A mother isn’t supposed to outlive her children

From my journal dated August 6, 2002:

I remember when one of the managers/owners of the hardware store where Jason worked died. His mother said to me (at the funeral), “A mother isn’t supposed to outlive her children.” My mind sort of understood what she was saying then…now my heart really understands it from experience.

Jason started working at the hardware store the summer he turned 15. I remember thinking how much he needed something to do that summer. He was so full of energy, sharp, fun-loving.

When I’d go pick him up from work, more times than not he’d get in the car and start off with, “George (or someone else) said the funniest thing today” or “The funniest thing happened today.” And then he’d recount the story of what had happened. He loved to laugh, saw the humor in so many situations. I looked forward to picking him up and hearing about his day. Such a people person. He took such pride in doing a good job.

He used to get a kick out of Doug’s little boy who would come in and set up forts in the dog food bags or play some kind of game in the aisles! The little guy would move around inventory just to have fun…and then involve “the guys” (employees) in his fun. Jason loved it!!

Three brothers owned and operated the hardware store. The middle one, Mike, handled the hay, which was one of Jason’s job, so Jason worked with him quite a bit. He became Jason’s favorite. Mike was diagnosed with cancer and was successfully treated, it appeared. But then it came back with a vengeance.

Jason worked with Mike on a Friday…and then by Sunday he was gone. He was working when a family member came in to tell George that Mike had died, so Jason heard it right along with George. It was Jason’s first experience with someone close to him dying.

I remember how concerned Jason was about George after Mike’s death. He had such insight and empathy. He and I talked about trying to treat George as normally as possible, going about the daily work and talking to George just as he usually would. He kept on trying to connect to George, trying to figure out how if there was something he could do help him. One day they started talking about Jason acting in “Our Town”, a common interest since George’s son had acted in the same play. It gave them a connection, a platform of common interest on which to build a friendship. Jason ended up being really fond of George…and vice versa.

And now Jason is the one gone.

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