I don’t know why things happen the way they do.
During the final week of my daughters’ softball season, we found out the 7 year old brother of one of my daughter’s former teammate and friend died from an unexpected complication of his diabetes. His diabetes was carefully monitored, yet the doctors really don’t know what happened.
It’s been very unusual. Two weeks ago, I barely knew this family other than the father was my daughter’s softball coach and his daughter was my daughter’s friend and the son played with my daughters while their sisters played ball. From all accounts, this child was a delightful child, bringing joy and happiness wherever he went. I’m glad my daughters got to know him. Being shutter happy, I have pictures of the kids whenever the sisters played ball. We actually have a number of pictures with this child in them. I was both glad and saddened to see them.
We spent an intimate two days with his family during this extremely personal loss because of my daughters’ connection to his sister.
We spent a great deal of time at the wake, because my daughter wanted to stay and support her friend. We saw people from the girls elementary school – officials in the office, the school nurse, the counselor – and parents from the softball teams that knew the family, and from the girls former nursery school – the school director and one of his teachers that was also my daughter’s preschool teacher many moons ago came to pay their respects. Some almost instantly broke down…a few cried in my arms. I was touched to be able to be there. It seemed like I knew more people there at the wake than I had at my own families’ funerals.
At one point, I went out to the back of the funeral home, outside that overlooked a small pond. It was beautiful…and I cried. I cried partly for the boy and his family, but I cried for me and my family too…because being a wife and a mother hasn’t been easy and you always wonder “what if this were my child this happened to?”
I am immeasurably grateful to be challenged with motherhood. I can’t say I’m grateful to be challenged with complex PTSD while doing that. It makes ordinary family challenges all the more difficult, since emotions generally run high even during ordinary stresses. Being a witness to this family’s loss has given me a lot to think about in terms of my own daughters, of how I am now, and of where I want to be so that if anything were to happen to my own daughters, I’d have no regrets.
My daughter and I also went to the funeral and to the luncheon.
Three people gave eulogies about the boy, including his father. It was so heartbreaking, but he was able to laugh in between his tears. I don’t have any idea how he could have gotten up there and said anything at all…but I’m glad he got a chance to tell us his experiences with his son. He seemed to be very connected to his children and I was happy to hear he spent some time prior to his son’s death just hanging out and watching some movies together. He related so many funny stories and he has no regrets.
It was one of the most poignant eulogies I’d ever witnessed.
And, rather unexpectedly, through a strange coincidence, I got to sit at the father’s table at the luncheon, so I was able to spend more time getting to hear the stories of this sweet child, while my daughter got to sit with her friend at a nearby table.
I feel grateful that my daughter could be with her friend and I feel honored that we could bear witness and offer our support.
Sometimes I just get amazed with how unexpectedly our lives intersect…and how we are sometimes destined to play more than an incidental part in each other’s lives. Jung calls experiences like this synchronicity. The Chinese call this the red string of fate.
I am reminded about this concept in one of my favorite television shows called Touch.
I don’t know if we are for sure destined to meet certain people, but I always wonder about that. I certainly don’t take these things for granted and I always wonder what it means.