Donovan was adept at saying “I’m sorry.” After receiving his third DUI, he apologized to his wife, Mary Anne, and again after he crashed their new Acura and, once again, after he forgot to pick up their daughter, Chelsea, at an evening school event.
WHEN DONOVAN MOVED ON
“Sorry seems to be the saddest word,”
~ Elton John
Donovan was adept at saying “I’m sorry.” After receiving his third DUI, he apologized to
his wife, Mary Anne, and again after he crashed their new Acura and, once again, after he
forgot to pick up their daughter, Chelsea, at an evening school event. There were other
occasions too, when Donovan’s drinking got him into trouble, always followed by
apologies and requests for forgiveness.
Donovan’s apologies were strong, emotional and seemingly heartfelt. He was a
Shakespearean actor, reciting his lines, stage center. Sometimes he would cry, his eyes
wide and frightened. Mary Ann really wanted to believe that he was going to stop
drinking. She kept the fires of hope alive.
It was 8 p.m. when the ah ha moment struck, bringing about a profound clarity for both
Donovan and Mary Anne. It happened as he fell down the basement steps. He broke
several ribs, punctured his spleen and suffered a severe concussion. There was blood,
strands of hair and pieces of broken teeth on the steps.
On that night, Donovan, reeking of alcohol, almost died.
Mary Ann dialed 911. She screamed at Chelsea to go to her room. The EMT’s used a
stretcher to transport the battered, bloody body up the stairs and into the awaiting
ambulance, revolving lights pulsating across the neighborhood.
The neighbors all watched and, along with her emotional roller coaster, Mary Ann
suffered the embarrassment of public humiliation and castigation. It was a small town
and everyone knew about Donovan’s court dates, his DUI’s and the time he passed out in
the front yard. He was viewed with pity, perhaps contempt. None of his neighbors reached
out and offered help. Donovan was shut off and ostracized from what could have been his
most valuable resource.
Still, he was strangely remorseful. He seemed different. He pledged to Mary Ann that he
was sorry, that he would stop drinking.
It was an old story she had heard many times before. She had