"It's hard having someone lay there when they look perfectly fine, but medically you know they can't make it," Bouyen said. "So letting your family know what you want to do in advance makes it so much easier to let go."
her first time back since Sept. 4, 2012, the day a software engineer inexplicably shot her husband, Kenyon Youngstrom, during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 680 in Alamo. While difficult, the young widow wanted to take a step in her healing process and lobby for during a ceremonial flag raising Friday at the Walnut Creek hospital.
In honor of National Donate Life Month, the Cordelia mother of four helped raise a donor flag at John Muir. CHP Officer Shaun Bouyen watched and recalled the tragic day when Omega Seamaster Professional Vintage he escorted Karen Youngstrom through her toughest hours.
Karen Youngstrom, wife of California Highway Patrol officer Kenyon Youngstrom, who died in the line of duty in September 2012, holds a flag to celebrate National Donate Life Month during a flag raising ceremony at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Friday, April 4, 2014. Youngstrom donated to four people after his death. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)WALNUT CREEK As Karen Youngstrom drove into the John Muir Medical Center parking lot Friday, she flashed back 19 months to the day she was driven to the hospital in a squad car, knowing very little about the condition of her husband, a mortally wounded California Highway Patrol officer.
"It's still as real today as it was 19 months ago," he said. "We mourn his loss, but still it's nice he was able to help other people."
"Every day is an adjustment," Karen Youngstrom said. "We talk about moving forward, but never forgetting."
"I have an idea of where they've gone," said Youngstrom, who visits her husband's grave on the fourth day of every month. "I'm hoping to meet (the recipients) in the future, when all of us are strong enough."
"It's still tough," he said.
Martinez office have memorialized his locker, draping a flag over it. Bouyen drives past the shooting scene a few times each week; a flag and cross have been erected there.
Kenyon Youngstrom's colleagues in the CHP's Omega Seamaster Deville 1966
Karen Youngstrom said she is thankful to Herculean efforts made by civilians, law enforcement and doctors to keep her husband's heart beating long enough to allow him to donate his organs. She stressed the importance of loved ones sharing their final wishes, because her husband's clear message made the decision easier.
Alex Youngstrom, the fallen officer's oldest son, has started college and just switched his major to communications, his mother said.
"I'm really proud of Kenyon and what he did, and I'm glad he was able to save four people's lives," the Riverside resident said.
CHP officer's widow urges organ donation
Kenyon Youngstrom's twin brother, Clinton, attended Friday's ceremonies, also his first time back since the shooting.
"There are a lot of memories coming back here," Youngstrom said Friday, shortly after she gave a brief speech to a small gathering huddled under a tent as a soft rain fell. "It's a nice memory to add to the memory bank. It feels like a victory to be able to come back."
has been difficult since her husband's death, but his widow said the family has received help from the community.
Kenyon Youngstrom's organs saved four lives. A woman received his pancreas and one of his kidneys, a 50 year old Southern California father of four received his heart, one Bay Area woman received his liver, and another, who had been on the waiting list for a decade, received his other kidney, according to the California Transplant Donor Network.
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