I just got home from attending the wake of my daughter’s very good friend. My next door neighbor at this point is going through the motions, you can see it in her face, especially her eyes. The funeral home had a line going out the door and down the street. The outpouring of love, grief and support must have been both gratifying and overwhelming. For a young person, she had touched a lot of lives. As I was looking over the wall of pictures, I was especially drawn to the baby pictures, the toddler pictures and the dancing school recital picture where my kids and myself first met her and her mother, they were in the same dance class and they were cute as buttons. My son was five and the girls were three. It’s easy to lose oneself in those pictures when things were simpler or so they seemed. When children become young adults and venture out into the world and you realize that your control over their safety is gone, that is another aspect of parenthood that no one prepares you for, the job never ends. You might, at times when they are younger, think that eighteen somehow is the magic number, once you get them there you have made it to the other side. That thought, however short-lived it might be, is illusory.
My next door neighbor will be going through the stages of grief and hopefully we, as her neighbors and friends, will continue to be there for her, even when our lives continue forward a few months down the road, because that is when the different pain will set in, the shock having worn off and the permanence of the loss sets in.
So sad, so tragic.