Forced perspective

Later today The Boy will come home. We didn’t expect to see him again until Thanksgiving, and of course I’m thrilled to have him here. It will be the first full weekend he’s spent at home since he moved to his university in August. The moment when he arrives and I reach (way) up to hug him long and hard will be the pinnacle of my day. My baby is coming home.

My friend’s baby will never come home again. His life was cut short three days ago in an auto accident.

This boy’s father is so button-bursting proud of his two sons that we hear his voice literally shouting out over the crowd at every single performance we’ve viewed and re-viewed on video this week, and there are many. The depths of his despair at this time are evident.

But it’s his mama’s grief that makes my throat catch every few minutes of every waking hour all this week.

Last night as I sat with her and we cried together, I asked her if he sang around the house all day (as does my boy when he’s home, at the top of his lungs). Yes, she confirmed. He sang constantly. But now the house (in the few hours each day when it’s not filled with members of our community) is silent and ever will be so.

She is dreading the moment when all the friends and family must finally go home. Of course, she and her husband will never be simply abandoned. But the time will come. The silence will be deafening.

My friend will suddenly find herself with a truly empty nest, one that will never be more than half-filled even when her darling older son is home. And with dreadful, unshakeable finality. One moment she’s the same mom I’ve always been – never happier than when supporting and being with her children. Bearing so much motherly love that it overflows to all the other young people in our “village.” The next moment she has lost permanently her most coveted role. Her older son is equally adored and will be a lifeline. But he cannot and should not ever take the place of the one who is lost forever.

In the last few months as my oldest and youngest have flown away, I have grieved over the natural order of things. I’ve mourned the significant loss of my most important life’s work – that of being “Mama.” My darlings are distant and I miss them terribly every day.

Now I have a new perspective.

Treasuring these three more now than ever before.

Treasuring these three more now than ever before.


4 thoughts on “Forced perspective

  1. Very beautifully written. Oh, I have so much more to say, but now I’m all emotional. I also count my blessings that my kids are healthy and happy. As I remember seeing the pain on my own mother’s face after losing two of her children, my heart breaks for your friend. May she find some peace, and in time, celebrate his life–even though it was short, he filled their lives with many joyous parts of him they will always carry in their hearts and in their memories.


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