Like everyone else we have trials here at the Hanson Mansion. I complain about noise and mess and work…too much. I still have little kids and the outside world rarely and gently touches us. Last week on the way to the Dairy Bar for lunch and ice cream and fun–we got word of an accident, a “farm accident” those are pretty common around here and deadly. We gasp a moment and go on…living.
On Monday, my 6-year-old Noah went to school and his principal soon called. Noah is in her office with a stomach ache…he tells her he has had it for a month and his Momma can fix it. I go and get him and there is a letter in his backpack from his teacher. The accident killed a boy in Noah’s school–a little boy about to finish second grade. Noah knew him. Noah liked him. All those feelings were turning into a tummy ache for my 6-year-old. I made him a honey sandwich (his fav) and went on with my chores. He had questions and I answered each one as well as I could.
Another letter came home. Visitation (aka Wake-don’t call it that when talking to your 6-year-old) was being held at Noah’s school on Thursday night and we are all to wear Camo or blue–the little boy’s favorite colors.
I rush us through dinner and clean everyone up to go help Noah pay his respects. One more thing to do, one more thing to cross off the list….
We arrive at the school and walk to the Gym. I tell the boys how to act and what to expect. I walk into a room full of strangers and sign the guest book. I am there for Noah. We walk past photo boards and art work. I am stunned…breathless. I am overwhelmed at how much like my boys he was. He was my son’s contemporary. He made the same artwork Noah brought home. He loved all the things my boys do, swimming, hunting, bike riding, Spongebob, life…his school picture looked an awful lot like my boy.
I went up to his Mom. I didn’t want to. I wanted to cry, hide, leave. She was sitting in this Gym in a folding chair, I got on my knees and took her hand…I said:
“I don’t know what to say and I usually say something stupid when I talk when I don’t know what to say. I want you to know we love you–we are praying for you–you are not alone. In a few weeks I will call and ask if you want supper or me to clean your house or someone to take you to get your toenails painted…in a few weeks.”
I wanted to sob. I took the boys hands, we left and went to get ice cream–comfort food, sweet elixir for the aching souls of little boys. My heart was heavy and my mind numb.
We got home late, past bedtime and it seemed right to linger. I sat outside and watched my boys whoop and laugh and jump and run.
The next day was cold and gray and I was hurting. I could not imagine how his Momma felt–felt in those first few moments when she woke on this day and became aware of her truth. I felt guilty ( I am good at that!) I have life all around me. I have these gifts from God. Life is so brief, so precious, so fragile.
The family has little. They need food for the dinner and help with expenses. There are coffee cans in the gas stations all around with his face and a request to help his parents pay for his funeral. I will make lasagna, one for us, one for them and one for the freezer for when…when…I start thinking about how many plans and fears and hopes and dreams I have for my boys and I this summer and beyond.
Tomorrow I will show you my lasagna. Tonight, I will hug my boys a little tighter and enjoy them a little more than usual.