I believe one of the hardest things about losing a loved one suddenly is the lack of closure. When you don’t have a chance to say good-bye or tell someone you love them or hold them one last time, it weighs on you. It is like one big regret that you simply can’t get past.
From the moment I understood that Luke was truly gone, I wanted to see him. I wanted to lay my eyes on his seventeen year old face one more time; maybe hold him in my arms and cradle him like when he was a little boy. I asked the poor officer who drove me to the high school, a number of times, when I would be able to see Luke, unaware of what had actually happened at the crash scene. He somehow danced his way around answering that one. It wasn’t until we were all sitting in the conference room at Wachusett that a female officer explained that it wasn’t going to happen – and that I shouldn’t see him – for my own sake. I am grateful for this advice now because I am not sure I would have recovered from seeing Luke after he had been in the fire. My beautiful boy was consumed in the flames, you see, and they needed dental records to confirm his identity for the autopsy. Sigh. I am able to delete this thought out of my mind, most days, at this stage in my grief journey, but I know others who found their loved ones – after heart attacks or suicide – and they have to live with the image of their loved one at the end. To have to process this type of trauma, on top of the feelings of loss, leaves me in awe of those of you doing it.
So here’s what I need you to know: We are not gifted with the knowledge of the day and time of our own passing or of when you might see someone you care about for the last time. Usually. I mean there are those situations where someone has been ill and family and friends have the opportunity to gather and say their final farewell. There is peace in knowing that love has been expressed as someone leaves this world. That someone is closing their eyes and knows full well they were loved.
But that isn’t always the case. So, as we get back into a new school year, and the chaos of mornings and rushing to after school activities is upon us, might I suggest we slow down just one millisecond to see each other off. That we take the time to hug. Say I love you. I think I hug Logan every third step he takes as he makes his way from the kitchen to his car when he visits, lol. I don’t want their to be any doubt in his mind that his mother loves him. She’s a little extra, sure, lol, but she loves him.
So maybe make it a rule! You know how you tell your kids they can’t leave the house till they brush their teeth and put on their deodorant? Add *give parents a hug* onto that list. Especially for those surly teenagers, lol. Take it from this momma, you’ll be glad you did.