Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Such a Great Loss

I remember growing up listening to my mom talk about her cousin David that was killed in a car accident when they were young. My mom would talk about David and how close they were and how much she misses him so, so many years later. I now know all too well that pain.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 7, my phone rang. I keep my phone on silent through the night and how I heard it vibrating is beyond me. It was approximately 5:20 am. Tony was already up for work and was watching TV in the living room. I picked up the phone and saw it was my mom. I mumbled hello as I tried to wake up and speak clearly. My mom said, "Is Tony there with you?". Immediately I knew something was wrong and I automatically thought it was my grandpa, just due to his age and health. I said, "yes, WHY!?" There was a pause. My mom's voice was quivering. "I have terrible, terrible news". At this point I was in shear panic. "Mom, WHAT!!" I cried. She blurted out, "Lance was killed in a car accident." I jumped up and starting running to the living room. "NO! NO! NO!" I screamed. I was a bawling mess as I yelled the news to Tony. I finally had to hand the phone to him because I couldn't control myself.

My cousin Lance was only 24 years old. He is my mom's brother's son. My first cousin. We all grew up close, all of us cousins. We spent all our holidays together, most of our summers, and any time my mom had a break from school we would go to my grandparents. My cousins are what make my memories there. We were all fairly close in age, just close enough to be good friends, but just far enough apart to get on each other's nerves at times. My cousins are also my friends.

Lance was involved in an accident that took his life. Apparently he was in a friend's jeep but he was alone. I'm not sure of the exact details, as I haven't asked yet. I don't know that I really want to know exactly what happened. I don't know if he lost control or swerved to miss a deer or cow or something in the road. Nonetheless, his jeep flipped and he didn't survive.

I must say this has been the toughest thing for me to face and deal with. I try to explain it as easily as I can. Losing Lance has been difficult. I don't want to compare the loss with Grace and Olivia, but it is a total different hurt. I think when I lost the girls it was almost a "peaceful hurt" if that makes sense, where this has been so tragic. I am not minimizing the death of my babies by any means, but this hurt is so different, so deep.

I was so fortunate that I got to spend a little time with Lance and his daughter, Callie, just a mere 12 days before his death. I got to spend time with him when we went down there for Allie's 2nd birthday. Lance brought his daughter over to play with Betsy and I am so thankful for those last memories of them together. I took many pictures as I am preparing to make a family photo book of our entire family to present to my grandparents for Christmas. I look at these pictures, that were taken so close to his death, and my heart just aches all over again.

When my mom speaks of her cousin David that died, she talks about how she didn't have any closure to his death because she was not able to see him after he died. I was thankful to have this closure with Lance. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced, to see my cousin laying there in his casket. The overwhelming sadness and great loss our family felt will never be able to be expressed in words. I am thankful that he looked so peaceful. He literally had a smile on his face, the same smile I have seen for many, many years. That brought such a joy to my heart as I felt as though he WAS in total peace. My heart is so heavy. I am sorry that our family had to deal with this. I am sorry that Betsy will never know her cousin Lance and what a great guy he was. I hope that as we watch his daughter Callie grow up, that we all remember to share with her what a wonderful daddy he was to her. Lance's fiance, Sarah, is expecting their second child due in April. I hope we all remember to share Lance with this new baby as well.

My favorite part of his funeral service was when the preacher reminded us all to be thankful for the times we had with Lance. We were blessed to have him for 24 years. Some people don't even have that long. We have 24 years of memories to last us a lifetime.
Our hearts are aching still but we need to be comforted in the fact that Lance is NOT aching. And we can smile knowing he was the first in our family to get to hug my girls.

Sarah, Lance and Callie with Ma on Easter

Here is Lance and his daughter Callie, listening to a book from our Ma.


Nicki said...

You have been on my mind a lot this week.