Ancient History

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I watch my son’s face as he explains the boy’s death was so horrible, he can’t say how it happened out loud.

They found him…do you mind if I don’t say? he asks.

Of course not.

He could tell me about the suicide and how the boy was put on a machine that kept his heart beating. But then the doctors and the mom and dad decided to turn it off. So he died.

The boy was his friend’s older cousin, a 17-year-old whose girlfriend broke up with him. He killed himself, which is called a suicide.

Have you heard of people doing that, mom?

I have, and I think it’s horrible for everyone. You can’t come back from it, ever.

My son’s friend was absent yesterday. He went to his cousin’s funeral. Today at school, the friend told classmates what happened and he cried a lot.

I think to myself maybe he should have stayed home another day. But tomorrow would come and a little boy, barely 10, would still find it baffling and impossible to get through a day without remembering his family tragedy.

It’s probably for the best he attended school on a grey Tuesday, late October, 2009.

It’s probably for the best he shared with his friends. How young is it too young to hear? When is a person too fragile to shoulder a burden? Too new to say I am sorry and mean it?

How many trips around the sun must someone take before they are ready to stand in a kitchen, on a grey Tuesday, late October, 2009, and hear from her little boy about a real death so horrible, it cannot be told or understood?

I’ll let you know when the sun tilts just right.

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