We barreled into my parents house this weekend with the 10,000 essential things you simply must bring with you for the baby and I heard the words that I dread. We have some bad news. A cousin of mine took her own life.
My father’s family is large. He is one of seven brothers and sisters and so the cousins are numerous. She wasn’t one that I knew very well, but my memories of her are fond. She was bright and energetic, loved to talk and loved to dote on the barn kittens that lived on my uncle’s farm in rural Iowa. Her immediate family is devastated, obviously, and the rest of us are left wondering what could have gone so terribly wrong?
I feel so badly for her mother. The sheer powerlessness she must feel after discovering that her daughter’s frequent calls home were leaving out what must have been a lot of pain. As a parent your biggest fear and ultimate goal are the same thing: to prepare your child for a life that is independent from yours. I don’t expect to always be able to be there to comfort Luke. I know that there will be times when he doesn’t share everything with me and may bear certain burdens alone; we have all done that from time to time. As I look at him now, smiling his gummy smile and chewing on his fingers, it’s hard to imagine that there will be a time when I will have to let him go. News like this makes me want to hold on a little tighter.
Now her family is left with the “if only’s”. They are left behind to replay every conversation and every day, looking for clues that are too late to discover now. There is no crystal ball to look into and no way of knowing what our future will hold. One thing I do know is that she deserved better than to end up alone, in a room, far from home. I hope she found the peace she was looking for.