Last night my heart was breaking.
I read my youngest daughter’s blog post written on the second anniversary of her brother’s death. August 12, 2015. In her post she writes about some of her favorite memories of her brother. They are lovely memories. Except the 90 mph drive on the way to Casablanca. That was not lovely. But that is not what bothered me.
What broken my heart is that…She knew.
She read a post on Facebook from one of Andrew’s friends before going to bed about 2 am. It spoke of him being “gone”. She went to sleep wondering why this man would write such a thing.* Was he gone?
She was awake, getting ready for volleyball at 5:37 when she heard the knock on the door. She heard the policeman tell us her brother was “gone”. What was he talking about? Was Andrew gone?
She came in to ask us what happened. I remember that. I remember her coming down the hall to where we sat, broken, numb, and in shock. I remember Ron telling her. She looked like she did not understand. She was only 17 and her big brother whom she loved was dead. She turned and went back to her room. Alone.
I sat on the couch with my feet tucked under me, my arms hugging my waist. I did not get up and hug her. I didn’t say anything. I did not even get off the couch. I sat there. Broken. Numb. In shock. I wasn’t crying at that point. Or maybe I was. If so, it was simply tears rolling down my cheeks unchecked.
I did not hold her while she cried. I didn’t know she had seen the FB post. I hadn’t seen it. I didn’t know that she knew before we did. I wish I had known.
We had two others at living home who came out of their rooms to ask what had happened. I sat there. Broken. Numb. In shock. Not moving. I did not hug either of them. I did not hold them while they cried. I watched them go back to their rooms. Alone.
I sat and watched them walk away. Alone.
Ron called the other three who didn’t live at home. I called their grandmother. I emailed friends and posted it on Facebook from my phone. And I sat in the corner of the couch. In my bathrobe. Crying. For hours.
I did not go to the rooms of our three young adults living at home. I did not talk with them. I sat in the corner of the couch. Curled up in a broken ball. Numb. In shock. I did not ask them anything! Nothing! I did not check on them or do anything for them!
I was not a good mom that morning. Or in the days to come. I was too wounded. Too broken. Too numb. Too shocked. I wish I had done a better job of loving my living kids those first few days.
So when I read Margaret’s post last night, I cried.
I hate that she knew and was alone. I hate that I did not have the strength to care for others in those early days. I hate that I was not available to be a good mom to my kids. I hate that I was too weak, too numb, too shocked, and too broken. But I was.
I am grateful for my strong husband who made calls and loved me well, who held me while I sobbed, who handled ugly stuff and who truly exemplified what a godly man looks like. I am grateful for friends who stepped in and helped me function. I am grateful for people who loved my kids, listened to them, and held them while they cried.
But I wish I could have done those things. I wish I would’ve been strong enough. The truth is I wasn’t.
I can’t change what was. I did the best I could at the time. I do not feel condemnation, only regret. I have told my kids I wish I could have helped them more. I have told them how grateful I am that God had others step in. And I have told those people thank you for loving my kids.
Knowing I did the best I could, knowing that others stepped in, knowing my kids forgave me for not doing more — knowing all these things does not stop the hurt I felt when I read her blog last night. I know she was alone when she read that FB post before going to bed and when she heard the cop tell us.
She knew her brother was gone. And she was alone. She hurt. She still hurts.
And knowing that breaks my heart. Again.
* The Accident happened while a group of young people were returning from a cast party. There were many carloads of people driving back to Canyon that night. At least one carload saw the wreck. They drove up just after it happened. They knew who was in the car. That one carload knew they were gone. They stopped and called 911. There was nothing more they could do. The young man who posted did not know that parents hadn’t been notified. He did nothing wrong. It was 5:37 am when we heard the knock on the door, as Margaret wrote in her blog. I checked FB. I saw his post. I asked him to call me. He did. His words were helpful. I am grateful.