Sunday, November 27, 2011


"Once you put the pieces back together, even though you may look intact, you were never quite the same as you'd been before the fall"

One minute you are mowing the lawn, coloring your hair, watching a football game, going to the doctor, doing laundry, making lunch. One event can change your life forever and stop the world.

Last night I met a man who was at the airport with his son (3 1/2 years old). Never at a lose for words, we struck up a conversation. My children were laughing at the little ball of energy we learned to be named Gavin. I even commented that he was a little too outgoing, but a cutie nonetheless. I asked if they were visiting family for Thanksgiving. He said, “No, my wife’s funeral”.


What do you say after you hear that?

Initially he asked me, as I was surrounded by 7 teenagers that were being entertained by his son, if I had a wet napkin or wet wipe because his son was a shade of blue…obviously from eating some candy. I mentioned that I did not have any but the coffee stand might. How cute, I thought…a father, probably divorced, probably went home to visit family for Thanksgiving, bringing his young son. Novice!

…attending his mom’s funeral three days earlier is all I heard now.

Breast caner…fast moving…healthy woman one month prior…had the ‘gene’….moving back to NYC in one month…married 17 years….never had to do the daily tasks before….knows mommy is in heaven…..

We talked about how the GOOD ones are always taken and the evil ones seem to exist just fine. We spoke of the Penn State tragedy and compared the situation to those healthy demons. We talked about why God doesn’t deal an equal hand. He talked. He talked. He talked. I listened.

It gets worse: this little ball of energy was being a typical 3 year old on the plane. They happened to sit one seat behind us on the opposite aisle. A little loud….inquisitive…and didn’t realize that when you have headphones on you have to find your inside voice. I didn’t care. I’m an old pro when it comes to kids. I can tune out the best of them.

Enter stage left: old man sitting across from Gavin. Halfway through the flight he has had ENOUGH. “Can you keep that kid quiet?”, “Get control of your son”, “Just keep him QUIET for Christ’s sake”!

I always teach my kids to be nice to people because you never know what might be going on in their lives. When I was talking to Gavin’s father before the flight he said that he knows his son is a ‘little wild’ right now, but he just is letting him be ‘happy’ and ‘crazy’ because he knows the sadness is coming…..and it will come….probably at the most unplanned of times…

You see, I realized that once you are a mother, YOU ARE A MOTHER! …and not just for your OWN children. I could feel the empty gap in this family’s life. I felt like this mother was connecting this family to me. She was communicating in ways that I believe, but do not understand. I could feel it. Divine intervention? Or simply, fate. I logged into my computer when I got home and searched for her obituary. I wanted to know more. I wanted to know the things that I didn’t, or couldn’t ask, when I was listening. What did she look like? I knew she was 43. What was her education..her job…who were her family….her friends…..

My heart broke for this father who just earned his new titles of widower and single father. A man that at one time probably forgot to say the things he should have said at one time or another. A man who maybe worked too often. Maybe went out with his buddies when he knew he should help with his family. A man who never thought it could happen to him…to them. A man who will wake up this morning and have to explain why mommy is not home from her trip to heaven to a 3 year old. And a man who will continue to fight back tears instead of yell when a stranger thinks that he is doing a bad job as a parent by letting his child be happy and loud when the world is crumbling around him.

Hug your babies. Hug your family. And go lightly on those around you that might appear ‘normal’ but are trying to hold the pieces of their heart together just to appear that way.

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