As I drove to work, I realized that this is the time of year when I become more aware of Catelyn's "lasts". I am hopeful that this year won't come with all of the pain that last year did, but only time will tell.
Even with those feelings creeping up, the primary reason Monday was so crappy is that I learned of the death of a young man from the area I live in.
His name is John. I don't know John extremely well, I know his mom, sister, and a handful of extended family members a bit better. However, I do know a few things about John.
First, he is 19 years old. I watched him go through his confirmation classes, and had the pleasure of making his confirmation certificate, too. John is the guy who is always willing to help everyone. He has been involved in 4H numerous years - probably since birth. He helped for many years in the Sunday School rooms, as a volunteer at church. He has always been active in the community. He is bright, funny, and compassionate, and not only is he well liked by everyone, but extremely well known in the community.
I can't begin to express how agonizing it is to see others have to go through this type of loss. It makes me feel so helpless.
One of the hardest parts is that, even with my own experience, I don't know what to say or do, or how to act. I want to offer comfort to those in mourning, but it's like my tongue becomes this heavy weight, and I am trying so hard to lift it that I lose sight of my intentions and the next thing you know my entire foot is in my mouth.
I am convinced that there is no 'right' thing to say when a loved one dies. It just sucks, and no words can really make it better because the only thing you want is for that person to be alive and not dead.
This particular death is pretty hard for me. Maybe it's timing, maybe it's because I know his family, maybe it's just hard.... This death has stirred a lot of feelings and questions inside me.
It makes me think of Catelyn.
It reminds me how bewildered I was.
It reminds me how the shock took over, and I had no idea what I was doing, but I was doing it.
It reminds me of the first days when I felt like it had yo be a terrible dream.
It makes me wonder how word spread about Catelyn's death.
It makes me wonder what people said when they found out.
It makes my heart ache in different ways than it has before.
There isn't much I wouldn't give to prevent others from having to suffer a loss as great as the death of a child.