You think you have time-until you don't
My family had a brutal reminder this week that life is short and you need to live in the moment. My 10 year old son's best friend, and regular in our home, was in a horrific car accident that ultimately took his mother's life. Suddenly this bright, energetic, loving woman was gone. A routine drive to taekwondo turned into tragedy when a 'distracted driver' entered her lane, sending her car tumbling. My first lesson of this kind was when I was just 16 years old. My 53 year old father went out for his morning run and never came back. A catastrophic cardiac event took him away from us way too soon. What many people don't know about loss is that you never do get over it. People will tell you that time will heal you, but it doesn't. Just as that person was a big part of your life and shaping who you are, the loss of them becomes a big part in shaping who you will be. I have spent the past 29 years thinking of him daily and the kind of person he was. He was one of the most humble people I have ever met. He had a gentle, caring nature. He was known in our family for his epic bear hugs that you could get lost in. I strive to live my life in a way that is the legacy he deserves.
When I got the news about Kim I doubled over in grief. I felt like I was sucker punched and couldn't get my breath. Although the feeling of sadness is there, I am also flooded with gratefulness for having known her. Our friendship was really based around the boys, so most of my thoughts and feelings toward her has to do with motherhood. And she was a great mom. A really great mom. I never saw her in a bad mood. She'd bop up to the school to pick up Luke and, unlike me, never seemed rushed or distracted (no iPhone in her hand). She showed up relaxed and with a smile on her face. She was immediately present for Luke when he walked out the door. I also admired how she made sure Luke had a wide range of experiences without being over scheduled. The boys were in golf camp together a couple weeks ago and I was surprised to find out neither she nor her husband played. She just thought it was a good life skill to have and thought Luke might enjoy it. I personally had my boys in the camp because it was an activity they could share with their dad...and selfishly I knew it would mean Saturdays alone in the future. She was also so sweet about supplying me with a break. She took all the boys, including my youngest, to the pool last week so I could have time to run errands. She knew my husband was out of town once again and that alone time was precious. I knew when my son was in their home the boys wouldn't have free reign. She was aware of what they were doing without hovering over them. She made sure they were active and didn't spend the entire time on the Xbox. She was a friend that I could trust with my own children. She was a friend who thought of others and quietly did them favors. She makes me want to be a better mother...put down that phone, close the computer, stop cleaning for a moment...be present with my children.
The message I would want to get to Luke is that a mother's love never dies. Her physical presence may be gone, but the lessons she taught you, the hugs she gave you, the experiences she provided, the time spent reading with you all lives on. You will continue to feel the warm feeling you had when she did each of those things...even 29 years down the road. You are her legacy.
Hug your loved ones. Let your friends know you appreciate them. Live in the moment.