“When you are sorrowful, look into your heart
and you shall see that you are weeping
for that which has been your delight.”
~ Kahlil Gibran
I’m not sure how else to say this to my son, so I’m writing it here tonight in hopes that he can read it some time in the future. On this day, one of our nanny’s best friends, Justin, passed away at the young age of 24. “Curly,” as he was known to Coen, came to visit frequently, and though Nate and I didn’t know him as well, we know he brought complete and utter joy to our kid. Curly had an amazing spirit. I always enjoyed the days I would come home after work to see his car parked out front, knowing full well that Danielle AND both kids were in the greatest of hands. He always laughed at my lame attempt at “long day” jokes when I poured in the front door, knowing full well his best friend probably just experienced a far longer-feeling day with my two little munchkins. But, he laughed a warm laugh and squinted his eyes and made me feel freaking hilarious. That, and following his ventures with my kids on Facebook, were all I really knew of Curly. But, that is what makes tonight so difficult.
How do you explain to a 3-year-old the concept of death? I suppose you don’t. Or you try to keep him alive through stories and photos, and hope that helps him “remember” what he can about such a cool guy. Curly and Coen had a special relationship. On April 26, Curly “checked in” on Facebook with this update:
Birthday lunch with Danielle, Betsey and her munchkins, and my favorite 2 year old Coen and his new sister Mabel — at Applebees Neighborhood Grill & Bar
When I read this particular status tonight, I bawled my eyes out. They went everywhere together. Curly was Coen’s favorite ride partner at Nickelodeon Universe. I’m sure that Coen loved his positive energy and youthful soul as much as everyone else on this earth did. He felt comfortable with him. His face would light up when Danielle would tell him in the morning that Curly was coming to play that day. He was his buddy. And no 3-year-old should lose a buddy. No 24-year-old should lose a life. Nothing about this is fair. And tonight, this makes me so sad inside.
I hurt for Danielle. I hurt for her family. I hurt for his family. I just hurt, I guess.
As I tucked Coen in to bed tonight, I laid down next to him and put my arm around him and whispered in his ear that we need to say a prayer for Curly tonight. And he replied with, “Yeah.” I said Curly is an angel now and he went to heaven. And he said, “Yeah.” I asked if he understood what I was saying, and Coen said, “Yeah.” I cried silently in his bed, so fully aware that he will not remember this guy he spent so much fun time with over the last 3 years. I worry about the first time he asks about him, even if it’s just once. I don’t know what the right thing is to say in a situation like this. I just know that it doesn’t seem fair and it makes my heart ache.
My sister called tonight and I told her the news. She assured me that Curly will be looking down on our little man now, keeping him safe and making sure he walks the right path through his life. I hope to God she’s right. Because, man, if there is one amazing dude I wouldn’t mind Coen emulating, Curly ain’t a bad choice.
Rest in Peace, Curly. Nate and I thank you from the bottoms of our hearts for being such a sweet soul to our little family. You were a light in my child’s life, and as a mother, there really is nothing more special than that.