Mother struggles to cope years after child struck by impaired driver

Raelene Adam continues to struggle with the loss of her son, Jared Bear, who was hit by an impaired driver in 2014. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

Jayda Noyes, Daily Herald

A Prince Albert mother is experiencing a whirlwind of grief over four years after her 11-year-old was fatally struck by a drug impaired driver.

On July 26, 2014, Jared Bear was riding his bike with a group of friends in the ditch of Highway 3 near Muskoday First Nation.

According to his mother, Raelene Adam, the driver went at 120 kilometres an hour, targeting a different child. She suspects abuse was involved in their relationship.

Bear pushed the boy out of the way, suffering a deadly cost when he passed away at Victoria Hospital.

Jared Bear was just shy of his 12th birthday when he was killed. (Raelene Adam/Facebook)

“I expected to drive down there and just see him sitting on the side of the road with a couple bumps and bruises,” said Adam.

She explained how her and Bear’s dad, Vince, rushed to the scene to find their boy in a condition she didn’t anticipate. The area was blocked off with a flood of cars.

“Before the truck even stopped, I tried to jump out and Vince grabbed me,” said Adam. “Vince went and spent the last moments with Jared.”

The impaired driver was Gordon Morris Crain, of Muskoday First Nation, who was 51 at the time of the incident.

In June 2017, court found him guilty of impaired driving causing death, which Adam said dropped from a second degree murder charge.

She described her feelings while facing the man who killed her son.

“My dad grabbed me because I was ready to attack them,” referencing both Crain and his sister, who was involved in the trial.

Adam said she’s unsatisfied with Crain’s sentence of two and a half years behind bars, but even a lifetime sentence wouldn’t be enough.

Because for her, the cycle of loss never seems to halt.

“It comes in bursts, like the last two years I was alright and then this year, I don’t know what it was,” she said.

Adam added this year’s SGI campaign called People Shouldn’t Disappear could have triggered her, in which she shared Bear’s story in hopes of preventing impaired driving.

Although she went to grief counselling for 12 weeks, it was easy to use alcohol and gambling to fill the void.

“You turn to different things that help you cope, and they’re not always the best choice,” she said. “After the initial shock, after the funeral, after the group counselling, it’s like you fall off a cliff and you’re left there.”

Aching for relatability

After years of trying coping mechanisms including short-term counselling, seeing a psychiatrist and turning to social media for advice, Adam wants to start a support group in Prince Albert.

She said parents who have lost children as old as a toddler have bonded with them for years.

“I was sitting there saying ‘I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do,'” she said about her initial shock of pain.

“I think that if I reach out to people that I can help, then they can help me, same thing. Let them know what happens, like the process after the death happens and then tell them that it’s gonna be okay. You’ll be okay, eventually.”

She was emotional describing Bear, who was roughly three weeks away from his 12th birthday, but never saw the day.

“He would come up to me and hug me in front of his friends and he didn’t care. He didn’t care what people thought of him and that’s what made him so lovable,” said Adam.

“Jared was my baby,” she said as tears broke through her eyes. “He was such a good kid.”