It’s been a rough winter – one marked by hardship and tragedy. Since my last post, our world has been turned upside down, and it often seems like we’re walking a long lonely road with no end in sight.
For pretty much the entire month of January, Kid 2 was hit with illness after illness, including Influenza A and a secondary bacterial infection that caused a sinus infection and pneumonia-like symptoms. There were countless doctor visits, including a trip to the ER for fluids. I spent many sleepless nights with her on the sofa, watching her breathing closely, praying she’d get better. And thankfully, she did.
Then the unthinkable happened – something so terrible that it made Kid 2’s illnesses feel like a tiny drop in a vast ocean of suffering.
On a Monday morning commute to school, a horrible accident occurred that took the lives of two sisters we knew and loved. They were both friends with my kids, and the younger one was practically family to us. She was at our house all the time with Kid 2, especially in the summer months. When news came through that they had not survived, it literally felt like our hearts had been ripped in two.
It has been about a month since the accident, and I’d like to say that we’re all doing okay. But the truth is, we’re not. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about one or both of the girls. Tears are a daily occurrence. We’re all trying to cope the best we can, but some days it’s a bit of a struggle.
We each have our own way of dealing with the grief. Kid 1 got a very sweet kitty tattoo, because the sisters were huge cat lovers. I have a slightly altered version of it that incorporates the girls’ initials that I hope to get done soon. Kid 2 has her classmates, and she keeps in touch almost daily with one of her departed buddy’s oldest and dearest friends. They support each other in their loss, because they understand and acknowledge how much their friend meant to each of them.
I keep reaching out to the girls’ mom, who is a friend of mine. Sometimes she responds, sometimes she doesn’t. The family has a lot on their plate right now, and if it’s this hard for us, I imagine it’s a thousand times worse for them. So patience and space (two things I’m not good at) are my new mantras. I worry that we’re painful reminders of what used to be, because the ties that bound us were our girls. I hope I never lose my friend, but if it’s simply too difficult for her right now, it’s understandable.
My hubby still chokes up when we talk about the girls, but he’s throwing his energy into getting a memorial sticker made for Kid 2’s dirt bike. The dirt bike is bittersweet. When Kid 2 got it earlier this winter, her friend was just as excited as she was (maybe more). She would’ve been the only friend we allowed to ride it, and they were both looking forward to tearing up our yard with it this summer. Learning to ride it without her friend is tough for Kid 2 (and us). So we’re trying to get some stickers made for the dirt bike, in memory of her friend. That way, she’ll always be Kid 2’s co-pilot and guardian angel.
There’s a long lonely road ahead of Kid 2 as we move towards spring and summer, when she would’ve spent the most time with her friend. Climbing trees, riding ATV’s, swimming in our pool, shooting the pellet gun, scaling hay bales, giggling in the fort, baking in our kitchen, snuggling into the bottom bunk to watch Duck Dynasty…
The absence of that precious, precious child in our lives is going to be felt for a very long time. And the upcoming events of prom and graduation will be equally tough for Kid 1 and all the other kids who should’ve experienced them with the older sister. So many lives have been altered in so many ways. We are definitely not the only ones walking this long lonely road, because those girls touched the hearts of countless people.
But if we all walk it together, maybe it will be a little less lonely.