six years ago…
After surgery this week, when my husband was placed in recovery, with all the stuff still strapped on, (oxygen and iv fluids etc) My son broke down. This was my older son, and I did not expect it. However…He choked out these words…
“it reminds me of Lucas…”
I had not even thought…
Six years ago, I was doing homework with my then second grader. The news was on in the background. I glanced up hearing that an eight year old boy was being airlifted by Wings Air Rescue after being struck by a car on a certain street. My heart instantly sunk, I asked my son to get something from his room and pointed out the story to my husband. We knew there were many school children on that rode, even several that age…but both of us..were very afraid. He went to check out their house as they were not answering their phones. He called me to let me know their were skid marks right in front of their driveway. He was going to the hospital to check it out. I continued doing homework, still hoping we were wrong. (though for any child..being airlifted is not a good sign generally)
How could it be Lucas? My older son, then only eight, had always been extremely shy, had trouble with friends, and Lucas was his best friend. The only friend he had spent the night with, and the only one who had spent the night at our house (repeatedly). There were super tight. Lucas was the boy who stood up for My son when he was being made fun of in kindergarten. He had made kindergarten….bearable.
and still…when my husband called…
It was Lucas. We went to the hospital to be with the family. We cried together, and held each other.
And prayed together. We all went home that night believing things looked good, that the surgery went well. My kids went to school the next day believing all would be well. But after dropping them off and contacting Lucas’ mom, Her voice sounded dead. Flat. No emotion.
She said that during the night there was fluid to the brain…swelling…and he went into a coma..
That there was probably some amount of brain damage. How extensive they did not know yet.
As it turned out, they were given very little chance. They were told that perhaps hearing voices of loved ones could bring him out of the coma. They requested my son come and speak to him. His best friend…hoping against all hopes that something would get through to his vegetative body.
My son went…brave little lad. He saw all the tubes, all the life support and felt scared, and yet…stood brave. He had brought a game he spent his own money on, and talked to him, prayed for him, and asked him to wake up…so they could play together.
Lucas never woke up. The hardest thing next to losing your child…must be watching them grieve…hearing them grieve…holding them while they grieve and grieving with them. We cried together. All of us. My heart hurt so for him. What we had at the time for comfort…was that “one day we will see him again”…”he has gone to a better place”…”he is with the angels now”.
My boys became much more codependent, struggling with fear of losing all other loved ones. My youngest was only 4, well…Lucas died the day before his fourth birthday…the day before he was supposed to come over for a birthday slumber party..
He began asking..is it my turn to die? is it your turn to die? how do you know you won’t die tomorrow?
crying all the while. It affected us all. The reality of our mortality…of how easily human life could be ended was right in front of us.
We took baby steps out of the grief, together.
All the while, lucas’ mom was asking me the hard questions…
“Why?” …why my son? why does god let this crap happen? why didn’t he listen to our prayers?
why didn’t the guy see my son in time? why did the dog have to run across the road right then?
why did my son have to chase it to protect it?
All the while, my pithy answers felt hollow. They had stood the test of time in my safe bubble world.
my pat answers worked so well for so long.
I gave her the best comfort I could….by admitting that I truly didn’t know. But that I loved her, and I was…so…very sorry. I helped her write thank you notes for the flowers, I did whatever physical things I could….but I no longer felt confident in my own…”answers”…after all…I still had my son.
What right did i have to say…the “pat answer”…..besides she heard those enough from everyone else…the preachers, and all those who meant well…”god had a reason” “god must have wanted him up there with him” etc etc….
This was the thing that caused me to begin searching my questions. The thing that knocked all the questions i had put up on a shelf because “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
Now the shelves came crumbling down…all around me. the quest had begun….