Life as a single Mother-Empty nest, Dating, Ex-husband, Best Friends, Full-time Employment, Unemployment, night school...How do these all relate to one another? Come with me:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Melancholy mood, thoughts and a little color to lighten the mood

I took a drive up into the mountains near my home to help a friend with a college paper yesterday. It was a beautiful drive as we just had the first snow of the season. The bright white of the snow in contrast with the evergreens and the fall colors was stunning.

This was a good 'clear your head' kind of drive. It was just what I needed after Saturday morning. I was feeling a bit of sorrow.

Let me start with a little background, some 4 or so years back, we lived next to an empty lot, a neighbor who had inherited the land from his parents, sold the lot in order to build a better house for he and his retired sister to live in. A man bought the land and spent nearly a year building a house on the land. A house he would sell and never live in. A family moved in soon after it was completed and as is the case in many neighborhoods, I didn't get to know them for a while. My own selfish reasons. would they judge me for not being of the predominant faith in the area, would they judge me because my yard was cluttered and not kept up? Whatever the reason doesn't matter much.
The seasons passed and not much was said between us, I was not even sure how many children they had. Christmas's came and went and I would send over the treats to them along with all of our other neighbors whom I have known personally or just waved a friendly hello to in passing.
They would kindly reciprocate. I would always wonder as I pulled my the driveway near their house, what was going on in that house? It is a nice house with an immaculate yard. Who were these people and were they like me? I felt a little intimidated by these strangers.
This past year, as the father and the son would work in the yard, mowing it to a golf course state. They would wave and smile friendly. Maybe they weren't so judgmental and perfect after all. As the months passed, I began to get to know the family, a father, a mother and one son, Ty a little better.

I mentioned to my kids, they should invite him when they went with friends, It must be hard to be a new kid in the high school. My daughter would say, 'but mom, he has a girlfriend'. I had seen him picked up for school by a girl in a yellow jeep most mornings as I was scraping the frost off my windshield. "Doesn't mean he can't have friends' I said." Besides that i had noticed him, noticing her in a sweet way.

My son, who is a year older than Ty (who would be 18 this November), was headed out one day to go to the movies with some friends, I mentioned to him that it would be a nice gesture to invite Ty. The worst thing that could happen is he says no. So, they invited him, he was elated! and they went and had a great time.

Things were busy in the next few months, with both my son and myself graduating. The girls were busy with work and school and my own employers were suffering hardships. We were also busy with moving my parents to their new home the coming week.

I recall one day Ty's mother stopping by as I had gone home during lunch hour to help my son with some speakers in his car. She mentioned how nice it was that my son had invited Ty to the movies and that he was thinking of a career in automotive and had just purchased a car of his own.
I was not sure at the time of her reason for mentioning this. I was proud that my son had made a good impression as a friend.

One month later, school had just ended and the kids were itching to spend the money they had been making at their jobs. My two girls had decided to walk to the local theatre and take in a movie. (My daughter would later recall that as they passed his house they thought of knocking and inviting Ty but once again, assumed he would be doing something with his girlfriend).
That same night, as I pulled in from work, I could seriously 'feel' something wrong in the air. Something just wasn't right. then I saw an ambulance at their house. A neighbor stopped by as I pulled in my driveway.

'I guess I had better tell you, as you live so close' he said to me. Ty killed himself today. This was not even my child and I cannot tell you the awful weight of despair that fell on my heart that day. All I could think of was why? He was such a happy boy. He has so much ahead of him. He just bought a car! Oh my god, how will I tell my kids?

That same night, a friend of his held a candlelight vigil in his honor at the high school. With today's technology word spread fast through text and e-mail. There were so many kids there. The parents, with more strength than I have ever known, spoke about their son. I learned so much of him that night. I think that maybe some of the kids were there merely because of the 'publicity' and didn't really know him. But some of the kids who spoke about him, spoke of a highly friendly and caring teen boy, involved in so many great things with a great future ahead of him.
It has been a few months since this happened, his parents have sold the house and moved a few towns away. We have spoken since, and they tell me what a blessing it was that Ty had Jeremy in his life. I was confused. He had many many friends.

Although this happened nearly 5 months ago, I have often looked at the house for sale next door, and wondered, how would you go on? How could you lose a child? and worse than that, not know why. Suicide is such a crazy thing. Only the one who does it truly knows what was going on in their head. It is the ones who are left behind who are the most confused but not necessarily the ones who hurt the most. I surely hope that Ty is in a happier place and that his parents are able to have peace in their own lives.
So other than the fact that I cannot seem to get this tragedy out of my mind, but also this:
This past Saturday morning, as my girls had just left the house to work and competition, the dogs were in a ruckus. I looked out the window and saw Ty's mother, Deb, walking away from my house. I didn't understand...

Then I saw a few small Manila envelopes in her arms, she must have left something.?
I opened up the front door and there was an envelope. I opened it up to find a small pad with Ty's picture on the front and a DVD.

I immediately began to sob. Really hard, painful sobbing. I cannot tell you what triggered the sobbing that morning- The fact that his life was so short? The parents pain? The picture? The fact that I too have children that age, and do I truly know how they are feeling deep inside? I don't know. But I felt such remorse over this young man.
The pad included a poem, an explanation from his parents as to just how they are coping, and a thank you to all who have helped them through this trying time.
The DVD was a slide show of Ty's entire happy but short life, his funeral service, and some other bits.
The handwritten note, the personal, heartfelt message from them, was: "We want to help, if you ever need anything at all, we know that our purpose is now to help others." There was also mention of his father, Mike being from a single mother and knowing the sacrifices made. I hope that I would be as strong if god forbid anything happened to any of my children.
What a selfless gesture. How hard it must be for them, to offer help to other people and their children. To see others with their children when they have lost theirs, their only child.
A single mother - or any mother, or parent, cant help but think of their own in a time like this.

Hug your children today, and everyday- Now. Tell them you love them. Let them know that they are important.

Along those same lines- maybe we should all go out and meet a neighbor- find out a little about them. One neighbor you always meant to meet.

In fact- their house just sold- to one of the firefighters who came on that tragic day- I think I will have to make a batch of cookies or banana bread and introduce myself.

But on a lighter note: nothing gets you closer to God than nature.. Here are some pictures of my ride. (Please excuse the car antenna- but you know how my photography is....)

Bridal Veil Falls- This was nearly wiped out- The park, not the waterfall- A few years ago by an avalanche. But it sure looked beautiful on Sunday.

Can you see the waterfalls? And the fall colors with the snow? (mind you- I took this while driving, could have been killed- or worse, spilled my coffee)

This one is coming into the canyon toward Sundance- Home of heartthrob Robert Redford. Just a skiff of snow on the ridges.

Here is one of the more colorful pictures I love this state!

From the shady side of the road- still beautiful snow on the peaks.

Here is another with all those speckles of color- Don't they remind you of the Disney movies we used to watch on Sunday nights, where the super human paintbrush would slather the colors over the world?- Mother nature and all this beauty leaves me a little more at peace with the passing of Ty. (and my uncle Mayo- My dad's only brother whose funeral was within a few days of Ty's)


  1. Hi, I'm 23, two kids, Olivia (3) and Simon (1, next week)
    I've just break-up with their dad, like a month ago, and it's all so confusing right now, i'll keep visiting your blog.

  2. Great! Hope this blog helps you-welcome and good luck with your little ones.


Tell me what you think: