Drink today, and drown all sorrow;
You shall perhaps not do it tomorrow;
Best, while you have it, use your breath;
There is no drinking after death. ~Ben Jonson
This past weekend dad and I were in New York setting up a tree stand and getting ready for deer season. As I’ve mentioned before, the New York season starts a week or two before ours in Pennsylvania, so we always get our tags and head up to hunt. On our way back from Cortland, dad got a call from a guy he works with, informing dad of some horrible news. Dad’s good friend Mike, another one of dad’s co-workers and a guy I’ve hunted on his property, lost his son Friday night in a car accident. What?
Yes. It was one of those moments when the past came rushing back and instantly depression fell over both of us. For a brief moment, it wasn’t about Mike and his family, it was our family that was reliving a tragedy that happened nearly 13 years ago this October. It was the phone call that changed everything, it was dad traveling to get back home after hearing the news, it was shock and a devastation that took us all off guard and permanently changed our lives.
Then, to find out Mike’s son had a little boy too. Seriously? Yes. I’m not sure of the age of the child but that poor little munchkin will be following in Kyle’s footsteps of loosing his dad too early in life and only knowing him through stories. That breaks my heart more than you can imagine.
There are no words that can be said to ease the family’s pain and help lesson the blow and gradually move them into reality. None. I know personally. What they need are prayers, a lot of prayers, and support when asked. Sometimes the best way to help, at least from my experience, was to keep a distance and being there when called upon, for they will reach out. It may take them a while and it may be in a way that is unconventional, but it will happen.
They first need to get used to the new direction of their life and deal with the stress, the sadness, the confusion, the anger and everything in between on their own. Then, their next obstacle will be dealing with the holidays and memories and accepting life as it is. That is until they get to a point of possibly addressing the deceased belongings and such. Believe it or not, another horrible pain, all a reminder of what used to be and what will never be again.
Is this immediate? No, the emotional roller-coaster ride will go on for years, I still deal with it presently. Like it or not the holidays arrive and leave. Sometimes I slept through them and sometimes I dealt with them by visiting Ryan in the cemetery. Naturally having Kyle helped ease some pain and almost made these celebrated seasons enjoyable. As for the belongings, it took me a few years before I really went through Ryan’s stuff and organized it and made sense of it all. I never got rid of anything of Ryan’s, in fact I boxed it up waiting till the time was right to give it to Kyle, if he wanted anything. Of course, we didn’t even really need to do this, but we wanted to turn Ryan’s old room into Kyle’s, resulting in the need to make room for Kyle’s “stuff”. And let me tell you, there’s a lot of “stuff”. It seems like every year he accumulates more, even though every year we give a ton to St. Vincent de Paul.
I know others may have it worse, but this one is a little too close to home for my liking. I always said, I never wished anyone to go through what we did. At least, I’ve always had my family for support. From the beginning, my family has been tight and held together through the entire tragedy of loosing Ryan, barely but we did it. I pray Mike and his family remain as such and reach out to other friends and family for support when it’s right for them. As time passes, it will never be easy, NEVER, but life will become manageable, at least in short segments at first. Ryan, We Miss You!
I chose not to use full names or even mention names out of respect for the family. I didn’t want to bother them with asking permission to write this blog and I didn’t want to bring additional attention to their situation. I do however want to flood them with prayers and well wishes. I want them to have some peace, the next week is going to get even worse before the healing begins.
Please everyone say a pray for this family and the newly deceased. God speed.
I would also like to send thoughts and prayers to my cousin Roxanne who just lost her mom. It was a long battle with cancer, which Roxanne sat by her side and took care of her mother until the very end. My heart is broken for my sincere and wonderful cousin who only a few short years ago lost her dad too. She’s been through enough. Also please pray for her and her family’s peace. God speed.