For the rest of my life, I will never forget holding my sobbing daughter in our family room a few nights ago as she heaved great, heavy sobs of pain. How helpless I felt as I held her shaking body tightly and had nothing to say except, “I love you so much. I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry.”
The rest of our family heard the sobbing and came running to us and wrapped their arms around us as well. I felt like we were in a scene from a movie. I felt like I was outside my body looking at us, seeing us, the five of us standing there locked in a group embrace. How can this be real? How can this have happened? But it is real. And it did happen. Why oh why, oh why God? Why?
And as a mom, as someone who is supposed to be able to help my daughter, someone who is supposed to explain things to her, give her advice, make things better, I had no words. I had nothing I could do. Nothing I could say. Because I could not even understand it myself. And what an absolute horrible and helpless feeling to not be able to help your child. But what an even worse feeling to lose one.
And then I felt guilty. Guilt for my own pain and my own sadness for not being able comfort my living, breathing, child when another mother just lost her son, forever. And then I broke down for her, and for her family, and for the unfathomable, devastating, insurmountable pain they are feeling.
This week our community lost a 17-year old boy in a car accident caused by cardiac arrest. Only a junior in high school. So much life ahead of him. And who this week didn’t ask God, WHY? Why take such a young life? Why the life of a boy so loved? Why so suddenly without goodbye?
Upon hearing the news, I wrote:
“There are no words to be said when suddenly a 17-year-old is dead.
So unfair, so sudden, fast. How could today be his last?
A life so young, so much ahead, how can a 17-year-old be dead?
My daughter saw him just today, so many things left for her to say….
Summer memories in her head, how can a 17-year-old be dead?
My heart breaks for him, his family. Cannot imagine how intense their pain must be.
I don’t understand, I ask God, WHY? Why does a 17-year-old have to die?”
The only small comfort I can take is in what I learned just days ago-this amazing young man had a heart condition diagnosed at birth. Doctors said he may only live a day. But not this guy. He made it seventeen years. God gave him seventeen years on this earth to touch so many lives. To make a difference in our world. But that doesn’t make it easier. It doesn’t make his parent’s pain less, my daughter’s pain less, or the pain less for the many other people who will miss him forever.
But it does remind me of God’s plan. It does remind me of my belief that there is divine reason behind all things even if we may not understand it. I believe that in this horrible, tragic, painful death that affected so many, God gave us a few small gifts to hold on to:
-He gave the world a beautiful soul for seventeen years. A soul that touched, inspired and loved so many.
-He gave us faith to listen to ourselves, and to not always listen to the doctors. To live our story. To believe we can beat the odds.
-He gave us a much-needed reminder of how important every day in our lives is and not to take a single one for granted.
So, while I still don’t have words of wisdom for my daughter and while I still feel helpless right now as a mom, I can try to tell her how lucky she is to have known this boy. How lucky she is that she was in his circle of light. And how lucky she is to be able to carry his memory with her forever as a reminder of how very, very precious every single day is.
And as a mom, I realize I may not always know what to say, or what to do, but I always have arms to hold and an “I love you” to share. And sometimes, that is all I can do.
Blessings and much love to all, today and all days,