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Monday, June 23, 2014

Voices: “Look what they leave behind”

By DON HIMSEL

Telegraph staff

Francis Hill sat at the kitchen table of her neat, shingled Merrimack home with a small collection of photos in front of her. The others, she explained, were still at the funeral home. Outside, traffic sailed back and forth along Bedford Road.

“I can’t believe the amount of people that came through,” she said of the memorial service held last Thursday. “He had a lot of friends.” ...

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Francis Hill sat at the kitchen table of her neat, shingled Merrimack home with a small collection of photos in front of her. The others, she explained, were still at the funeral home. Outside, traffic sailed back and forth along Bedford Road.

“I can’t believe the amount of people that came through,” she said of the memorial service held last Thursday. “He had a lot of friends.”

Stephen Hill, 59, died Monday, June 9 after crashing his motorcycle the previous Saturday. He wrecked just a short distance away from the home he had shared with his mother for the last nine years.

“Do you mind if I get some tissues? They’re over there,” she said.

She cried softly as she related the story of his accident, one in which he wasn’t wearing a helmet, and that’s at the root of her grief.

“That’s the thing I’d like to get over to the people,” she said.

She spoke with one particular friend at Stephen’s service.

“Do you ride? she asked him. “Do you wear a helmet? Do me a favor, wear a helmet. If you save one life then it’s worth it.”

Once the weather gets nice, motorcyclists hit the road, just like Hill’s son.

“They go by my house every day. No helmets. What is wrong with these people? They haven’t sat at Mass General and watched their son lying in a bed on life support. We as a family had to make the decision whether he lived in this vegetative state or died. It was the hardest and the worst thing I’ve ever done,” she said.

Hill remembers as a youngster in England her father and brothers had motorycles. Her father wrecked and continued to ride.

“Why they don’t wear helmets I don’t know.”

She looked down at the table, at the photos, remembering Stephen.

“I hear a motorcycle and I think ‘oh, Steve’s home, that kind of thing,” she said. “It’s new, I know and I’m sure eventually these things will go away, at least fade somewhat in time.”

She implored other riders to wear a helmet.

“I understand they like it, but use some safety,” she said. “Look what they leave behind.”

“They had to take a piece of his skull out in order to let the blood out of his head,” Hill said. “It was horrendous. I’m not sure whether he would have survived the fall, I don’t know. Whether he would have been whole again who knows. It’s so, so foolish.”

Hill wonders if something came across his path. “There’s a lot of deer around here,” she said.

“You can see where he went off the road,” she said. “I don’t know whether he braked or what. He hit a driveway and rolled onto grass on the other side of the drive.

“I miss him so much.”

Don Himsel can be reached at
594-6590 or DHimsel@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Himsel on Twitter (@Telegraph_DonH).