I lost an amazing friend well over a decade ago. He was like a brother to me but he died of cancer far too young. He left behind a wife and three young boys. His sister also died tragically young. It has taken me many years to come to terms with their loss. I spent a lot of time at their house in my twenties. He and his sister were raised by an amazing single mom. Their home was a happy place with lots of laughter and singing.
They both loved to torture me at the dinner table. They were like Abbott and Costello in their comic timing. They would sit on either side of me and would have me laughing so hard I’d usually end up having to leave the table. One time my drink shot out my nose. My stomach would ache from laughing so hard and I felt like passing out when I couldn’t catch my breath. I don’t think I’ve laughed like that since. Those memories are stored forever in my heart.
This week I was invited to spend an evening with his three sons and I was spellbound. They are now in high school and college. I (again) spent a hilarious evening laughing while sitting at the dinner table. We shared old memories and I was struck by what wonderful grown men they have become. Their mom has done an amazing job raising them under very difficult circumstances. She’s my hero.
She had huge shoes to fill! Her husband was smart, charming, kind and a man you could count on. He adored his wife and children and I couldn’t help but wonder that night, what he would have thought of his amazing sons? I found myself looking for him in their faces. Expressions, mannerisms, echoes of the past. They never knew their aunt, she passed before they were born, but she was at the table too. I heard her in their laughter and saw her in their brilliance. She had a high IQ like these boys share.
Most of all I saw them for who they are. Separate young adults with their own personality traits and character. The best of both worlds. The world that passed before them and the one they are staking out today as their own. They stand in no ones shadow and that is how their dad would have wanted it. Lucky me, I was there to see it!