If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you – Winnie-the-Pooh
Last Sunday, my daughter noted that a friend had phoned me at 6:55 that morning but didn’t leave a message. I laughed it off telling her that the friend’s son was an early riser and had taken to playing with her phone and dialing numbers. I didn’t return the call; I didn’t think that much about it.
As we returned from brunch and shopping, the same friend called. “My son is dead.”
In the past year, I have received several calls reporting illness and death, the most recent being just a month ago when my grandmother died having lived 91.5 years of mostly a fulfilling and happy life. But this time it was different. Even when I wrote the words above, my skin prickled. It is a call that I won’t soon forget.
My friend’s son was a healthy and very active fifteen month old who was the love of his mother’s life and who touched the hearts of everyone he met. His story is complicated and not yet fully known, but it happened while my friend was at work and he was visiting his father on a court required, unsupervised visit. To date, there is no information as to what happened to this child who was laughing and scampering around the grocery store just hours before his heart stopped, he was revived, declared brain dead, and died twenty-four hours later.
Her words shook my very core that late morning. My daughter and I sat, on the curb, crying.
For the next twenty-four hours… even the next few days, I kept thinking it didn’t happen. The conversation just didn’t happen. Any moment she would return to work, we would grab our morning coffee, she would talk to the hard night they had because he wouldn’t sleep or it was cold or how he flirted with the little girls or talked with the dogs…
That didn’t happen.
The little boy really died.
And now his mom is a single mom who feels as if she has no direction. She has an empty hole where part of her heart used to be as that little boy rocked her world. As she says, he taught her how to love and to live.
“Had I known it was the last…” she told me Tuesday evening as we both cried in Starbucks.
We never know when it is going to be the last day the last time the last anything.
We just have this moment; today; just this and just now.