Yesterday, I wrote about the challenges I face while raising my sometimes stubborn and emotional 19-year-old, but earlier in the week I had been reminded that the two of us have more opportunities to work out our relationship.
On Thursday, my husband called from the newspaper and asked if I remembered a boy named Chase. I did. He ran track with Tucker, and we had been at some parties with his parents.
The boy died in a car accident the night before.
He was 19, going to college, running his own lawn care business during the summer, and he crashed on a curve in the country near his college campus. Not wearing a seat belt, he was thrown from the car and died on the scene.
As I ran the next morning early, I passed the boy's house, and I wondered if his parents were awake. Then I wondered if they'd slept. How could you possibly sleep if suddenly you son was dead?
I knew that they must have been awakened by the police the night before since the accident was at 1 a.m. The police would have known the boy's identity and notified his parents.
As I continued to run, I remembered the feeling when my own 18-year-old sister had died. That feeling that it must be a mistake, that she would walk through the door again any minute. That feeling continued for weeks afterward -- the anticipation that she'd be home.
And I also remembered waking the morning after with the sun sparkling in through the window and feeling happy, until, like a brick hitting me in the chest, the realization came that my sister had died.
There's a moment, just after waking, when it feels like everything might be okay, until the memory flashes the tragedy and it all comes back.
I didn't know Chase well enough to go to his funeral, but I'll be thinking of his family, and being a little more gentle with my own kids.
We're so lucky to have them alive and in one piece. If we've had a fight or said hasty words, we have another chance to smooth it over.
No matter what path they've chosen, they're alive and at least we have another chance.
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