Lessons from loss

What I’ve learned in the past seven days:
Chocolate doesn’t ease stress;
Food can be eaten without enjoyment;
Hard-boiled eggs boiled dry, to a crisp brown shell, remain edible;
Having a good family doesn’t guarantee wisdom or happiness;
Paranoia lives beneath the skin, just waiting to jump you;
Work, the harder the better, makes a fine distraction;
Friends are better than gold;
Prayer electrifies the link among souls,
And, even when they grow up, ESPECIALLY when they screw up, kids need us.
Ten years ago, at 18, our son took us on a sleigh ride through Hell after he came home, beaten and bleeding from an attack. He was the victim, then, and we were horrified, terror-filled, angry. We pursued his seven attackers in court. Now, though, the table has turned. He’s became “the suspect,” accused of a marijuana trafficking felony and facing hard time. It is what it is. We’re not looking for sympathy or censure.
Since his call, our lives have been turned around–parents, sister’s family, friends and business partners. Our love struggles with confusion, and understanding eludes us all. A bright, articulate and talented young man who built several inter-related businesses through dedication and hard work, may lose them all.
I want to shake him, and I’d have to get in line to do it–but first we have to get him back.

Seven days, and I’m still waiting to touch him, hear his voice, see him. Seven days with no idea what he’s doing, if he’s alright, if he’s safe, and how we can help. He is my friend as much as son, and losing him terrifies me. I think of the early years, when–plagued with asthma–we spent too many holiday nights in emergency rooms and watched his pale skin as he struggled to breath. I laugh, recalling the many days spent in detention during high school, coupled with his respect for teachers who inspired him and pushed hard. I recall, too well, the rough period after the attack, when alcohol became a false friend, a solace he had to beat down, and did. I still feel the pride of watching him work so hard to grow a unique business, and succeed.

But this week, I mourn him, and worry that it will be a very long time before we sit and laugh over books and magazines in our favorite coffee shop, editing copy for his magazine or talking over a story idea. I may lose more than a son; I may lose a dear friend. Be with us, God, be with us.

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