The title is cliche’. It’s all I got today. I wake up this morning to just another “normal”day. I get my gear on to go for my run/walk. I’m up with the sun (technically before sunrise), but it’s hot already 77º and humid. I check Facebook and see a cryptic post asking for prayers for my cousin. I text my sister, who is the loop more than I am, and I find out his son has been killed in a single car accident about 30 minutes from where I live. She says it’s been a bad week. I ask her what else is going on. Another cousin of ours (a fairly distant cousin by genealogy, but close by geography and friendship) has three grandchildren in the hospital. Her granddaughter has recently been diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, her grandson was in a car accident and his brother had a seizure while visiting him. We hope everyone will be OK.
These are cousins that I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly how they are related. They are Englishes, my mother’s side of the family. Everybody knows Shane. He’s a big presence at all of the reunions. The boy who passed is his son Shane- just 20 years old. I head out for my walk and I wonder if losing Shayna has made me more compassionate or hardened me. It’s hard to say. I now know what it feels like to have your child with you one minute and gone the next. As I’m walking/running I get my answer. Even though I barely have met Shane and have never met his son, I feel their pain. I watched a video Shane made as he drove to the scene of the accident and I could feel his pain. As I walk, I try to energetically take some of it away. I recall being at the reunion and seeing Shane and his son. I remember people talking about “next year in Philadelphia” and me, in my morose way, thinking “Not all of us will be here.” But, I was thinking of the older people. Even after Shayna’s passing, I don’t expect other people to lose children.
As I’m finishing up my walk, coming into the last ½ mile, I get a text from my sister. I check the text. My cousin’s granddaughter has just passed. She’s just a teenager. I’m not sure of her exact age, but somewhere around the age of Shayna. As far as I know she was just diagnosed with a rare and dangerous blood condition. I get back to the house and I text my sister. And now I sit here just stunned. That buzzing feeling I had after Shayna passed is back.
The family reunion was tough for me. Being around all the shiny happy people with their kids and grandkids and having my shattered family missing Shayna. I did more than a little feeling sorry for myself. But, tragedy gets us all. It’s just a matter of time.
Two cousins, less than 24 hours apart, each less than 20 years old and they have transitioned with little to no warning. I ache for all of the ache I know is coming to our family, to the parents, to the grandparents.
Hold your kids tight. Tell them you love them, every single day. When they walk out the door, do not assume they will walk back in. When they go to bed, do not assume they will get up in the morning.