LORAIN, Oh - The road back often starts where it once ended.
The gentle shore along Lake Erie is close to where life halted for the Slattery's and where a year later it begins once again.
Ed Slattery took his boys back to Ohio, back to the family picnic that preceded their hell.
The last real moment before the surreal; before a trucker fell asleep at the wheel on an Ohio interstate, before his wife 's death...before his sons' injuries.
It is exactly a year later now, back to where life as they once knew it ended.
"Ya know I didn't want the year commemoration to be sad. Although there is plenty of that, there is also a lot to celebrate," said Ed Slattery.
Matthew for one is talking again, if not so much with his words his eyes now clearly mapping out that buoyant personality.
Incredible progress his father wanted desperately for those who saved his life to see.
The firefighters in Streetsboro, Ohio can hardly forget, watching Matthew walk again is almost as unbelievable of a sight.
These men were the first responders a year ago, the ones Ed credits for saving his sons' lives, and even though he wasn't in that car...perhaps his own as well.
It’s why Slattery came by on the anniversary of the crash to say thank you with a long hug and a $10,000 donation.
The Slattery's won their settlement against the trucking company.
It's enough to care for Matthew the rest of his life; enough for the Slattery's to give back.
And that includes another $100,000 to the Akron Children's Hospital.
A donation met with the pomp and circumstance of a news conference for the local media; perhaps as much of a show of appreciation to the hospital as it is of his boys.
"Most importantly it is a celebration of our boys, Peter and Matthew,” said Ed in the press conference, “Mommy and I love you more than you'll ever know. And any parent knows what that feels like. Your mom shines through you every minute of every day. I see her in your smile. I see you in her determination. Your mother worked harder than anybody I've ever known."
And it is in that spirit this fractured family works to heal; without their mother, but through each other.
"I feel this stare [from Matthew] an awful lot and I think we just look in each others eyes and we just love each other. Is that right?” Ed turns to ask Matthew. “I know,” he responded. “I know you know," said Ed.
So as the sun sets at Susan’s family’s home along Lake Erie, the family sings the Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ with Matthew. It is the end of a sad year, but for the Slattery’s, that is indeed getting better.
Ed Slattery also plans on making a significant donation to Kennedy Krieger here in town where Matthew went through the bulk of his therapy.
He says he will announce those details in a few weeks.
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