Today shouldn't have happened. At least not the way it did, anyway.
Ever since I got the call on Tuesday, I've muddled through the week in a haze. I have so many good things going on right now, so much that demands my attention, that I found myself putting one foot in front of the other to get through. I didn't have time to process. So I put my happy face on and went about my week, careful not to let my mind wander too close to reality.
Because reality is that one of my son's friends took his own life this week. Reality is that I'm incredibly, terribly sad. My heart is breaking for this boy's pain, for the boy's mother, for my own son. I see his smile in my mind. I remember him using that smile to con me in to buying him a hot chocolate from the concession stand, or to get himself out of trouble because he'd nearly set my house on fire. He was an imp. An oversized one, all big and lumbery and sweaty, but an imp nonetheless.
Last night, a few of us moms sat around the visitation, reminiscing about the misadventures he got into with our boys. Today, I nearly lost it at the funeral when those misadventures made it into the eulogy. I was only a sports mom for our first year and a half or so of being in our little town before I went back to homeschooling my kids. But in that time, I fed those boys before games, I cheered them on, I became invested in them and their lives. I grew to love them. And the boys themselves became closer than friends. They were brothers.
As a mom, one of the top two hardest moments was watching my son carry the casket of his friend. There was one point when I was standing with two of the other moms, two I'd spend many hours with feeding boys before games. We just looked at each other, numb. What do you say? I wanted to crawl out of my skin, to be anywhere but there. I wanted to rewind a year, to see that goofy lopsided grin as he thanked me for letting him swipe an extra piece of French bread even as I waggled the spatula at him and told him to scoot.
And I knew that however great my pain, it was nothing compared to that of the mother standing at the casket to say one last goodbye to her son. I felt so incredibly helpless in the face of that kind of pain.
Tomorrow, I'll share my happy news. Tomorrow, I'll get back to the business of living. Tonight, I'm sad.
Rolling hills that had been vibrant green just weeks ago were now muted in tone, as if they were taking a deep breath before bursting into the song of fall.