Time is flying by. January, February, March, April and now May. The temperatures are heating up, and the rain is falling with less frequency. The other night, I saw my first firefly (aka: lightning bug.) Summer is inching its way into the Midwest. Shorts and flip-flops have become the common attire, and the baseball fields are filled to capacity. Hopefully, the tempo of life will weaken its pace, and the lazy days of summer will be upon us. I am up for a little lazy!
Today, I went to a visitation-for a child. I have been to many visitations in my lifetime, but never for an 11-year old-a boy born within the same year as my own son. I dreaded going to the funeral home. I was nervous about facing the family, and even more worried that the casket would be open. It was. I spoke briefly with the parents, trying to avoid eye contact with the small, “sleeping”, bald-headed boy nestled so delicately in the adult-sized, shiny, wooden box. I made my way to a second room, where a video rolled with cherished family photos captured in happier times. I could only briefly view the images of the boy sitting on Santa’s knee, or dressed for Halloween in fireman gear. My heart ached as I watched with tears swelling in my eyes, making the pictures blurry at times. I left almost as quickly as I came, hoping that this was the first and last time that I would have to attend such an event for a child.
It seemed fitting and appropriate that at the exact time people were arriving to pay their respects, the dark and gloomy skies opened up and unleashed a torrential downpour. It appeared that even the clouds were allowing their grief to spill over.
It has been months since I have actually sat down and written something. I have been caught up in our frazzled and frenzied schedule that occurs every Spring. I also hesitated to pen my thoughts during times earlier this year when they seemed dark and gloomy. ( I diagnosed myself with a case of S.A.D. topped off with menopausal mood swings.) Today, I sat down at the keyboard in an attempt to come up with some profound succession of words that might help me express my sincere sadness to a new friend that lost her eleven-year old son to cancer early Saturday morning. What do you say to a mother who has just experienced the most unthinkable tragedy? There are no textbooks that prepare us for what to say or do when events occur outside of their natural order. Plain and simply-parents are not supposed to bury their children.
My heart aches for the family and the long road of grief that they will be forced to travel. I wish them the strength they will need to hang onto each other through the rough days ahead, and quietly pray that they will remain intact as a unit. (Lesser amounts of stress have been known to tear apart a family or a marriage.) For their beautiful son and brother, A., I am confident that he is safe and well on the other side, free of pain and surrounded by love.