I've thought long about sharing this news on a "public forum", but realized that you are all a special group filled with understanding and compassion. Everyone here has had their own sorrows and when I read your stories, I feel connected with people I've never even met. So, here I go.
Our family suffered a terrible loss yesterday, and we are all numb with grief. My son lost his best friend in a freak drowning accident in Connecticut. This young man was like a second son to my husband and me, and another brother to my three daughters. We are devastated. Hearing the news was like a physical blow and our hearts are broken. He has left a hole in our lives.
The simple story is that he, Tommy, was jumping off of a pier with friends and one of the others with him jumped too soon, landing on top of Tommy. You can imagine what happened at that point; saying the actual words is too much. The Coast Guard and numerous other rescue organizations were there, including helicopters...they found him about 3 1/2 hours after he jumped in. My husband and our daughters drove down (about an hour away) to be with our son who was standing vigil. It was one of those rare moments when my big, grown up, 31 year old son let me put my arms around him and offer what I hope were comforting words.
Tommy was at our home almost daily. Everywhere I look, he would be there...in the barn, on the patio, in the garage, in the workshop, in the kitchen, dining room, bathroom, everywhere. His smile was infectious, his humor was wonderful, and he was a bright spirit that we all love. He's even come here to hang out with my husband and me, just because. He was one of a kind.
This morning my daughters and I were sitting on the back porch. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bright yellow butterfly appeared. Now, I've heard of this happening to others, but here it was, right in front of us. This male Tiger Swallowtail butterfly flittered around every single area that Tommy would have been, including the patio chairs that he would sit in while he ate. It flew within two feet of us, disappeared, then reappeared. It stayed a good long while, then flew off. Could it be? Yes, it could.
In honor of Tommy, the girls went out and bought four butterfly charms for all of us to put on our bracelets. From here on in, it will be our symbol of the love we all have for him.
I know that Tommy is ok and that he's with God, but the pain is ours to bear now. No one's pain is greater than that of his parents, however. My heart breaks for them and for every parent that has lost a child.
Losing him, so young and so suddenly, has reminded me that tomorrow is never promised; that if we waste this moment, we may never get another. It has also reminded me that our words must always be kind, because they could be the last words we say to someone.
I'm grateful to have had Tommy in my life, I'm honored to have had him call me Mama J., and I'm blessed to have loved him.