I woke up at 4 a.m. from a sound sleep, jumped up and ran to the bathroom to get a bucket. I think I pulled a muscle. How did I know my 5-year-old was about to puke? I have no idea. Of course, I got to his bedroom two seconds too late. In hindsight, letting him eat a chocolate cupcake before bed wasn’t the best decision made as a parent.
While I waited for him to fall back to sleep I logged on to a local website. The headline was tragic. A 17-year-old from my town had been killed in a car accident. I didn’t know him. Police haven’t released details of what caused the accident. It doesn’t matter. There is a mother and father who will have to bury their child. As a TV News reporter, I hated covering these stories. Once a man called me the grim reaper as I walked toward an accident scene. If I wasn’t wearing a jacket with my station logo I would have told that toothless Frankenstein to f*** off. These stories broke my heart and haunted me. It is actually the reason I finally decided to walk away from the business.
On Facebook family and friends are posting photographs and sharing memories. There is always that ignorant person who writes, “It’s so hard to lose a loved one during the holidays.” As if it’s easier to plan a funeral for a family member in the summer? It hurts no matter the season.
This morning, as I snuggled with my 3-year-old watching cartoons, I couldn’t stop thinking about his mother. I don’t know her personally, but I imagine she is just like me. She, too, held a baby in her arms and chased a toddler. She tried to imagine what he would be like as a teenager. Then, in a blink of an eye her baby was a young man. In a year he would have gone off to college. That is hard enough to cope with. I’ve said it before that the most difficult part of being a parent is letting go. No parent should ever have to let go under these circumstances.