When a child dies

Yesterday I picked my teenage son up from school and took him to McDonalds on the way home. While sitting at the drive-thru, we saw many kids from his high school walking home. I noticed 2 boys walking together and for some reason thought to ask my son if he knew them.  My son said he knew them, not well but from time-to-time they would say ‘hello’ to each other in the hallways, and he told me that they were seniors. I commented on their style of dress and how young they looked.

I called my son right after school today, my typical mom check-in call to make sure he was ok and on his way home.  He told me he stayed late to get some help with his math. Before I got off the phone, he said, “Mom, remember that guy we saw yesterday in front of the McDonalds?” I said yes. He said, “well, he died yesterday, they say killed himself.”

My heart dropped. I felt a sharp pain shoot through my body. This is the teenage boy we saw yesterday walking in front of our car. This was someone who was once someone’s beautiful new baby boy, full of promise and hope. He was a son, brother, cousin, grandson, friend and student. I cannot imagine the pain of those around him, and the pain he must have been feeling to end up this way. This is so sad and so senseless. Now I can see that my son is in pain. He says he is sad, but mostly mad at the boy for doing such a stupid thing.

I will keep him as well as his loved ones in my thoughts and prayers, and I will consider this a reminder of how precious life is.

Tonight I will hold my son a little closer, and make sure to let him know how much he is loved.

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