"How old were you (approximately) when you attended your first funeral? Did your parents shield you from death and grief or was it viewed as a natural part of life? Did you experience any significant loss(es) in your growing up years? What were your early impressions of death and dying? And while I do not intend this in any irreverent way, are there any amusing memories associated with a death or funeral? If you have kids, how have you handled this subject with them? Feel free to share as vulnerably or as shallowly as you want!"
One of my grandmother's passed away when I was around 11 or 12 but as I mentioned earlier, I really cannot remember much of my youth until my late teens and early twenty's.
So, I am going to tell you about a sweet young man who passed away for too early in his life.
I got married the month I turned 18. It was a mistake. The man I married was 21 or 22. We were both too young and both came from troubled homes. The marriage didn't last. Although we both had issues, I must admit that I was more at fault than he was.
He had 7 siblings (8 kids total-wow). By far, the friendliest and sweetest of his siblings was one of his younger brothers, DJ.
DJ was about 16 and had just purchased a car. He was SO proud of this car but it actually had too much power.
One thing I'll never forget is that phone call we received that awful morning at around 5:00 AM. DJ had been out with friends, yes he was drinking, and was on his way home. His best friend, who was also drinking said he would follow him home to make sure he got there ok. More than likely, they were playing around, maybe racing or goofing off. Anyway, DJ wrapped (literally) his car around a telephone pole. He died on impact. Although I didn't know his friend that was following him, I've often wondered how that night has haunted him. Many of you probably either know someone who has, or have themselves followed someone home to make sure they got there ok. Well, DON'T. Give them a ride. Or if you aren't able to, find them a ride, call a taxi or just take their keys and make them stay.
I remember being "the strong" one". I've always been "the strong one". My husband was crushed. I didn't know how to deal with it. I had been raised in a home where we all hid our feelings until I had finally gotten to the point where I had convinced myself that I didn't have any at all.
I remember going to the funeral home and making the arrangements. DJ didn't own a suit and his family wanted him buried in one, so I was the one that went and purchased a new suit for him.
At the funeral home, I greeted people, hugged them, listened while they cried, and held my husbands hand. I never shed a tear. Afterwards, at his aunts house, I went into the bathroom and tried to make myself cry, but I couldn't.
I felt haunted.
For months I felt haunted but then God sent me a message...a miracle that helped me get through this.
He sent me a dream.
In my dream, I was in a grocery store. As I was getting ready to leave, I looked out the huge glass front of the store and there was DJ. He was standing there with his hands in his pockets. (I remember it like it was yesterday). Even though there was a wall of glass between us, I could hear him perfectly. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Don't worry. I'm OK". That is all he said. Then he gave me that goofy smile he had. He took his hands out of his pockets and saluted me, (that was something he always did when he was alive).
Then he was gone.
I woke up with a peacefulness that I hadn't felt in a long time.
I'm smiling now as I picture it.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Flashback Friday With Mocha With Linda.
Today I am participating in Mocha With Linda's Flashback Friday. Usually her flashbacks are more of a "fun" topic with thoughts and antics from our youth but today's is a bit more serious in nature. However, as I realized, I don't have many memories from my youth so I haven't been able to participate very often. I am grateful for today's topic because I am curious how other people handle these difficult situations. Also, today's brings back memories of a wonderful young boy I knew.