We were given Austin's yearbook this week. I don't even know if I have the words to express what feelings came over me, holding it in my hands.
As I looked down at the front cover and read "Class of 2012," I realized it was yet another milestone of his that we will miss. The tribute page to him, and another child gone too soon, was beautiful but the rest of the book just brings me sadness to look through it. Each page is filled with moments and memories that Austin didn't get to be a part of. The happy smiles of his classmates and friends, just bring me tears because my heart aches for the missing photos of Austin.
I look through the book and wonder how his high school years would've been. What would have been his favorite class? teacher? memories? What moments would we have been proud of for him - would he have excelled in school or with sports? Who would he have taken to his first school dance, his first date? How handsome would he have been in cap and gown, ready for the next chapter in his life. And then, so many thoughts of his future and what he would have chosen to be. As much as I know I shouldn't sit and dwell on these thoughts, a mother can't help but do so. I had the same wishes and dreams for him when he was here and it is hard to let them go now that he is gone. His future is not what I had hoped for, or at least the timing of it.
I graduated with the mother of the other son who passed last year from Austin's school. He died in a motorcycle wreck just two months before Austin. Strangely enough, the boys grew up together. For a couple of years they were neighbors. I remember Austin going over to his house to play and the boys playing together in Austin's tree house. Who would have ever thought that seven years later I would reconnect with his mother because we both lost our sons? It is just such an odd coincidence. As I've mentioned before, I am finding more and more of my graduating class who've suffered, or are currently in pain, from the loss of a child.
When we graduated all those years ago, our minds were filled with dreams of the life we would have. All of us were so ready to take on the world, to be grown-ups and all that it brings - jobs, marriage, families. None of us envisioned this sadness and pain we would all someday face. It just shows me how little control we have in our futures, how short and sweet life is, and how much we should treasure every single moment.