: Dad whose 3 kids were killed by drunk driver dies by suicide hours after Father’s Day – rest in peace
Nothing could have prepared him for the true intentions of Chevron. They were not planning on taking down the memorial, they were building a better one so Ray had a place to visit his son. They replaced the items that Ray had put there with a boulder that had a brass plaque on top. The plaque had Ray’s son’s name, his day of birth and death, an obituary, and a picture of Ray. To top it all off, they even added a bench for Ray o he could sit down comfortably.
“The world has hope.“
Ray was over the moon with the new memorial for his beloved son. He mentioned that the kind gesture would enable him to accept his death. “It shows you people do still care. The world has hope,” he said. Lorenz said, “We said, ‘This is your spot, Ray. You no longer have to come at night.'”
In 2016 the Hilltop District Homeowners & Stakeholders Association posted about the new memorial. “On the San Pablo Ave. side, there used to be a small memorial, we found out it belonged to a young man named Raymond Olson. He passed away 13 years ago. The community worked with Chevron to find Ray’s father, give him a proper memorial, and install an ADA accessible sidewalk on San Pablo Avenue. The picture shows the before and after of the memorial site.”
The then concluded the post by saying, “When the community comes together, we can achieve greatness. Hope to see you all at our new park soon, on the corner of Richmond Parkway and San Pablo Avenue.”
Keep Reading: Wife of man who died the ‘worst possible death’ still trolled 13 years on
- “Energy Giant Does Right by Grieving Father Behind Mystery Memorial for Son.” NBC News. March 20, 2017