Luke’s visit, part 3

Today is my mom’s 70th birthday. She also decided that she was ready to retire from her career. It was almost getting to the point where I thought that I would be retiring before she did. My siblings and I threw her a party at the cabin up north this past weekend. We invited relatives, co-workers, and some friends that my mom hasn’t seen for years.

My dad thanked me several times for throwing my mom the party. She seemed so happy. I don’t think he ever thanked me before for anything. I didn’t see him get off of the couch. His feet were swollen and propped up. Paul said that I needed to start working through my issues and talk to my dad before it was too late. I haven’t felt the need to do that like my brother Luke did. Am I making a mistake?

Our friends Lisa and Tom came to the party with their daughter. Lisa did an internship for my mom a couple years back. Once Tom and Lisa arrived, we pretty much ditched everyone at the party and talked to them only. It was the first time that we were able to speak to them alone since their oldest daughter died.

Lisa said that they believe their daughter died in the car crash from falling asleep. The night before, her daughter had a sleepover with a friend. Lisa went to bed at 10. She told the girls to go to bed by 11 since they needed to leave early the next morning for work. They didn’t listen. The girls were giddy and giggly that night. They were on social media with friends until 3:30 AM the next morning. They might have had only 3 hours of sleep before leaving for work. It is assumed that both girls fell asleep when they ran off the road and hit the tree bursting the car into flames.

Lisa’s daughter told my daughter that her last words to her sister were ‘I hate you, go to bed’. The whole situation is very tragic. Everyone is having a hard time with it. Lisa told me that she doesn’t want to live anymore without her daughter. It was heart wrenching. I told her that she needed to do everything she could to stay strong for her other children.

That night after everyone left, the extended family talked. I felt rather alone because I was the only one in my immediate family that stayed overnight at the cabin. With the whole family there, sleeping space was rather limited.

They asked about Alex and his new car. I told the story of how he pissed off the wrong people the day he got his car and how they damaged his vehicle with a metal pipe. Since then, he hit a deer with the car and smashed the front end. Plus the car is leaking oil everywhere. I also spoke of miscellaneous fines.

I felt like almost everyone blamed and criticized me for being a crappy parent. That is what my family does, blame and criticize versus support and encourage. I am guilty of this too. The one who gave me the hardest time was my sister-in-law that doesn’t even have kids. I felt frustration with my family and with my son. Raising teenagers is excruciatingly painful and stressful. We feel like we are making the best decisions that we can in regards to our children.

I was starting to feel miserable about all of it. But then I thought in the scope of things, does it really matter?? Yeah, my son trashed a car within a month after getting it. Most of it wasn’t his fault, but some of it was. Yes, I am feeling really frustrated as a parent right now. But, he is still alive. I can still hug him and tell him that I love him even if he decides to make a mess of his life. That is an opportunity that not all of my friends have.

The next morning Luke apologized to me for being negative and critical. He said that he was sure that Alex would turn out just fine. He said that he was trying to turn his life around. He wants to be more supportive and less judgmental.

I told Luke that I was under the misconception that if I provided the right kind of home for my children that they would make the right decisions. It is very painful as parents to see our children make wrong choices, especially when I feel like my family is blaming me for the wrong choices my children make.

My life has been changing so fast lately. So have the lives of everyone around me that I am close to. I feel like everything is moving too fast. I want to be able to slow down and just catch my breath for a couple minutes.

A child lost

She wasn’t expected to live when she was born. They took a video of her right after birth just in case. She only weighed in at a little over 2 lbs. They never thought she would walk either. But she was one of the fastest runners.

The day we said good-bye was eerie. It was a long hot drive. The sky growled and rolled ominously in the distance coming in our direction. The weather alert went off on my cell phone. Tornado warning in your area, seek shelter immediately. A swirl of dirt on the highway from a baseball field with no one playing. Lightening bolts seared the ground in front of me.

I admit, I was frightened by the tempest although I rarely worry about storms. The skies opened to a torrential downpour like the seemingly endless mother’s tears for a lost child. The path ahead of us was difficult to see clearly. Hail banged sharply like the grim reaper knocking on death’s door.

It was still raining when we arrived. We tromped through puddles of muddy water to offer our condolences. The rain a mask for our tears.

Tom greeted us with an umbrella…helping…keeping busy…comforting others. I can’t imagine the pain they must feel. Lisa was heartbroken. She was only 16. Why did she miss the curve?? She hit a tree and her car started on fire. No body, no funeral…just some remaining ashes in an urn.

I wonder, will they set it on the mantel? Or will they place it on the ground next to the graduation pictures of their other children that will be placed on the wall? As a parent, I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

I would give almost anything to bring her back to them. They both had difficult upbringings. We are kindred spirits in that way. But my life is getting better and theirs worse. I would give it all away…everything I possess of worldly value…just to have her back.

I almost expected her to walk through the door…Maybe the whole things wasn’t real. It didn’t feel right in any way.

Why would God choose to take the life of a sweet beautiful child? How can this be His plan?

God help me, I just don’t understand..

Vegas, part 1

I am always filled with worry the first day…being so far from home and feeling less in control of the things I am not in control of anyway…

It was rough leaving. Paul had to slam on his brakes for a motorcycle in his blind spot after I screamed STOP on our way to the airport. It was stressful because at that point we were already running late in my book.

My youngest daughter Arabella blindsided me on the way out. She was starting a new job that same day and apparently didn’t fill out the online paperwork right. Mom, please help me… But I couldn’t miss the flight.

I was going to LV with my daughter Angel for a national singing competition. I didn’t want her to go alone…but to be honest, I always want to go somewhere I’ve never been.

On Friday morning, Angel and two of her college classmates competed against some of the best singers in the country. We had plans to meet up together at the swimming pool once everyone was done to celebrate their hard work and relax. Her friend did not pack a swimming suit so they were going to buy one and meet us at the pool later.

Angel and I were poolside for 2 seconds when my phone rang. It seemed odd that Cori would be calling me out of the blue in the middle of the day. Immediately Jen came to mind, our mutual friend that was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. It couldn’t be a good call and it wasn’t.

Cori called to tell me that the daughter of a best friend of ours was in a car accident and didn’t make it. What?? It couldn’t be true! I cried the words in disbelief into the phone as the people surrounding me were smiling and having fun playing in the sunshine.

Lisa’s daughter just turned 16 a couple months ago and recently got her driver’s license. She was driving with a friend to work that morning when she missed the curve. She hit a tree and her car became engulfed in the flames that killed them.

Death! How unfair you are!

The police came to the house that morning to tell Lisa something that no parent ever wants to hear.

I couldn’t believe it was real. I still can’t believe that it is real. Maybe Cori was mistaken. These kind of things just don’t happen.

I checked the Facebook page of Lisa’s daughter. Nothing. Just a new profile picture of her looking away, staring out beyond the wooded hills. Prom pictures. Quotes about love, how fast teenagers become adults, and future dreams…

I thought of the fun times we shared…Sitting next to her on the roller coaster when I was so frightened I screamed the whole time, she was so brave…Sharing a passion for running and going to races with her mother and her. Her bright smiles and warm hugs..

Gone. She’s gone and it is so unfair. She was a beautiful young adult with a bright future. She truly was a good person. I wish I could take away Tom and Lisa’s pain. I couldn’t get it out of my mind..

It wasn’t long before Angel’s friends met us at the pool. I felt like I had to keep things together. It was a happy and exciting day for them. I had to try my best to keep it that way, but inside I was a mess. You just can’t be fine when you hear the news of a close friend’s child dying unexpectedly in a horrible way even if you are sitting poolside in the sunshine.

Ten minutes after Angel’s friends arrived, a kid puked in the pool and it was closed…