Tonight I Paid My Respects

Ever since the arrangements for Kyle Ehinger were released, I’ve been determined to go and pay my respects to his family.  I usually hide away from large gatherings of any type, and tend to avoid situations where it’s just me, alone and not knowing anyone else, in a gathering of people who all know (and appear to like) one another.  But I’m done hiding away and am putting on my big girl pants and stepping outside my comfort zone and actually being a grown up and not just acting as though I am a grown up.

But tonight, I was not sure that I would pull it off.   What would I say to Kelly and Ed Ehinger?  “I’m sorry” sounds so lame, but it’s true, I am sorry.  And as I drove to Sutton this evening, my vision kept getting blurred as my eyes filled with tears, while I thought about this 18 year-old man-child, who felt, if even just for that one critical moment, no hope for his future.  And I thought about his girlfriend, Sam, who I do not know and have never met, but I have read her posts to and about Kyle on Facebook, and my heart aches for her.  I saw her at the funeral home tonight and she is (physically) the tiniest little girl and she is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders.  And she is holding her own.  She is strong and I admire her strength.  From only watching her at the viewing tonight and reading her posts, I just know that she will come out on the other side of this nightmare and live a long, blessed life.

The crowd at the funeral home was unreal.  Kyle was barely 18 years old but seeing the sheer number of people who showed up to see him one last time, to say good-bye, to hug his parents and each other was, well, honestly, nothing prepared me for the sight.  For the first time, I really understood what it means when “they” say that a town is grieving.  That is Georgina right now.  It is a collection of towns that are grieving the loss of this child (and yes, I know that technically he was an adult, but I’m a mom, and Kyle, who turned 18 just weeks after my Declan did, so to me he was a child, and I make no apologies for that).  I looked around at the various groupings of people who were chatting, laughing, crying, hugging, comforting and talking quietly, many of them wearing ‘In Loving Memory of Kyle Ehinger’ tee shirts and I wondered to myself – who was Kyle?  How did this kid influence and make such an impact on this many people in the short time that he was with us?  What was it about him that made him so special to so many people?  And why was it not enough to save him?

When I left the funeral home, I had a bit (okay, more than a bit) of a cry, then I texted Declan and asked if he wanted to meet me for a bit.  He did, so we did, and it helped put my mind and heart at ease, to see him, talk to him, check in with him, hug him and know for myself that my firstborn was okay.  Then I came home and checked on my four sleeping smalls and kissed each one of them and took a moment to marvel at how perfectly beautiful they are.  With the stresses and pressures of life, it is far too easy to forget to stop and really love and appreciate our children.  I, for one, really need to make sure that I slow down and enjoy my kids.  Cleaning the house, doing the laundry, unpacking from our move – those things will all still be there (waiting for me, like a some kind of rabid stalker) after bedtime.  Life and love are far more precious than clean dishes and empty boxes.

Tomorrow Kyle’s family and friends will say their final goodbyes.  I will not be there.  With my two smallest smalls home with me still, I know that we would be a disruption or distraction and that is the last thing that I want.  For those of you who would like to attend but do not have the latest information, Ed, Kyle’s dad, posted some additional information on Kyle’s FB Wall, this afternoon:

“on Thursday there will be a procession from TaylorS funeral home in Sutton to the OUR LADY OF THE LAKE church in Keswick
 LEAVING AT 1:00 PM FOR kYLE MY SON
we will have a file past the casket before for anyone who wishes to see him for the last time.please come early for that Kyle is gonna ride in the back of his own truck leading the way !
HE IS GONNA ROLL COAL ONE LAST TIME !1
LETS MAKE IT A GOOD SHOW FOR HIM
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH SON !!!”

So, I will say goodbye to Kyle now.  Rest in Peace, child.  I hope that you have found in death what you could not find in life.  Watch over your family and friends until they can see you again, they miss you so.

Borrowed this picture from Kyle’s Facebook page. There were too many to make choosing just one an easy task, but this one spoke to me. I hope it speaks to you as well.

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