My Mom died 3½ years ago. But this isn’t really about her passing. It is about what I carry forward from it.
I am young (late 20something), and people my age shouldn’t lose a parent yet. It’s too early. We are still kids. And we are just getting to the point where we appreciate them for parents. But I did, and from this loss, I gained a breadth of knowledge that nobody could share with me, because they had not yet been there.
Unfortunately, I have been given the opportunity to share my experience with two friends, the most recent being yesterday. One of my college friends, RenaissanceMan, lost his wife last week (another classmate from college) to brain cancer. Hers was fast growing and was relatively quick (as far as cancers go). But again, this is an arena in which many of our contemporaries have (blessedly) not gone … and nobody can give advice because nobody knows.
But when you carry that experience, there is an almost unspoken duty to they who are in need. I wish I had someone tell me what it’s like to lose a parent at a young age. I wish I had someone to tell me what I was going to go through before, during, and after it all. I wish I had someone who I could just sit with and know that they knew what I was going through.
But I can now provide that to my friends. It is what I carry. And I am okay with this.
Cowboy has discovered that his experience growing up as a child of an alcoholic and spending his adulthood coming to grips with it is what he can share. For NiceGuy, it was his own battle in overcoming alcoholism that he can share with they who are just beginning to get sober. And from these unique experiences that some of us have, others can benefit. For the few and far between who do have knowledge of uncommon things, we are in a strange club that bonds us in often deep and remarkable ways. And for us who are life members, we often have to reach out and welcome they who are incoming. Because most often, they who are incoming never realize there is a club to which they inherently belong.
Life is not always fair, and often it flat-out sucks. But, we do have to continue on. And in that, we can mine our story and knowledge and help the next ones through that particular corridor of life. Because at the end of the day, it’s often much nicer to travel down a difficult road with the company of someone who knows the way.