We had been away for a couple days visiting colleges. Our oldest, who is 17 is entering senior year and the college application deadlines are looming before us. Decisions will be made in the upcoming months that will have a life changing effect on our family, changing our family forever in a good, but different way.

While we were in Rochester I received word that another part of my extended family was coping with news on the opposite end of that spectrum. They  are dealing with an irreparable change to their family. My cousin and his wife lost their 23-year-old son. He was struck by a car and killed walking home, probably after a night out with friends. The breadth of this tragedy I cannot understand. While he lived in Florida and I did not know him well personally, my heart breaks for my cousins and their remaining children. It is the tragedy that no parent wants to face, the death of their child — no matter the age of the child.

It reminds us that life is precious and fragile. It is a gift that we have, for as long as we have it, and in the blink of an eye, it can be taken from us. While we can often be aggravated by our children or annoyed with our spouse — we need to remember that all of that, all of the mundane aspects of our daily existence, pales in comparison. Who wouldn’t trade most anything for another day with a loved one, another chance to argue, to perform the mundane tasks of life together, to sit and enjoy a conversation or a laugh?

Maybe you can say that as a result of this news and this tragedy, I will dote over my own boys just a little more and worry even more than I do — stressing to drive carefully and pay attention — but that is the natural maternal reaction; gather the cubs closer, protect them. Be thankful and feel blessed that you are lucky enough to have those you love around to dote upon and yell at. Multiple times every day, there are parents in this world who have had that taken from them, in the blink of an eye with the last beat of a heart, like my cousins.

My heart breaks for their loss.

Rest in Peace Michael………