Perspective gives life context—like thinking about the sun shining on the other side of clouds during a week-long storm, or all of the good times on the worst day imaginable. Yet regardless how strong and optimistic you think you are, sometimes a blow comes so vicious that it knocks you out of your orbit and into the abyss.
Sunday morning I was riding high after my buddy’s son’s wedding, my head still in the clouds with my forth grandchild’s birth the week earlier, when the phone rang. It was a call that you wish you were sitting for, otherwise you’d wind up on the floor.
Nothing is more devastating to a parent than the loss of a child. But the loss of my buddy’s smiling, gregarious son was compounded by his own death five months earlier. Father and son—mirror images—gone in the matter of months. No words exist in the English language to describe the depth of the loss and the pain.
I wrote about Billy in a May post titled Forever—his passion for life, the outdoors, food, good times. Young Billy, a collegiate basketball player and avid sport’s fan was a mirror image of his dad. He loved spending time with his family and friends, and down the shore in Wildwood, NJ. I never saw him without a smile on his face, or heard a word come from his lips that wasn’t light-hearted or witty. He had a glimmer in his eye, just like his father.
Billy, Sr. was fifty-nine years young when he left us in May. Billy, Jr. was thirty-three. A picture of Billy, Sr. from a time we hiked the Appalachian Trail, an irrepressible smile on his face, sits on my desk. It’s the way I remember him. Billy, Jr had his father’s smile, his good nature. I can see them smiling together now.
Hug your kids today, everyday. Hug those you love, every single one of them. Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
May Billy and young Billy rest in peace, together.