Our family has faced a heck of a lot recently. We’re not immune to it; no one is. You just don’t expect it to happen to you. Yet, here it is.
We managed to push aside the depressing news and try to have a nice Thanksgiving. Realizing that we can’t do anything about certain situations, we can only pray, we strived to enjoy the day with family.
My family arrived Thursday for the noon meal, and we said a prayer of thanksgiving as we prepared to enjoy the feast before us. We laughed, we loved, we enjoyed each other’s company.
After the meal, we settled in to attempt to watch a movie. The food coma consumed us, and before we knew it, everyone in the room had fallen asleep at different points.
That afternoon we were scheduled to have a gender reveal party, but the less than favorable results from the ultrasound changed our plans. Instead, we had a “Thankful For Baby and Mama” party, and we were delighted when several of my niece’s friends attended.
We took pictures, she opened presents we had for her, and a good time was had by all.
Friday morning, my niece called and so we invited her and her boyfriend over for another day of food and fun. The day was nearly perfect … until tragedy struck.
At around 9:45 p.m. we received a life altering phone call from my ex husband’s family. They were seeking my oldest daughter’s work phone number to deliver tragic news that her brother had passed away. I knew my daughter would not take it well, so delivering this type of news over the phone was not an option. I set out to deliver the news in person when she got off work in a town an hour and 15 minutes away.
We drove almost completely in silence the entire way there. Dread filled our entire spirits as we approached her place of employment. We waited for her to walk to her car as the rain began to fall. I love seeing her face smiling back at me, but that night, she was surprised to see us, of course, as one can imagine. I did not want to hit her with the news immediately, so I tried to small talk as I walked her to our vehicle where I ushered her in to take a seat. Her beautiful blue eyes grew wider with concern and surprise. As she was seated, I tried to break the news as gently as possible, but there is no easy way to relay this kind of news. I placed my hand on her arm, looked into her eyes, and spoke as softly as I could knowing the blow those words would deliver. She sat in shock, then began to shake, and finally dissolved into tears.
My heart broke right there right along with hers. A mother strives to shelter her children from hurt and pain, but here it was washing over her and crashing into her. The pain those words brought are unlike anything she’s ever felt before, I’m sure.
Her brother passed away.
He was only 19 years old.
Gone way too soon.
No one can grasp why something like this has to happen. There are a million questions but no answers this side of Heaven.
I’ve tried to stay close to my daughter during this time. We went to see her dad’s side of the family Saturday and spent a great deal of time with them. Her dad and step-mom had just returned from making the funeral arrangements as we waited with the rest of his family. Not knowing how that was going to go, I still pushed everything aside for my daughter. Thankfully, they were nice, and we all greeted with hugs. I was a part of that family for years, and although we’ve been divorced more years than we were married, I was thankful for not feeling like a complete outsider. They were once my family, too, and we spent so much time together during the years I was married to my ex.
Before we went to leave, my ex-husband walked out on the patio with my daughter and I. We stood there for a brief minute talking as he became emotional. He was saying how he hoped we could let things of the past go. That is what I’ve been trying to do for years. Grudges were being held, but not by me or else I wouldn’t have been there the entire afternoon/evening with them. As he began to get emotional, my daughter slipped her arms around her father. I walked closer to them and hugged them both. They were once my little family … just the three of us … and emotions were so high at that point remembering and thinking of what once was and should have been to what was happening at the present time mourning this great loss of a once vibrant soul with a sparkling smile that would light up a room. Then I gave my daughter and her father a few minutes alone while I returned to my vehicle.
My daughter was reunited with her dad and his family. It is a shame that a tragedy occurred for this to happen. Choices were made on both sides and hearts were hardened before. Yet, now stands before them a chance to begin again.
As joy returns, it’s tainted by the tragedy and the intense grief.
We surround the family with prayers as they face this week. An autopsy was performed, and now the family awaits today to visits with him alone at the funeral home. Tomorrow they will receive friends at the visitation, and Thursday will be incredibly hard for them all as they bury this beautiful soul along with all the hopes and dreams they held close to their hearts for his future.
May God comfort as only He can at this most difficult time.