When I was in 3rd grade a family myself and my parents knew very well were in a terrible car accident. The father and two sons survived but, tragically, the mother did not.
I recall my mother being grief stricken by this loss as she and the deceased were very close. They took turns babysitting us kids and we also often played together while our Mom’s gabbed over coffee.
While I understood on some level the tragedy that occurred I hadn’t the life experience to fully grasp what this would do to the family. My own Mother’s death two and a half years ago has given me new perspective on how the children were affected.
I am the same age as the eldest son and shared many classes with him at school both before and after his Mom died. I recall how a sweet, sensitive and caring child became desperately angry, misunderstood and unpredictably tempestuous.
He would often act out in class, erupting with rage spewing forth like hot lava over seemingly trivial things. His signature move was throwing, yes throwing, his desk before stomping from the room yelling, cursing and crying. He seemed to have lost his ability to cope with life in a reasonable manner and was often feared by teachers and ridiculed by other students.
Knowing what I did of his personal life to some extent I often reached out to him as a friend and defended his actions to our peers. I would occasionally explain, in a hushed and sober tone, that his Mom had died and he needed extra understanding from us all.
My Mom died when I was 35 and I often tamp down the urge to throw things and scream from the rooftops how unfair this loss is. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to lose a parent as a child. How outrageously unfair!
I have long ago lost touch with this childhood pal but I often wonder how he’s made out in the world. My hope is he’s found a sense inner peace and personal success.
Just as we will all die someday so to will our parents, some earlier than others. I miss my Mom desperately this time of year. No sooner does her birthday pass than we are into the dreaded and somewhat empty-feeling holiday season.
I will try my hardest to get through this month by looking for simple joy and resist the urge to begin hurling Christmas trees round department stores. I hope my old friend finds the strength to do the same.