The worst thing for any parent…
This post is going to be similar to how my mind is right now, fractured, so please bear with me.
Today has been the worst day in my parenting life thus far and that isn’t even a macrocosm of how two of my best friends feel right now.
Their teenage son, despite struggling with autism and epilepsy his whole life was one of the sweetest and nicest kids you could ever meet. He was also smart and funny even though sometimes he’d be hard to understand.
When I think about him the thing that immediately comes to mind is the tenderness with which he held my daughter the last time I saw him. It’s like he fully understood how precious she was to me.
And that’s how I am always going to remember him. Because today he didn’t wake up.
Ever have one of those times when the tears just don’t stop.
Ever wonder why life is so damned unfair sometimes??? He was a really good kid and his parents worked so hard to help him.
I was really saddened when I got the call but managed to keep myself together until I saw the parents.
I am Jewish by blood (travels on the mom’s side I’m told) but I was not raised as such. So today was the first time in my life I’ve been to a Jewish funeral…
Walking in and seeing the family was overwhelming for me. But when I saw them have to put their youngest son in the ground I thought I felt a part of me die. I realized that there is nothing harder for a parent to do than to have to let go of a child. Especially after so many years of raising them.
As it was winding to a close the only things I could think of was how sorry I was for them and how desperately I needed to get home and hold my daughter against my chest and feel her breathing against me. To feel life after being surrounded by so much death.
I hugged each of the family and then seeing the mother as I hugged her sent me over the edge. I realized there can be no worse feeling in this world than a mother losing her child.
When I finally got home my daughter squealed in delight and ripped a flower out of mom’s anniversary arrangement and ran over and hugged onto my leg and looked up at me with a face that said “daddy, you look like you need a hug.”
I cracked right down the middle.
After holding her as tight as I could for about 15 minutes, I spoke briefly with my wife and then spent the rest of the day playing with my daughter while burning into my memory every single hair, every nuance of her movement, every sound she made, every fiber of her being just to try and treasure and be thankful for that moment with her.
I don’t believe in any one particular god, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that right now I’m asking every single one of them to let me enjoy as many years as possible with my daughter, and when my time comes for her to see me on my way to wherever I go next.
And if you haven’t told your child today how much you love them, then back away from the computer and do so right now.
Even if you’re livid with them right now, take this next moment and tell them truly how much they mean to you.
Not just that you love them with a kiss on the cheek, but how much the truly mean to you.
And then tell a friend to do the same.
Who knows how many other times we may get to do that?
And death humbles us all.