I was heading out the other morning when I heard the news report: a fatal accident, with an unidentified male, in the vicinity of my son’s home. I didn’t think much of it, only that I should call my son today, once I was sure he was up. I hadn’t spoken to him in a few days, and I like to keep in touch.
I finished at the gym and headed to the office, relishing the fact that, after the long winter, I needed to dig out my sunglasses. I was surprised when my phone rang – and it was my son.
“Hi, I was going to call you later on. What’s up?”
“Mom, I think my friend was killed last night.”
“I’m so sorry.”
That sure doesn’t seem like much, does it? Simple words, so often tossed off without thinking. I bump into the lady in front of me in line at the supermarket: “Oops, I’m sorry.” Spill a glass of ice water in someone’s lap – “oh, I’m so sorry!”
And yet, those same words are sometimes all we have to express such heartache, such grief and helplessness, that uttering anything else would almost be presumptuous, even affected.
“I am so, so sorry.”
It seems that Friend had intended to come over the evening before, and he didn’t show up. That in itself was apparently not so unusual. What was unusual was when my son called his friend’s cell, a State Trooper answered and said there’d been a car accident, but not much more than that.
Son called his friend’s wife, who, at that point, didn’t know anything, other than that her husband hadn’t come home.
Over the course of the following morning, the victim was identified as my son’s friend. He’d gone off the road, rolled his car several times, and was ejected from the vehicle, to be found later, having died on the scene.
The man was 41. He was a husband and a daddy.
And he was one of my son’s closest friends.
I’d met him a few times, of course, though I didn’t know him well, nor did I know his family.
What I did know of him, though, was that, while he may have had some personal demons (don’t most of us?), he was a good friend to my son. He was a teacher and a mentor, and he was doing everything in his power to make a good life for his family.
And now a young woman has lost her husband, two little girls have lost their father, and my son has lost his dear friend.
And I am so, so sorry.