by Midge Houghtaling
During this past week, with gorgeous sunny days, flowers blooming and a sparkling crystal clear pool in my own backyard, my heart has been burdened and sad. It’s the kind of sadness that you feel when tragedy strikes, not in your own life but in the life of someone that you know… someone that you care very much about.
Tuesday morning, I was preparing our spare bedroom for my eight-year-old grandson’s visit, when the phone rang. My daughter-in-law’s voice was strained and gripping…
“Mom, I need you.” I asked what was wrong and braced myself.
Her younger brother, her only sibling had been killed by a car… or in a car… she was not sure. The state police had just showed up on her parent’s doorstep with the news. By the end of the day we had the full story:
A single father working to take care of his two year old child was on his was on his way home from work. He ran out of gas, called a good friend who came to bring him gas and both men were struck by a car while fueling the vehicle. They were trying to jump out of the way when the oncoming vehicle swerved to avoid hitting his car. Kristy’s brother was pronounced dead at the scene. The other man suffered minor injuries.
Two weeks earlier we travelled out of state to visit my son Mark, his wife and welcome a new grandchild. We all went out to dinner. Kristy, Mark, their kids, her parents, her younger brother and his little boy. I told him that he had a beautiful little boy and he nodded in agreement. I noted the look of pride on his face as he glanced at his son. They call him DJ.
Now, little DJ is in the midst of a custody battle. A mother that he does not know is trying to reclaim him and heartbroken grandparents try to hold on to all they have left of their son.
And what can I say? I’ve been on the phone with a distraught son and daughter-in-law trying to encourage and console. We felt that we should attend the funeral but distance and plans to pick up our grandson made it impossible. I picked up a few sympathy cards at Rite Aid and mailed my condolences.
For some reason I’ve been missing those carefree summer days of my youth. This past week I have swam in my pool, played with my grandson and thought sad thoughts till I really don’t want to think anymore.
Meanwhile, my grandson came up with a solution to the custody problem – he thinks that they should all live together. Yes, in a perfect world, that just might work. I think we should all just live together and help each other through the tough times.
And if you’re going thru hell– keep walking. It’s really not a good place to stop.