November 17th, 2012 was a day that shook up the lives of many people, people I would come to know and love. My boyfriend and I had only been dating for a month at the time. We’d just gone out the night before in fact to celebrate. That day we were supposed to meet up at a friend’s for their daughter’s birthday party. I received a text from him that day that said there’d been a family emergency, so he’d be unable to attend. I was curious, but I did not pry. I went about my business and did what I could to help make Hali’s birthday party a success. Hali did have a good time and so looking back on that day now, there was some sunshine upon that day to be grateful for….
Well, anyway, I eventually went back home to check on my grandma, whom I was taking care of at the time. I told my friend I might be back to keep her company. She had an apartment full of pre-teen girls, so having another adult there would be appreciated. 😉 When I was at home and I was settling in for the evening, my boyfriend messaged me online and told me what was going on. His mother died that day. She had cut herself and then they think she second guessed what she was doing and tried to get help, as she was headed in the direction of the hospital. No one knows for sure, but we’re hoping. She crashed the car, they think she might have passed out from the pain. Her faith in God was strong, but she’d been dealing with a lot lately, a lot that no one really understood. My heart broke instantly upon reading Doug’s words. I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t met his family yet, we were a new couple, and I wanted to approach this in appropriately, only I wasn’t sure how. (I did go back to my friend’s, needed emotional support and she needed the company. It was good to have her to talk to that night.)
The next day was bowling league and he showed up. He told us he probably would because he needed to get his mind off things. He was a bit rough for the wear, as was to be expected. We told him he did not need to be there, but he stayed, and did the best he could. We gave him love and support. He told me later that his dad wanted me to come to the funeral. They had been wanting to meet me, granted not under these circumstances, but he felt I should be there. I had told Doug it was up to him, whether he felt it inappropriate for me to be there or if he needed me to stand beside him. When he told me he wanted me there and that his family wanted me to come, I decided to go.
The wake/visitation was rough. His dad hugged me when he met me, fell apart in my arms. I broke down a bit, but I held him. I hugged so many people that day, many I don’t remember today. There was a lot of crying, some laughing too as they recalled memories of her. I was told by more than one person they were glad I was there to support Doug. I know now, it was the right place to be, by his side. It’s where I want to be for the rest of my life, through the extremely good and the heartbreakingly tough. We’re approaching the one year mark since she died. Sunday is going to be very emotional for him and his family. I will be right where I was a year ago, holding his hand and supporting him. His family is wonderful and I am glad I have been able to get to know them. Many times I wish I had gotten to meet them under better circumstances and more so, that I had gotten to meet his mom, alive. But, I have gotten to know her in a different way. I am grateful for the pictures I have seen, the stories I have heard, and I think the greatest part of her I see is in her children. She and Phil raised three wonderful children, all driven to succeed, who have outstanding morals, and have such warm and giving hearts. Her legacy shall live on through them and her grandchildren, as well as the rest of her family and her friends. So many people miss her and Sunday will be rough, but love will help us through. It is not easy to deal with death, even though it’s something we all face. But, with God’s love and grace….and time, we won’t fully heal, but we’ll make it.