The Day Began Normal, Then My Child Died

We never expect a child to die! Never! Never at any age. Child loss just isn’t supposed to happen. Children are always supposed to outlive their parents, but………that isn’t always how life plays out.

I can remember every detail of that day. I got up as usual and got ready for work. It was a Friday, and I was so happy that the weekend was just hours away. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and I had plans of working outside in the yard in my flower gardens.

As the day progressed, I was feeling fidgety — just so ready to leave work and chill out. I got a phone call from some friends and they asked me to come out for some pizza with them. It was Memorial Day weekend. “C’mon! Pizza and a little ride around looking at the countryside.” Spring was emerging and look absolutely gorgeous! “Sure. I’d love to go.” I was hoping that we’d stop by a flower market so I could buy some hanging planters for my porch.

We had our pizza, and had a few hours of laughter together. On our ride, the couple I was with suggested we stop by the cemetery. Several years back their laid to rest their little five-year-old son who died quite unexpectedly following a very basic surgery. They wanted to look at his “area” to see how much clean-up was needed before they brought fresh flowers to his gravesite.

I stayed in the car, allowing them to have some time alone at their son’s gravesite. After about twenty minutes they returned. We talked a bit more as we drove through the cemetery. It’s sobering to see all of the stones and markers. I was ready to get out of there. I always have had an internal worry about one of my children being in a fatal accident. I’m not sure why, but that was really on my mind while waiting in the car that night.

Anyway, home felt great. I kicked back, put on some shorts, and laid in bed with the windows open allowing the soft, gentle spring breeze to fill my room. I began reading a book, and about fifteen minutes later the phone rang. “Hmmm…my son’s mother-in-law. I wonder what she’s calling for this time of night?”

I answered the call cheerily, and within 3 seconds of that call I was on the floor desperately screaming, “No! No! No! Please, God, no!”

The voice on the other end of the phone said, “I’m so, so sorry. They tried. They tried for over an hour to save him, but they couldn’t. Oh, honey. I’m so very sorry. Mike died.”

I collapsed.

How could this happen? How could my son die? He was healthy, active, young. My gosh! He was at the prime of his life at 42! He was happily married with three little kids. No! This had to be a mistake. Not Mike! Never Mike! I didn’t hear right. I know I didn’t hear right.

I frantically called one of my daughters and the only thing that came out was a long, non-human sounding moan. I couldn’t say the word. I simply screamed for help. “Please, God, help! Please take this away.” My daughter made no sense out of what I was saying, but she knew it must be horrific. She immediately got in her car and drove the twenty minutes to find me curled up in a ball on the floor moaning. I truly thought I had died, and that I had entered hell.

It took close to an hour to track down some sketchy details of what had happened. My son lived in Memphis, TN with his wife and children. I live in western PA by myself. This was May 23. The last time I had heard Mike’s voice was on Mother’s Day. Dear God, if only I had known that would be the last time I’d get to talk with him!

Yes. The day started out as normal until it wasn’t.

And, in one instant all of life changed. ***To be continued.

Love, Clara