On Significant Losses

Today was a tough day.  Not like tough work out at the gym or even bosses hassling you at work, today was one of those days that all day you wish wasn’t really happening.

Today started off with happy kids and breakfast, grumpy kids getting ready for school, drop off at school was normal.  the 2yo and I ran some errands and I even bought an expensive water flosser after my exciting trip to the dentist yesterday.

When we got home things took a downturn.  2yo had a melt down which is normal for a 2yo.  My boss(and very very good friend) was sitting in the living room talking to her visiting step-mother-in-law just before heading out for lunch.  I took 2yo upstairs to his room to watch a video and calm down.  I came back down to get him a drink when I saw S(boss and friend) sitting in a chair on the phone with a look of panic.  She said “something really bad has happened.”  It appeared she was sitting on hold for a minute or two, but when the other person on the line came back and told her the news she was devastated.

The strongest woman I have ever met in my life had lost everything in that moment.  She was rocking back and forth sobbing and just asking “why?, why does this always happen?”  My biggest fear at that moment was that something had happened to her 8yo who is deathly allergic to nuts.  I have never been more relieved to find that what I first thought was not true.   I do not know how our family could survive if that was the case.

After a minute she returned to a sense of her normal self and asked the person on the phone, “Ok what are the next steps?  Where do I need to go?”

I began to realize it was her brother.  He died very young (45) and very suddenly at home of natural causes.  The next hour or so was one of the saddest of my life.  This woman who lived with her father dying when she was 12, her mother when she was 18 was now having to experience the death of her older brother at 43.  She had such a small family to being with and it was still being taken away from her and her sister.

The next several hours, I made phone calls and tried to keep as much of a normal day in place as possible J(her husband) came home from work to be there when S got home.  (She left for several hours to go identify him and meet with various officials.

The next big blow came when the 8yo came home.  He happened to get to the house just as his mother was and she called him into the car and they talked and cried for a long time.  I was with the 2yo when 8yo came in from outside.  To see the look on his face and and know the pain he felt cannot be described.  2yo gave his brother a hug and said I love you and we’re all just trying to trudge through it.

I have experienced death with close family members, and recently, but to see how children deal with such things that are often beyond their understanding is beyond me.

D was an amazing guy, he was fun and energetic.  He loved sports and his friends and family and more than anyone else he love and was so incredibly proud of his nephews.  He will be missed by all who have met and know him, but the biggest loss of all falls to the children who never got to know their uncle as an adult.  Fortunately the memories they do have of him are rough housing in the basement, playing soccer in the yard, the 8yo even had an incredible trip to the Super Bowl with him.  There was so much fun and laughter and energy.  One day we will be able to look at those times and the smiles will overshadow the tears, but for today and probably many days from now, most of what we feel is the loss of someone who has changed all our lives forever.

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