Monday, March 30, 2009

My Heart Hurts

My worst nightmare as a parent would be the death of one of my children. I cannot imagine surviving that.

My high school next door neighbor died in a car accident when we were seniors in college. My mother told me it was not natural to have a child die before the parent. While probably not fully appreciating the comment at the time, it stuck with me, and as a parent I fully understand what she meant.

This morning my son called to tell me one of his friends died last night. The boy was a freshman at the same college my son attends and had been at Patrick's house two nights ago. I have known LM and his parents since the boys began playing soccer in elementary school. His mom, JM, and I had taken the kids to movies and swimming when they were younger. I ache for her.

Does it matter how one dies? In the long run, no. A child's death is horrific. But the rumors and innuendos that surround some deaths only exacerbates a painful time. Early reports indicate that LM died from a overdose. An overdose of what is not clear although alcohol seems to be the likely substance. Alcohol poisoning of college students is, unfortunately, not uncommon, but when it is one of your own, none of that matters.

I want to ease my child's pain, I want to comfort my friend, I want to show support in any manner I can. How I do that will become clearer as the day progresses, but for right now my heart hurts. It hurts for another chip in my son's innocence, for the sorrow leaving his girlfriend speechless, for the agony I know LM's mom is experiencing.

To my children: I love you with all my heart and wish to keep you safe. To my friends: I hope you never experience this pain. To all of us: always tell those you love that you care because we never know when it will the last chance to do so.