5.15.2008

Emotional Sucker Punch

Have you ever had something happen that totally caught you off guard? Left you almost unable to breathe, not sure how to react, whether to laugh or cry........
That happened to me this past weekend.
In 1994, my cousin died. He was older than me by about 8 or 9 years, and although we hadn't grown up close, we grew closer before his death. He moved closer to us, married, and had a son. I attended his wedding, and visited the hospital after his baby was born. He attended my first wedding.
In 1994, his sister got married. He traveled to South Florida to be a groomsman. They had a great time at the wedding, and the reception, and then, still in their tuxes, some of the guys walked down A1A to a nearby bar. They partied for a little longer, then my cousin decided to walk back down A1A, to his hotel room.
Nobody knows exactly what happened. Maybe my cousin had a little too much to drink and stumbled onto the highway. Maybe the car swerved a little off the highway.
Either way, my cousin was struck by a car and killed.
I took it hard. I cried for him, and for his mother who had lost her only son. I had just became a mother myself, to my son. I couldn't imagine losing him, at any age.
He was buried with a picture of the three year old son he left behind.
That little boy will soon be seventeen. All these years he's grown up without a dad, and my family wasn't sure how much his mother had kept his memory alive. At the time of my cousin's death, he and his wife were seperated and talking divorce.
But this past weekend, I coincidentally ran into my cousin's son. I was at a festival with my husband, aunt, & mom. We were all chatting with him while he was at a stand, buying a soda. When he pulled out his wallet to pay for the soda.......that's when it happened.
In the front and center position, where people would normally have their driver's license, I saw a picture that I instantly recognized.
It was a picture of my cousin when he first joined the army. That typical military picture with the short haircut and the flag in the background.
I almost couldn't breathe when I saw it. I was so caught off guard to see that picture there. I've seen it a million times before, looking through family albums. But there, in his teenage son's wallet.......it just floored me.
First I showed my husband........then I had to walk away. All of those emotions from twelve years ago came rushing back. Then I walked back, and pointed out the picture to my aunt and mother. Then I told my cousin's son how wonderful I thought it was that he carries that picture.
And I keep reliving that moment over and over in my head.

13 comments:

Gette said...

Those are the moments that shake off the day-to-day drudge and snap you back to the bigger picture. They are precious.

A Buns Life said...

That's awesome that his son carries it around with him....they same thing happens with me whenever I come across a loose photo of my dad. I'm not expecting to see a picture of him when I'm rummaging through a drawer but BAM there he is, and I must stop and take a moment and remember. I probably leave those pictures loose on purpose though.....so that I can have those quick reminders every once in a while. :)

Kathryn said...

Oh that is just beautiful. Just precious!

Michelle said...

My uncle died 5 years ago and we weren't particularly close, but I find myself reminded of him in the smallest ways and I remember the smallest moments I shared with him.

Far From Perfect said...

We are going to my husbands grandson's graduation party today-his mom & Dr haven't seen eye to eye in years. She has kept him out of our lives amap. He is missing out on a great grandpa. Your story gives me hope that maybe as men someday they'll contect.

Sandy C. said...

Just reading about this made me tear up. That is so touching he keeps his father's photo with him. *hugs* to you for remembering the moment.

Ramblin' Red said...

That is such a hauntingly beautiful moment.

sogratefultobemormon.wordpress.com said...

beautiful.

gave me goosebump shivers running through me to read this.

thank you for sharing this. that's so touching.

Julie said...

Wow, just wow!!!!

Immoral Matriarch said...

Amazing, amazing post!

pb&j in a bowl said...

Wonderful post. I got chills when I read that he had a picture of his dad in his wallet.

Kimmylyn said...

As pb&j I got chills reading this.. I am happy to see that his mom kept his memory alive.. what an amazing post.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Oh. Wow!