Favorite Quote

I'm not saying that everything is survivable, just that everything except the last thing is.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Broken Place

I've decided to accept my mom's challenge and write about something meaningful instead of something random like pineapples.  So I've decided to write about the broken place of my life.

The hardest broken place in my life happened in High School (it happened to be my second broken place, the first being when I broke my leg and couldn't do anything for an entire summer), and as you probably guessed it dealt with a boy (because honestly what High School heartache doesn't involve a boy.)  But this High School story doesn't involve a tragic break-up or a horrible cheating story, it's about death.

In High School I was dating a kid whom my parents didn't approve of, but being the rebellious teen that I was I continued dating him anyway.  We dated for two and a half years and in those two and a half years I can honestly say that I loved him.  I still love him actually, just not in the same way.  We spent crucial developmental years of our lives together and I am a different person because of it.  In our senior year of High School my boyfriends Dad passed away from a heart attack early one Sunday morning.  I wasn't particularly close to his Dad or the rest of his family, but his parents had both expressed to me how they were grateful that I was dating their son.  He was a troubled kid and according to his parents they could see that I made him happy and changed him in ways they didn't think possible.  So I felt a sort of bond with his family because of the way his parents treated me.  When I heard the news of the death I was heart broken.  

Their family struggled enough as it was and I was completely shocked at the unfairness of it all.  His mother had serious medical problems and they weren't financially where they would have liked to be.  His father had heart problems before, but they were never serious.  Then all of a sudden he had a major heart attack and never woke up.  The death was unexpected and shocking.  The family was torn apart.  I went over to my boyfriends house as soon as they all got back from the hospital.  When I pulled up to the house he was sitting on his front porch alone.  He walked to the car as I got out and walked straight into my arms.  We hugged for a very long time all the while he was sobbing.  He was not the kind of kid to cry, ever!  And I cried right along with him because I ached to know that he was feeling a kind of hurt that I couldn't do anything about.

I spent all my free time with my boyfriend and his family for the next couple of weeks.  Mostly we sat around their living room planning the funeral and trying to talk about anything else but what we were all thinking about.  My boyfriend and I learned how to solve a rubik's cube to keep our minds off of the horrible reality we were living in, and spent hours mindlessly handing our one cube back and forth between each other.  Then the funeral came.  

I had never been to a funeral before for someone I had personally known, and I wasn't sure of what to expect.  My boyfriends mom ended up asking me to go with the family early and take place in the private family gathering before the actual ceremony.  I was a little taken back that they wanted me to be there during that time, but his mother assured me that she wanted me there and the rest of the family did as well.  At first I felt intrusive when I got there but immediately after they began my boyfriend grabbed onto my hand and didn't let go until it was over.  I realized that he needed me there.  He wasn't close with any of his family members.  He was the youngest and didn't like being seen as weak, and I knew he hated relying on anyone in his family so in that moment he wanted me there to be his lifeline.

After the family viewing I became very useful as a babysitter.  My boyfriends older brother and his wife had a little boy named Owen and he was a very persistent child.  As everyone was trying to prepare for the funeral Owen kept screaming and wailing and trying to go outside.  He loved being outdoors and simply didn't want to stay inside anymore so I offered to take him for a walk around the parking lot while they did what they needed to do.  Owen and I walked around the parking lot for a good half hour going from car to car inspecting the tires.  For a little kid he already had a fascination with cars.  After a while my boyfriend came out to join us.  We each took one of Owen's little hands and swung him around the parking lot.  It was so refreshing to see this little boy so happy outside.  My boyfriend and I dreaded the moment when we would have to join everyone else inside.  We mostly stayed quite while we were walking with Owen, and the only sound came from the little boys loud untranslatable garble.  Then it was time for the funeral.

Everyone in the immediate family except for my boyfriends mother had a part in the ceremony so they were all up on the stand and she was going to be sitting with cousins and siblings.  She asked if I would sit next to her and that is what I did.  During the funeral she took my hand and held onto it the entire time.  We watched as my boyfriend got up and read as much of the obituary as he could until he couldn't continue from sobbing and had to motion for his sister to read the rest.  Then his sister continued with a talk, then his two older brothers spoke as well.  The whole entire time she kept a tight hold on my hand with silent tears streaming down her face, and in that moment I became another persons lifeline.

The first few months after that dreadful Sunday was easily the hardest time of my life.  There were night when I would just cry myself to sleep, I cried in class, at work, and then there were days when me and my boyfriend would simply cry together at lunch, or walk aimlessly around our neighborhoods trying desperately to talk about anything that didn't make us think of how miserable we both were.  The worst was when things finally started going back to normal something would bring it up again and we'd begin the grieving all over.  We grew so close during that time.  Grieving together can either drive people apart or pull them closer together, and this ordeal made us inseparable.

I still ache for the tragedy that their family had to go through.  I wished so much that I could fix it in some way, and I really hope that I at least eased some of the pain throughout the process.  I still love and care for that family, and I always will.  

1 comment:

  1. My own silent tears show that I've been moved by your writing. I knew this was a hard time, but never had these details. I'm grateful you were able to serve them in the ways you did. Being able to mourn with others, share a soft shoulder or offer a hand to hold is sometimes the best gift we can give.