My son is 16 and we just moved to Chicago in late August.
He is, of course, popular and active in school. He is taking senior level and college courses (except one that wasn't on his transcript LAST year - he took it a few years ago - and he had to take it over again... *sigh*). He helps out with the poetry club, GSA, jazz ensemble, band, etc.
He called me last week and asked if he could bring a group of kids home. I reminded him that I cannot fit that many people into my car and so bringing home so many people would mean we could not go to pick up his driver's permit. "Ok," he said. "See you in a bit, mom."
I thought that was pretty wierd. I mean... a PERMIT? hmmm... And off I wandered to my computer to finish with assigning people in my class to Buddy Teams...
My son introduced me to a couple of other girls and then I said hello to his girlfriend. They all piled into the living room and began choosing a movie to watch.
My son came into my office area to chat and then proceeded to tell me that he had brought this group of girls home because one of their friends had died that day.
Like omg. idk wat he wnts m 2 do wit dis...
I left them alone for a bit and then wandered in. "How are you guys doing?" I asked.
The little one, who's eyes were terribly puffie behind her glasses, said, "Oh, I'm fine. I think I've stopped crying."
Another one just sat there.
My son's gf just smiled a little.
"This isn't going to get easier anytime soon, you know."
I proceeded to tell them that different people would react differently to this and they might even see people reacting very strongly who had no real association with her. I explained that there is just something terrifying about someone your age dying. Especially when it was someone so active and beloved as their friend. I asked them to have patience and to just comfort anyone who wanted comfort not because they knew her, but because they need it.
We talked for a while. I told them how many people my car would hold (are you sensing a theme here?) and that I would gladly take them to the funeral when it was arranged. We offered to do a CD or DVD of pictures, after gathering them from friends, from the family to show at the funeral and would be willing to help with clean-up at the funeral home or reception if they needed or wanted it.
We all talked for a while and the girls seemed terribly happy to have someone who wouldn't bs them about it. I told them of my own bf who committed suicide when I was a freshman. I told them of my sister, dad, and others who have passed. I told them it was not like they are sleeping, but is exactly like they are dead in that casket. I told them it would hurt and that they would not forget this time... ever.
They finished the movie, the popcorn, soda, and other snacks and headed off into the world. Home to families that I hoped care enough to talk to them.
I needed to get ready to go out and slipped into the tub. When my older son came in, I was in the bath and slipped the shower curtain open just enough to be able to see him.
"How are YOU, son?"
"Awww... I'm fine, mom. You know I didn't really know her all that well. Some classes, some activities, but I only met her in like October or something."
"That's enough to make others react strongly. Are you concerned as to how your friends will act if you do not react strongly to her death?"
"No. I'll tell them that I have lost others. After losing your aunt, it's just different, I guess. I mean, I watched my little brother stand there next to her casket and hold her hand. THAT is aweful. This is just death. She was a nice girl and she will be missed by a lot of people. Maybe even me, but I am just sad for those people. She was young and I'm pretty sure she didn't want to get hit by a bus. But the jury is still out on that one."
She had been hit, apparently, by a CTA bus and refused treatment. She then collapsed at the train station on her way to school and died soon after.
I think he's going to be ok.
I think he knew I might help those girls and brought them home for that reason.
I hope I did. Before I left that night to go to my bf's frat's birthday meet 'n greet, I hugged him. I hugged him REALLY hard.
That kid and I have been through so much. Good tests, good grades, bad grades, good grades, Emo, music, gay/lesbian rights discussions, how and when to get STD testing, condom usage, WHY his body is not physiologically ready for drugs, what he wants to be when he grows up, and (most recently) the fact that he wants to graduate from high school a year early. I am so proud of him.
And I am shocked and happy that he trusts me enough to bring his friends home when they need someone to talk to.
The funeral is this Saturday.
I just wanted to share. Thanks for reading and *listening*.
Hug your teenager today.
‘Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us.Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.’ Daniel Burnham
| current weight: 179.2