This holiday season has been so busy that I have not really had time to blog. I promise to fill you in on all the wonderful things that happened during our last month. But for right now I need to write about something else. In an effort to heal I am posting this. It isn't a feel-good entry, but one that I need to share. I don't know why, but just posting this feels therapeutic. Maybe it is because I cannot vent or share with anyone around me because there grief is so much deeper than mine and I cannot burden them with my own. The only explanation that I have is that this is just something I need to post.
I received a very early morning text the Tuesday after Christmas with some devastating news. A very dear and life-long friend of my husbands had passed away during the night. It was abrupt, shocking, and seemed like a bad dream. The text had come through on my phone, I am unsure why they texted me and not Casey. But I had to wake Casey and tell him that Tre had died. I have never had to tell anyone such heartbreaking news and I didn't know how to say it. So I just said it. My heart was in my throat and my stomach was in knots, but I knew if I delayed, the horrified look on my face may cause Casey to think it was his mom or dad. Of course that is who one would think of first.... someone who was in the time of their life where you might expect to hear this kind of news. Casey was on the phone immediately with Brian, a friend of Casey's who was also very close to Tre, and who happened to be with him when he passed away. Tre was only 41! He had fallen and hit his head while in a convenience store and within a couple of hours was gone. How does that happen? It still seems so unreal. How can someone be here one moment and then through the smallest of circumstances, be gone the next moment? I was the only one in our group of friends that didn't know Tre so well. But his death was still so sad, so shocking. The day before the wake, I looked at Tre's obituary in the paper... No one had ever told me his first name....he never mentioned it to me either. Casey said he hated his name. His name was London Travon Hendricks. I did smile in that moment...but I wish I had known before he passed.
I have only attended a funeral as a small child, and really don't remember it. But I knew that since I wasn't close to Tre, I needed to be there for Casey and also for our other friends. We went to both Tre's wake and his funeral. Viewing him was confusing to me. My thoughts and emotions were all over the place. I can only imagine what everyone else was going through. Because my grief was not as deep as everyone else's, I had the presence of mind to be sure everyone was supported and was as comfortable as possible. Everyone grieves differently. Some people need to be with others, some need to be alone, some need to be held and comforted, some don't want to be touched, some need to cry and morn, some need to laugh and remember, but everyone needs to heal. And whatever form of grieving one needs to be able to heal, that is what is right. We stood in the funeral home during Tre's wake and went through every emotion possible. We cried, we laughed, we were numb, we were overwhelmed with emotion, we were angry, we were confused...but through it all we were there for each other and let each other grieve the way we each needed. The funeral itself was not quite as hard, but afterward we stayed graveside until the only thing left for the funeral home to do was to cover him. I knew my husband needed me, our friends needed us both. But it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Seeing everything makes it so real, so raw.
This tragedy has brought some of us closer to each other. But it has also brought so many thoughts and reflections to my mind and I am unsure how to handle some of them. Through my life experiences I have become timid and fearful of so many things. My husband has helped me to face and overcome several of my fears. But I have come to realize my biggest fear is of suffering and death. I don't want to die. I don't want to watch anyone I love die. Yet I know it is part of our life. I have heard of people being at peace on their deathbed. I don't understand that. I am afraid. I am even afraid of getting older because I know each passing year only brings me closer to the end, or even that any day could be the last. Casey tells me not to think about it, but to make each day the best it can be. To take the time to play with my kids everyday, to hug and kiss them, to laugh with them so they know just how much they are loved. He tells me to set my fears aside and learn how to live.... not just let life happen, and to take every opportunity to fill my life, our lives, with richness so that I will never look back with regret. There is a small amount of comfort in his words. I know he is right. But for now I cannot separate my emotions from my mind and logic does not console me. All I can hope for is that the sting of Tre's tragic passing will fade with time and healing, and that my thoughts will return to the normal day to day care and living of our family. That is my hope, that is my prayer.