I thought long and hard about what kind of post I wanted to write two sleeps, as we like to say at the Inwood House, before Christmas. The OCD part of me wanted to continue with my First Days posts, but deep in my heart, the message I really wanted you to have on this day is that there is HOPE. I wanted you to know that whether this is your Day One, Day One Hundred, or Nine Years Later there are things out there that remind us that every sunrise brings new promise.
My saving grace has been the children. Now I say “children”, but what I really mean is Luke’s friends. I mentioned last post that Luke was lucky enough to have an amazing circle of friends. The Rutland crew really solidified in Middle School and from that point forward, they did everything together. It was boys and girls alike and, although it morphed a bit in High School, the faces going in and out of my garage remained the same. Luke once tweeted there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his boys and that is the truth of it. Luke was happiest partying or even just hanging out with his friends. There were many a night I could hear them laughing their asses off in the basement and it made my mom heart happy knowing he had such. good. friends.
So, fast forward to Luke’s death and uppermost in my mind are the lads. How did losing their best friend at seventeen become part of their personal history? How the heck do you cope with that? You don’t have any strategies at seventeen. I was worried sick about what this was going to do to them. The day we laid Luke to rest we had an Irish Funeral at our house and everyone was there. I will never forget the moment late that night, as I sat on my back deck looking up at the stars with Luke’s bestie, Eric, when he looked over at me with tears in his eyes and said, “What about me? What am I supposed to do now?” I remember I hugged him hard and my heart cracked open and made a place for Eric that will always be his. I made a promise to myself, in that moment, that I would take care of this kid and do whatever I could to get him through this. The amazing thing that happened, though, was that over the next several months with every call, every text, every visit I had with Eric that I thought was helping him, it was actually helping me. Eric lets me love him like I would love my own seventeen year old son, and for that act of kindness, I have no words. It has been EVERYTHING.
Eric is not my only savior. I hesitate to try and list all their names because there are SO MANY lovelies that do little things to take care of my heart. Justin stopped by when he was delivering pizzas to say hey. Toni tags me on Twitter for Best Friend Day. Fran writes me the most beautiful letters. Thad, Dom, Camden, Cody, Brendan, Sam, Beck, Justin, Alex, Devin, Cam, Nate, Ashley, Berkeley, Gray, Madi – my sweet Madi and Haley, and all the Taylors, and oh my gosh, BILLY, let me love them and call them my own. And every time I see one of them or text with them or call them, it is this beautiful thread that ties them, and Luke, and I together forever and we are all stronger for it.
It was almost a year after Luke had passed away that my boy, Eric, and I were on the front step having a heart to heart. He is a rock, this boy, and plays his cards very close to the chest. Eric seemed to be doing well, but I was worried that what I was seeing was maybe just an act to make me feel better. So I asked.
“Are you okay?” I knew the meaning behind my words was made clear through my tone and the concern in my eyes.
“I’m okay if you’re okay,” he responded.
“I’m okay,” I whispered back. And I smiled and we hugged and I realized it was the truth. We were okay.
So what I need you to know is: Your Hope is out there. Hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope that each day will get easier. Maybe it’s a project, or a garden, or a walk in the woods. Maybe it’s a therapist, or a friend, or a healer. Maybe it’s a book or a quote that speaks to your heart. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the best friends of your son.
Wishing you Hope this holiday. xxx