January 9, 2012

"Sweet Absolutes"

*Photo of Riley Rawlins

Life is filled with what we think are “sweet absolutes”. We all think one day we will move out of our parents’ home, get a job, get married, have kids and then those kids can take care of us.

We think to ourselves, if we do the right thing, nothing bad will happen.

Then in one instant, just a brief flash that only takes milliseconds, those “sweet absolutes” can be ripped away and our lives are forever changed.

I have stared at Facebook, off an on, since Saturday evening, looking at the words;

“What’s on your mind?”

No one wants to hear what is on my mind right now.

I’m angry, to put it mildly. I am angry. I’m sorry, I can’t deny that, and I can’t pretend. I am angry that a 17 year old boy, minding his own business was taken away from his mother and family because someone couldn’t be bothered to wait for a red light!

Saturday afternoon I spoke with Monica and we discussed Riley’s plans for after high school. Riley planned to join the Marine Corp.

Little did either one of us know – the real danger was in his own backyard.

I want to tell this woman what kind of young man she took from this world. I want to scream it in her face until I can’t scream anymore!!

Riley never hurt anyone or anything! Riley was such a kind and loving young man – the kind of kid we all wish for in this world. When, Monica, or anyone around Riley hurt, he hurt. Riley could even recognize when I was trying to hide my own particular issues. Let me tell you, it is a surreal moment when a 14-15 year old gives you advice – and it makes you say, “Why didn’t I think of that!!! You’re right!!” How many 17 year olds do you know that still call their mothers, “Mamma”. I used to pick on Riley about that.

God, how I wish I could pick up the phone and hear him say that to Monica now.

When I moved from Monica’s in Dallas, to my new life in Ohio, never did I even consider Riley not being here. As I sit here now, my brain tells me all of this is true, but my heart wants desperately to hear it's not.

As a rule, this blog is cathartic. I type and put my thought into print, and release them to the “universe”. The thoughts and opinions are out of my head. This time, there is no release. As I sit here now I have no more answers than I had when I started writing this.

This should not happen. No parent should ever have to say good bye to their child, especially over something this senseless.

So, I sit here. Wishing with all my heart and soul there was something I could do to ease the pain of my best friend, Monica, knowing I can’t.

For all of you out there with “sweet absolutes,” go home tonight and give them a hug. If they told you this morning, they hate you because they couldn’t have Lucky Charms and instead you forced them to eat oatmeal – forgive them. Tell them you love them, no matter how much they will hate you tomorrow, or the day after that. Hold your “sweet absolutes” close to you and hug them;

take a few seconds to memorize and feel how unconditional that love is.

There are no warnings.

Riley Rawlins touched my life in a way, very few people ever have. Rileys infectious smile, laughter and genuine love for everyone around him - touched every person he met be they young or old. The loss of someone this special is tremendous.

I will forever carry Riley in my heart and I will think about him every single day for the rest of my life.

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  • At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Eric Altman said…

    Amen Mel, amen

  • At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Pat McWhorter said…

    Truer words have never been uttered Melissa! What a tragic loss!

  • At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I didn't know Riley or Monica, but when I heard the news I was crushed. 20 years ago this April I lost my best friend Rob to a drunk driver. He was 22 and I was 26, but to look at him you'd think he was Riley's age. Just to think that there is another family and circle of friends that has to go through what I went through and what Rob's family and other friends went through just kills me. And I can tell you the passage of time doesn't dull it all that much...
    Steve Hyde

  • At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    .......Beautiful. Lonny

  • At 3:32 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Thank you for saying everything I wanted to say.

  • At 11:18 PM, Blogger Henry May said…

    I am hurting for Monica at this point, Mel, and hope she will be comforted by her family and friends. Great post, Mel.

  • At 7:33 AM, Blogger Billy said…

    Great words Melissa, very well done! I wish I could have met Riley.

  • At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yoou truly have my sympathly. I lost a son when a deer jumped in front of his car and he swerved and slowed then another car cam over the hill and around the corner and hit him head on. I felt the whole thing even tho I was 90 miles away. You never get over it you just learn to live with it. My grandson on the anniversary of 9-11 drank too much and never woke up, another 9-11 victim. So you have my sympathy. I can tell you this, that the spirit lives on and we will be together again, and having died once and was returned I can vouch for this


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