Each August for the last 5 years memories come flooding into my heart. Most of which are not good memories, but I can find some hidden within. It was a very difficult time, not only in my own life but of my family’s as well. The end of August, the 27th to be exact, 2004 brought for us my cancer diagnosis. We hadn’t had time to get over the shock of my Mom’s own diagnosis in July. Difficult times, difficult days, least of which was surgery, chemo and radiation to contend with. Once the treatments got started I only left the cocoon of my home, my couch, to go to the hospital or Doctors. The first venture out for me that year, for something other than the “fry machine”, was Christmas eve. My mother just ever so lightly pushed me to get off my couch to see my Aunt Marlene. If she had pushed hard I wouldn’t have done it. Aunt Marlene was very sick, but had made the trip down from Minnesota to spend Christmas with the family. My Mom wanted me to see her. I’m not sure who I thought would die first. It was a bitterly sad Christmas eve. How do you say goodbye without saying the words? Your heart tells you this is the last time you will see each other, but you can’t bring yourself to that kind of talk, but even without those words, it was a chance, whatever words were chosen, to say goodbye. We knew. By late winter, early spring that following year I was getting better and Aunt Marlene wasn’t. I was so torn by this loss in my life, but so at peace having let my Mom push me out the door that night to say my goodbyes.
I didn’t think there was anything more horrible that could happen in our lives, but I was so terribly wrong. April, a time of renewal and hope brought even more torture into our lives, but mostly for my son Levi. My heart broke for him that night, April 17th.
We want so desperately to take our children’s pain from them. How could I bring any comfort to my son? He didn’t have the chance to say goodbye. His friend took his own life, even as Levi, friends and that young man’s family desperately tried to find him, before it was too late. The absolute shock, the not wanting to believe it possible, but then the boys being called to the spot and seeing their friend, with his spirit gone and nothing being able to bring him back.
How could I understand this taking of life, when I had been with all my own heart hoping to live, even just one more day. To see my children grow, to see the sunset and awake to the sunrise for just one more morning. So much pain left behind for the living when a life on earth is gone from our hearts.
The wounds in my own heart, caused by the painfulness of that time start to heal each year, but then they begin to seep a bit as August approaches. This August they have not only seeped, but been ripped open twice again, one with opportunity for words and one for a hurting family I don’t even know, but see they never had a chance to say goodbye.
At the time of Levi’s friend’s death, there were no words I thought I could speak to Levi, so I wrote instead. Hoping to help heal my own heart and praying it was the right thing for him and hoping he knew I was trying to bring some tiny minuscule comfort to his heart.
One Man’s Wilderness
Were you really all alone there in the wilderness you called Kevin? If only you could have seen the sorrow you left behind. Maybe you’d have stayed a little longer, even if it was 10 feet behind, trying to catch up. If you had only spent a moment longer to surround yourself with the warmth held within your friends once more.