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The Green King

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Nikolas Aguirre with Cholo Nikolas Aguirre with Cholo

Nik Aguirre dies and Desi Aguirre reminds other kids - please buckle up.

    Nikolas J. Aguirre of Sandpoint was killed in an auto accident on the night of May 8 on Colburn-Culver Road. He would have turned 18 the following day.
    They say he was driving too fast. They say he wasn’t wearing his seat belt. They say he might have lived had he buckled up after getting behind the wheel.
    It is every parent’s nightmare. We nag our children incessantly, trying to make them understand that yes, it can happen to you.
    It happened to Nik.
    Parents, please continue to nag your children, and hug them every chance you get. And kids, please, please - buckle up. It can happen to you and no mother should ever have to write her son’s obituary.
    Nik was the son of River Journal news writer Desire Aguirre and was a part of our River Journal family. We are all diminished by his loss. - TG

The Green King
by Desire` Aguirre
    The grass reminds me of Nik. So many shades grow at different lengths in different directions. And he is not here to grudgingly mow the lawn. When will these growths of grief get cut?
    Nik was arrested a week before his 14th birthday for breaking into a car and stealing a cell phone. A police officer came to our house looking for him. He asked me if I thought my son would do such a thing. I said I didn’t think so. He asked me if Nik would tell the truth. I said he would not. I didn’t hire a lawyer. I wanted him to face the consequences of his actions. In fact, I liked the idea of him being on probation. It would give me support and backup. He’d have someone else to answer to.
    Nik went to a counseling group, and I attended a parenting class. He made new friends and learned how to play poker. I received a book with systematic instructions on how to set, and maintain, boundaries. In eleven months, he passed his probation and entered the ninth grade a free teenager. He continued smoking pot, but, of course, lied about it. His attitude went down the toilet along with his grades.
    I failed my class. Confronting Nik was like stepping in front of a wild moose protecting her baby. To live in denial maintained the peace. Asking questions would break our delicate truce. It would require action.
    I clung to my images of him as a young boy. A fabulous cook, he liked experimenting with food and loved to serve me breakfast in bed. Science intrigued him, and his teachers wanted him to join a group of student ambassadors going to Australia. He snowboarded like a god and played goalie on a soccer team. He picked wildflowers, and grinning, made me pick which hand he held them in behind his back.
    The pipe that fell out of his pocket and the empty beer cans in the trash demanded attention. He dared me to call the cops. I did, handed them his pipe and watched them take him off in a police car. I went to court, sat and cried when they brought him in, manacled and cuffed hands to feet, in white and bright orange stripes.
    His arrogance, disrespect and anger swallowed him and almost devoured me. We fought and fought until I couldn’t fight anymore. I told him he had an option. He could move. It was a surrender of sorts. I was weak, tired and couldn’t stand the thought of coming home to him, stoned or un-stoned, a dirty pipe, an open container. Not my bright-eyed boy with the laughing eyes and lush hair so black and curly.
    It would have felt different if I had shipped him on his way to college, green behind the ears but going somewhere. He lived in California for over a year, and after he graduated from the Job Corps, he came home to Idaho.
    Does he miss the emerald grass on this side of heaven? Now, can he smell the difference between the sweet air of heaven and the blue green air of Idaho? Is there a bridge for him to jump off, a creek he can ride his bike to, a fresh water lake with perch and rainbow trout?
    Nik graduated from the Job Corps in February 2007 in Long Beach, Calif. He returned to work at the Samuels Store and at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. A north Sandpoint kid growing up, he attended Northside Elementary, the Sandpoint Charter School and Sandpoint High. He had a sharp wit, strong personality and was a true friend.
    When Nik was 8 he said, “Christmas was the time for giving,” and he’d save his allowance so he could buy everyone gifts. He loved to swim, fish, snowboard, bike ride and play hackysack with friends. An incredible bass player, he sometimes practiced a song until his fingers bled to get it right.
    I want my boy to come home. He died May 8, 2008. He would have turned 18 May 9, but the car flipped over and ejected him out of our lives. He did not survive. I went to the mortuary to view his body. I admit it; I wanted it to be somebody else’s son. I did not want to have to kiss my green king goodbye. But I did. He looked like an angel, but he was cold. The room felt empty. And I feel empty without him.
    They told me he died instantly, and I cling to that. But he was alone and he was drunk and/or stoned. I want his death to serve some higher purpose so that his sister, DaNae Aguirre of Sandpoint, and his cousins, Charlene and Miguel Castellon of San Pedro, Lisa and Mark of San Pedro, Amin and Jason Kees of Utah, Aunt Jenny Lopresto and Uncle Rex Mayo of Sandpoint, Aunt Irene (Nana) and cousin George of San Pedro, Aunt Sylvia and cousin Eric of Priest River, Aunt Rae and cousin Scott Sanford of California, Grandparents Rhoda and Dell Sanford of Laclede, Grandparents Fran and Ron Peterson of San Jose, best friends Ryan Ford and Josef Schabell of Sandpoint, his faithful dog Cholo, family and friends from Peru to California to Canada, and me, his mom, can go on living without him.
    A memorial to celebrate Nik’s life will be held at Lakeview Funeral Home at 1 pm on. Saturday, May 17. Everyone is invited. Please come to share your memories of Niko.
    Please don’t drink and drive or let your friends drink and drive, and for Nik’s sake, buckle up.

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Author info

Desire Aguirre Desire Aguirre lives in Sandpoint with her daughter, DaNae, and numerous pets. An LCSC student, she plans on graduating May, 2009, with a bachelors in communication. Her favorite sport is riding her horse, Splash-of-Paint, into the wilderness with Cholo, her son's faithful dog.

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