My first thought upon waking this morning was of our son. In my heart I was hugging him tight, though he’s three hours away at his university.
In the night, during one of several hours of wakefulness, I had looked at Facebook to pass the time. Scrolling through the posts, it took me a moment to process one in particular: a photo of a young man who was a classmate of our boy, captioned “RIP, November 16, 2015.”
Though there were many young friends who hung out at our house, came over for rehearsals, sat down with us for dinner, this was not a face I knew well. In fact, I only knew this young man by name, because our boy has mentioned him fairly often, even after he’s gone away to college. Right in the middle of a conversation: “Hold on, Jacob just texted me. I need to answer him.” A phone call in the car: “Oh, it’s Jacob. I have to pick up.” After supper: “I’ll be busy tonight – Jacob wants me to play <insert name of online game here> .”
Over time, I gathered that Jacob was somewhere on the ASD spectrum. That he really only left his house to go to school. That he was in a difficult place emotionally.
I don’t even know how The Boy knew this young man. I assume they had classes together in middle school, but according to reports, none in high school. Our son didn’t say much about Jacob. Just “He’s a good kid.” And “He kind of needs a friend.”
And now Jacob is gone. I don’t know any details, but I can guess.
I texted my boy the moment I woke up. He replied immediately. I ended with “Love you times a million.”
He’ll be home in a few days for Thanksgiving break. Until then I’ll be hugging him as tight as I can, every moment, in my heart.