Some friends of mine (actually, my sister-in-law and her parents) lost their only brother/son to a massive hemorrhage/stroke. He had a beautiful girlfriend, and he had already bought the ring to become engaged. His parents were holding it for him. He and his dad were on the verge of buying a restaurant. He was 33.

Of course there were the usual murmurings about drug use causing the hemorrhage, but his family insists that was not so, and that he was checked for that. He did have a history of heavy drinking, and he had a hectic life managing two bars/restaurants in a resort town, St. Simons Island. He also had a history of high blood pressure and not being compliant with his medications.

After the hemorrhage he laid in an ICU unit for a week with no brain activity, until his family decided to let him go. His father insisted the young man would hate them if they allowed him to live a life as a vegetable. And that was likely true. He was a vibrant, larger-than-life individual. When they had his memorial service, they rented a hall at Epworth-By-The-Sea on the island for seating for 1,000 people, and it was standing room only. He knew everyone and had touched so many lives.

Sometimes my son & daughter posts notes to me on Facebook, and the family of the young man see them. Sometimes they comment how lucky I am to have them, etc. I know what is in their minds, because it is in mine, too. My son and daughter, who we all just knew would wind up dead because of their addiction, now have happy, healthy lives, and their child, who had a bright future waiting for him, is now dead. They can’t help but think it’s not fair.

It doesn’t make sense to me, either. I am grateful for my children’s lives, but heartbroken for the other family. It is hard to talk to them, especially my sister-in-law. They are still grieving over her brother, and will for a long time. He was the apple of his parents’ eye, and adored by his two older sisters.

I feel guilty when I write or say something positive about my children, and what is going on in their lives, so I’ve learned to avoid that topic around that family. Their son always, always comes up in conversation, and I’ve run out of things to say about him – I didn’t know him that well. It’s very awkward. They have all changed in profound ways, some good, some not so good. There’s a bitterness that they try to hide, but are not very good at it.

The best I can do is pray about my gratitude that I have my children, and pray for the other family to make it through their grief.

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