Young. Nineteen is so damn young.
I was shopping at a children’s resale clothing store this week. I saw a young big guy who caught my eye. After seeing him a couple times I wondered if I knew him. When I was waiting in line and he was standing nearby, I asked him his name. Tyler. That was how I knew him–he was a friend of Kade’s since elementary school, who I hadn’t seen in a long time.
I braced myself for him to ask how Kade was and what he was up to. I honestly couldn’t remember if he was at Kade’s funeral. But he didn’t ask. He knew. We chatted about where I used to live when he used to come over, that I moved, where he was living, and where he worked. He told me he was “trying to marry” his girlfriend who was with him. We also chatted about Tyler’s adorable little blond toddler there, too.
I was mostly OK in the store. But the closer I got to my car, and the more intensely I wanted to tell Kade who I ran in to, the more not OK I became.
Around the time I pulled out of the parking lot is around the time the tears came. Tyler looked so young. That meant Kade was even younger when his life ended. No cute toddlers for Kade, or “trying to marry” a pretty girl. No cute grandbabies from Kade for me. And no Kade to for me to call and say, “Hey, I ran into Tyler at the store. He looked the same but taller. His little guy, Carson, was really cute. Did you know he had a baby? Do you talk to him? I remember dropping you off at his house, and him coming to ours. What grades would that have been?”
Before walking into the next store, I texted a fellow bereaved mom, and called my mom, instead of calling the person I really wanted to.
“The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”
~ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars