I hope you all don’t mind me taking a moment (or five) to vent here. It’s one of those times where you want to talk to someone and there’s no one around – at least not anyone you want to talk to about it. Thus, here I am, clacking away on these keys.
I had this friend in high school. We were never close and we never hung out afterschool, but he was a classmate and we talked as opportunity permitted. He never showed any real interest in getting to know me all that well either and his living on the other side of town did nothing to encourage otherwise. And his circle of friends was not one I ever expected to see at the library, so suffice it to say that we ran with different packs.
Time Jump a little over 25 years.
I never saw this guy again after I graduated and honestly never thought much about him except when I shared stories with my sons about some of the less than commendable things he did in class.
One day, I came across his name in Facebook, so I sent him a “friend” request, as I did with most of my classmates. I’d learned by now that even the least of friendships often become some of the greater ones as we grow older and wiser. Although he didn’t have a definable profile picture, I knew it was him by the name and friends we had in common. I soon contacted him in efforts to become reacquainted only to discover that he was not who I thought he would be. It was in fact his son, of the same name.
After chatting a bit, I inquired as to the whereabouts and “whatabouts” of his father, who he immediately and readily dismissed as a non-factor in his life. He had nothing good to say about him (he DID, however, have some unrepeatable things to say). It seemed that his father had had him with another classmate, then abandoned her AND his son, early in life. I didn’t get the details and I didn’t ask, but I think it safe to assume that he left the situation probably around the time of conception, realization and notification. I later reconnected with his mother on FB/IG, who spoke about anything and anyone BUT “Sr.” and I carefully left it alone.
Over the years, Jr. (names aren’t important here) and I developed a close friendship, strangely enough, in a father-son kinda way. But if you know me, you know I have a propensity for “adopting” members of the next generation, particularly those without father figures in their lives. And not only was I amazed at what he had already accomplished in life (which I believe he did in spite of, or TO spite his absent sperm donor), I was incredibly proud of each new development that he shared with me. Oftentimes, I’d always say, “I’m so proud of you, son. Keep it up!” He often laughed, sometimes calling me “Dad” or “Pop” just to mess with me. Of course, I told him he could never be “any son of mine” as long as he was a fan of the Green Bay Packers.
About two hours ago, I learned that he suddenly passed away for reasons I have yet to learn. And as much as I want to know how it happened, which I’ll find out soon enough, I really just want to know why.
I mean, I get it; nothing lasts forever and no one’s schedule is posted for all to see. I mean, I can somewhat accept that my relatives and classmates are dying off at an alarming rate, but I’m watching the younger ones fall as well.
I remember back in elementary school, my friend Frankie died trying to save another kid from drowning. It was my first time losing a friend to tragedy. When I tearfully asked my father if he thought Frankie would go to Heaven, he told me that the bible said that there was no greater example of love than sacrificing yourself for someone else. He was paraphrasing JOHN 15:13 (KJV) “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
As he walked away, he also said that no man should EVER have to bury his son.
I don’t know the pain of losing a son. I honestly have never considered it as a possibility, although it could be a reality. Still, I’d be lying if I said that this doesn’t feel like it. And dear God, it feels like I’m dying as well because my heart hurts immeasurably. Sadly, it’s not the first time I lost a young “non-relative” that I love as a son and it may not be the last.
So that’s where I am now. Feeling like I’m about to bury my own son. I know his mother is devastated, but I can’t help but wonder if that (censored) who gave him life, but was never a part OF it, will even shed so much as a tear. I honestly don’t feel he has the right. Who knows? Maybe he was a part of his life at some point, however brief. I don’t think so though. In any event, I’ll pray for his peace (along with Jr’s mother, who gets all of my love and comfort). He’ll also get my pity because he will never know the father-son bond that is an indescribable blessing. My boys are my heartbeat and in their blood flows the legacy of my father, his father and his father. This chain will remain strong as I continue to guide them until I can just sit back and watch their continued journey with admiration.
No one knows of the relationship that I had with Jr. (that I know of), so I don’t expect to be in that small number of funeral attendees that this current pandemic will allow. I wont post any tribute on FB. I won’t go calling around to high school friends.
I probably won’t talk to anyone besides God and those of you kind enough to take the time to read this post which will have no formal announcement, promo pic or gifs within. No one will see this beyond my followers and anyone who happens upon this moment.
I just want to know why. Why?
I know I will never get an answer, but I also know I don’t want to bury any more of these kids…
Thank you guys for your time and attention. I love you all and I say that while you’re here.