In The Rabbit Hole chapter of our book, and the Rabbit Hole Letters post on the WMSB website ,  I write about the events that led up to us seeing David Lindsay Abaire’s play and the decision to reach out to the young man whose car accidentally struck and killed our son Jimmy.  Rabbit Hole is a riveting exploration of the pain and suffering of young parents, Howie and Becca, whose four year old son, Danny, chases their dog into the street in front of their house and is accidentally struck and killed by an seventeen year old boy, Jason Willette.  The first scene is eight months after the accident.

We reveal many of the synchronicities that placed us in those seats at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in April of 2009.   For us, too, it had been eight months since Jimmy’s accident.  That Sunday was the play’s last performance.  One month earlier, our good friend Steve was playing golf at The Crosby, a few blocks from where Jimmy was hit.  One of his playing partners pointed out Peter, the 24 year old driver whose car hit Jimmy.  Peter worked at the club and was on his way to work early that Saturday morning in August 2008.

  “He’s having a real hard time.” 

In December 2008 during our first reading with medium Tarra, Jimmy described the accident in detail and said of Peter: “He’s having a hard time.  Trouble sleeping.  You need to contact him!”  

And right after the play Hilary was stung by a bee for the first time in her life.   When we got home I wrote our letter to Peter.   All of this is in the Rabbit Hole chapter and post.
The Rabbit Hole Play by David Lindsay-Abaire

But there was something else that I didn’t share.  I’d forgotten all about it until I was reviewing some emails sent several years ago to Denny Cline, golfer Steve’s brother in law, and an entertainment lawyer in Santa Monica who helped me with my website and book.   In those notes was the email Hilary received from our friend Kay Weiss a month before we went to see Rabbit Hole.  Hilary promptly forwarded the email to Steve’s wife Kim, and Kim fired an email right back revealing Steve’s sighting of Peter at the Crosby that very same day.

A little more background is necessary.  Kay and Gary lost their son, Michael, in April of 2008, four months before Jimmy died.  He was 19 and a freshman at USC.  In The Fraternity chapter I confess to seeing Gary two months later at the U.S. Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines.   I headed the other way before he saw me so I wouldn’t have to talk to him.   Complete chicken shit.  I was frightened by how horrific it must be to be in his shoes.   We hugged and cried at Jimmy’s memorial service two months later.

Their oldest son, Justin, was a friend of Jimmy’s and they played football together at Torrey Pines High School.   It was Kay who referred us to Tarra.   Gary had gone to see Tarra in late August of 2008 on his own shortly after Jimmy died—maybe two, three weeks tops.   Tarra records her readings and gives you (back then) a cassette tape.  She doesn’t keep a copy.  OK- here’s Kay’s email.

Hi- I was just listening for the second time to Gary’s separate session that he had with Tarra.  The date was about the 22nd or the 29th of August.  Toward the end she asks Gary if he knows a Jim or James recently passed.   Gary says ‘Yes, Justin’s friend, Jimmy.’  She said ‘Michael says to tell Justin that he’s seen him.   Jimmy was a little confused, but he passed with no pain.’  Tarra says he was coming around a curve, and one of the ones who hit him thought he had hit an animal.  And that person is having a really hard time. 

She said ‘Does Kay know that family?  Because I see that she is supposed to open them up…’

Strange, how right-on she is about so much. 

I really had forgotten that I was supposed to share things with you; unfortunately, I feel almost driven to try and help others who are grieving, especially those who have lost a child.  And of course you….Love K

So, do you see how forces were already at work a few short weeks after Jimmy died to help the driver?   Jimmy told Michael, and Michael, via Tarra, relayed his worry to Gary and Kay.  Kay sends us to Tarra who we see four months after Gary’s reading, and Jimmy ramps up his concern for the driver.

Of course, I have lots of questions.   How is this at all possible?  is probably at the top of the list!   Jimmy was working multiple avenues to get a message of help and comfort to Peter.  Steve’s serendipitous round of golf at The Crosby.   Gary’s and our readings with Tarra.  It boggles the mind. 

Oh, and Tarra’s reference to “one of the ones who hit him.”   Jimmy was hit by two cars. During our reading, Jimmy described his accident in the same detail he shared with Michael Weiss, and that Tarra shared with his dad, Gary.   He was killed by the first impact and that car flipped and ended up on its hood.    Another car came through, struck Jimmy, but did not stop. That driver was never identified.

There is no way Tarra could have independently known that.   It was in the police report, but I’m pretty sure it never made the papers.  Besides, Tarra lives in Sedona.  There was no news coverage in Sedona.

I sometimes wonder about that other driver.   What load is he/she carrying?  During our first reading with Tarra, Jimmy implored us to help the driver of the first car.   But what about the other one?    Are we supposed to help him/her too?  What has Jimmy done to help him/her?

If by chance he/she has found our website, please know we harbor no ill will or blame.  Jimmy was already gone.  We wish you only well  on the rest of your journey in this life.

The last we heard Peter moved to Oregon, went to Professional Golf Association school, is an assistant pro at a golf course up there, and doing OK.

We choose that to be so.

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Author Bios

Write Me Something Beautiful Authors - Casey and Jimmy Gauntt

Casey Gauntt

is a retired attorney and former senior executive of a major San Diego real estate company. He lives in Solana Beach, California, with his wife, Hilary. Casey grew up in Itasca, Illinois, graduated Lake Park High School in 1968, and received B.S., JD and MBA degrees from the University of Southern California.

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Jimmy Gauntt

was born and raised in Solana Beach and graduated from Torrey Pines High School in 2002.   A prestigious Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California, he majored in English and Spanish. He authored six plays, five screenplays, and a multitude of poems and short stories. Beginning in 2010, the USC English Department annually bestows the Jimmy Gauntt Memorial Award—aka “The Jimmy”—to the top graduates in English.  Jimmy passed over to the other side in 2008 at age 24.

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