Life can be so lovely and then suddenly so unexpectedly cruel. This morning I had been writing about the joy of being at our cozy old house in Ilwaco when technology intruded. I received a message from a friend that the step-son of a mutual friend was killed on his Vespa last night in Tacoma. You’re going along living your life, which is pretty good, and boom!
My greatest nightmare is losing a child. Although I have four of them I cannot imagine my life without any one of them. As it is I carry with me the knowledge that the average life expectancy for a person with Down’s Syndrome is 50 and my daughter is 38. I would be devastated to lose her or any one of my sons. I try not to dwell on it.
Several years ago a cousin of mine lost his middle son through suicide. He was on antidepressants and maybe that’s what caused it and maybe he really didn’t mean it, but suicide is the ultimate F-you to those who love you. My cousin had sense enough to join a parent support group to help him deal with the grief, but he still stops by the cemetery regularly to “talk” to his son. My cousin’s wife dealt with it differently. She closed her son’s bedroom door and there it sits. She wouldn’t go to the support group with my cousin. Maybe she thought that no one could understand the level of her grief. I can imagine it. I don’t know how I would react. I believe I would lose my mind. In some ways my cousin’s wife did.
So a lovely sunny morning at the beach has turned contemplative as messages fly across the ether about what we can do to support this family in their time of grief. When the house is clean and the car packed I will head home to a grieving circle of friends.