“Folks, this is how I think of my Son, living large and loving life.
I long for that bright and shining morning when we will be able to talk once again.
Until then my Son, enjoy the view !!”
This past week was a nightmare. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, they did. My plan for last week was to go to my mom’s on Saturday, July 1st to help get her to the Dr. for more tests to find out why she is so sick and rapidly losing weight. Thoughts of cancer, tumors and death started to creep into my heart and mind. Trying to keep her calm and encouraged while taking some of the responsibility off of the siblings who live closer. Instead, I look at my phone on Friday, June 30, and see several missed calls from my sister Sherrie and several from my brother Chuck. I called my sister, thinking it had to be something bad even though her text message said to call her asap and that it wasn’t mom.
That morning, our lives changed once again. My oldest brother Chuck had just been told his 33 year old son was found dead in his apartment. In an instant, my mind reeled back to the morning I got the very same call, telling me my son had been found dead in his apartment and once again, I was thrown into a whirlwind of emotions. Now my brother was in that same storm. I’m trying to put my finger on exactly what I felt at that moment and it was dread. Dread for the road my brother had to walk down. It’s a dark and soul crushing journey which seems to take forever. He was in for a rollercoaster of emotions I never wanted anyone I love to ever experience. But there he was.
I left immediately to go be with my mom and help her cope with the added stress this news would bring. Chuck has an amazing wife who is his rock. She has a heart of gold and is as smart as they come so I am grateful he has a love in his life to help him on this journey. When I saw my brother the first day, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was prepared to hold him up if he broke down even though I have never seen him waver emotionally. He had his composure about him and seemed to want to focus on the good memories. He took me to the graveyard where he wants himself and his wife laid to rest. I watched him make plans for these events by calculating measurements, and I thought, “He is being too strong for day one of this nightmare”. That evening he posted some video’s on Facebook of his son Victor as a child and I knew right then he was about to hit that wall of grief. And he did. The next day wasn’t so kind to his heart but he rode that rollercoaster like a boss. The entire week was emotionally draining for my brother and his wife as they had to call people and retell the story, take calls and retell the story, make arrangements, and worse of all, they had to go clean out his son’s apartment. No parent should have to do this. I did it and it was torture. You will see the spot your child took his last breath, you might even see the clothes they had on when they passed or the iv bags the EMT’s leave behind showing that an attempt was made to save your child’s life. You will see their life as they saw fit to live it. How they decorated, what photo’s they chose to have displayed of family and friends, the magnets on their fridge, the books on their shelves and most importantly, the mementos of their childhood they chose to hang onto into adulthood. So there was some good things my brother got out of this horrible task and it does help to balance the nightmare you feel you are in at the moment. I have to admit, I never thought this would touch anyone in my family again but it has and now I need to be there for my brother and counsel him anyway I can.
I guess the lesson here is; if you can help someone get through a tough time because you’ve been through it too, then do it. Use the wisdom gained from your experiences to help someone else cope. Help them find the strength to keep their eyes open for that pin light of hope at the end of the tunnel because they might not be able to see it yet, just like you couldn’t. You know it’s there so just give them your strength to keep walking towards it.
When you lose a loved one, life will never be the same, it will just be different. In order to heal , you have to embrace your new life in your own time and at your own pace. Just remember: Be Strong. Be Brave. Be Fearless. You are never alone.