After today I may never read the obits in the paper again. I saw the smiling face of a young man, and when I read the name I started to feel numb. The little 3 year old boy who was so bright, so friendly, kind and amazingly smart, had passed away a mere 11 years later. I had the privilege of having this child in the preschool class I taught. He was one that stood out, and I have always remembered. I still often tell the story of how he could recognize all of his classmates names, even ones that shared the same first letter (so there went the theory that he just knew from the first letter of their names!). He was a shining star.
All at once I felt immense grief for the loss of such a young life. I felt what I'm sure is just a mere fraction of the grief and pain his parents must be going through. I felt sad for the world that he did not have the chance to do more, to make a larger impact. I felt such pain over thinking how could this child understand. How do you tell your kid they are so sick, and worse yet, that they will die. How do you watch your child struggle for years and go through brutal treatments for such a terrible disease (he died of leukemia), and finally how do you watch your precious child breathe their last breath? I am trying to understand. I'm trying to accept that this happens. For most of the evening I've just been trying to breathe, and not to flood our house with the tears that can't stop.
I held my boys closer tonight. My oldest son tried to comfort me with hugs, he asked questions, he tried to understand what was going on to make me so sad. As he was falling asleep, he touched my face and asked if my eyes were better now. My husband was struggling to understand my sadness. I tried to explain that taking care of a small child 5 days a week for months on end, you grow attached (to some more than others). To me he is still 3. To me he is the same age as my oldest child who means the world to me. I don't know about other parents, but I immediately go to the fear of losing either of my own children. It overwhelms me.
I apologize for the downer post, but I'm not feeling funny or chipper, or even just happy. I feel like I need to figure this out, somehow, but I also know that is impossible. You cannot wrap your head around something this big. Hopefully, writing about it tonight will be therapeutic. My thoughts are with his family, and I hope they can someday find peace. I don't know how they will, but I hope they can.