Do you watch Game of Thrones? John and I have loved this show since it began. The characters are fantastic, and although I have had to close my eyes on too many occasions, lol, we have stuck with it season after season. Game of Thrones came out the year Luke passed away and I immediately loved Daenyrus, Mother of Dragons. What I especially connected with was that she was the Mother to so many – in spirit and in duty – and in my mind I coined myself, Mother of my Wachusett Lovelies because I felt like I had become the same thing – Mother to so many. All these young adults that had loved Luke, and now loved and protected our family fiercely, became my focus of caring. I wanted to help them through this traumatic event that had brought us together. I even started a Twitter account, it was relevant back then, lol, so I could post words to inspire them and make them laugh. Because we all needed that. A little lightness amongst all our pain. In losing Luke, I gained more kids than one woman needs. lol.
And what an extended family these kiddos became for me. They sent me pictures of their last days of school: Senior Skip Day (no evidence, my lovelies!) and the class barbeque. I was invited to the LeMays for Prom pictures which was glorious until it was gut-wrenching when they all hopped into their cars and headed out. To see those young faces – so full of joy and promise was a beautiful thing. I tried not to focus on the fact that mine was not there.
All that summer the kids were around. They would come over and just hang out and I would love when they would ask to visit – usually at an ungodly hour like 9 pm lol (TONI!) when I would want to be in bed – but the idea that they imagined me worthy of their time and conversation always won out. I could sit in the screened-in porch for hours listening to them discuss whatever was on their minds – relationships, food, what they were going to do when they left my house. I am not sure any of them realize how important this was in my healing process. Having those kids in my world made it feel a little like Luke was still in the house, even if only in spirit. Think about how incredible it is, friends, that these teenagers – 17 and 18 year olds – got out of their own self-absorbed heads, put aside their own hurting hearts, and came over to hang out with the family of their friend who had passed away. It blows my mind every time I think about it and I try to tell them that one day, when they are parents themselves and think about what it must have felt like for us to lose a child, maybe then they will truly understand how much these relationships and that summer meant to me.
Time goes on, of course, and three years later I don’t see them or hear from them like I used to (no, lads, this is not to make you feel guilty lol) and I am okay with this. You’re supposed to go to college, find great jobs, and someone to love. Truthfully, I miss them every day and I struggle sometimes not to text them, but I don’t want to interrupt the important work of moving forward that they are doing. They got me through that first summer and for that, ALWAYS, they will have my heart.
So here’s what I need you to know: If today is your Day One, don’t be afraid to maintain relationships with friends that your child had. Seeing them happy, helps to remind you that your child was happy, too, and those are wonderful memories to hold on to. If you are the friend of someone who has passed away and you are reading this, don’t be afraid to reach out to the family. Stop by, send a card, share a story -just don’t let that relationship end. It might be hard for you, but it is EVERYTHING to that family.
Lastly, if you are reading this and you are one of my lovelies, thank you. I would like to put something deep and meaningful here, but I can feel the eyerolls lol so it will have to wait for one of those famous conversations on my front steps. Much love. Xxx