Mere hours after having dinner with his mom he was gone.
Hunter was 21 years old and turning the page on a new chapter in his life. He was putting in the work, facing his challenges, and making choices to live fully. Embracing new relationships and saying yes to things that would help him grow and blossom into the young man his mom knew was stirring and beginning to wake inside.
Bright is not a strong enough word to describe his spirit. He was kind and full of love and compassion. He was sensitive and empathic and smart.
He was also a gift. A gift to this world, but in a very real way to his mama. She had always wanted to be a mother and this desire and wish came true after years of work when she labored and welcomed him into the world.
All children are gifts and miracles. Unfortunately, not all are treated as the miracles they truly are — but Hunter was. His mama loved him fully and fiercely. She always honored the miracle that was him. He was blessed to have her as a mom — and she was as well, to have him as a son.
What do you say to your best friend when one evening they are having dinner with their child and the next morning their child is gone? What do you say when there is no warning? When they are not sick? When it is unexpected? When it is a total shock?
I have absolutely no idea. Words continue to fail me. I have tried and I will continue to try, but to be honest, the words just are not strong enough. We don’t have words that accurately express what I want to say and share. They are never enough.
I can and have said things like: I am so damn sorry. This is beyond awful. I know this hurts more than imaginable. I am going to be here. I’m not going anywhere. He was an amazing young man. You were a wonderful mama. His light was bright and it lives on in so many ways.
More than saying the words — because they just fail me and fail to be enough or right — I have had to just show up. I feel inept and wish I could find the words, but I cannot. It doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying. But, until someone comes up with words that will really help here (and let’s face it, that’s just not happening) I’m just going to keep showing up. I know I’m going to get it wrong sometimes, but I’m going to do my best.
So, dear, beloved friend, I know you have heard this (or variations of this) from me many times in the last month but I will say it again:
I love you. You are my soul sister. I will always do my best to show up and be present with you. I will hold you while you cry. I will make you a meal. I will listen when you want to talk. I will just be with you when you want to be quiet. I won’t try to fix anything because nothing needs to be fixed. But, if you need someone to fix a thing that actually needs to be fixed I’ll be there or help you find that person. You were an amazing mama. While he is not here in body any longer you are still his amazing mama. You are an amazing mama. You are never alone [unless you want to be and that’s permitted, for a short time 😉 ].
Aside from just being a friend and sister, the other thing I want to share is a remembrance of one of the most important lessons of this lifetime for me. And, I am sharing this remembrance with you as you have said that you would like to hear about how Hunter’s life and passing have been seen and honored.
With Hunter’s passing, I have been deeply reminded and present to the truth that every moment is a gift. It is something I have always known, but as life flows and time passes and hard times come it is easy for me to forget this sometimes. I lose sight of the gifts in the moment. Of how blessed I am.
Hunter has reminded me again to embrace this life I have as the gift that it is.
His life was a gift. He was a gift to you. Your time with him was a gift. Every experience you had with him, every moment — a gift. What a blessed life you had with him. And, while you will always want more moments, more experiences with him, more time — I see that what you had together was a divine and glorious gift.
I have been reminded and have taken to heart in a new way and on a deeper level (that I will try to never lose sight of again) that every moment is a gift. My life is a gift. The relationships I have with those I love are a gift.
Every dinner together — a gift.
Every hug — a gift.
Every dream shared as we gather around the fire — a gift.
Every stroke of the pen or the paintbrush — a gift.
Every chord sang or strummed — a gift.
Every day, every moment, every breath — a gift.
So, dear friend, I want to thank you for being the gift that you are in my life. For allowing me to bear witness to the gift of your love for your son. For allowing me to show up for you and with you, which allows me to become a better human.
Hunter, thank you for sharing of yourself in this lifetime. Thank you for sharing your kind heart and gentle spirit with us for the time that you did. Know that your mama is held and cared for with and in love by so many. Know that even though you are no longer here with us in your human form that your spirit lives on in many ways. And, in one very real way you have gifted me with the remembrance of how precious this gift of my life is. I will always be grateful and I will do my best to honor this gift of remembrance you have given me.
While the religious and spiritual beliefs expressed in this song, Go Rest High on That Mountain, may be different than those held by some in our community, the spirit of this song is what shines through when I think of Hunter. He faced pain that we could not know, but did the work that his soul was meant to do here. May he rest in love with the angels.
This post is also a part of The Anchor email series, which we’re sending out to help provide you support and grounding and hope during this challenging time. If you’d like to receive The Anchor in your inbox a few times a week, you can sign up here.