Fast Forward 20 years. We've both had ups and downs and I've mentioned in a previous post how we lost touch for a few years and would bump into each other from time to time and have a quick catch up. Then when I was heavily pregnant with Lettuce, we bumped into each other at the mall. She was buying an iPad for her son Kyle. He was starting high school the following year and the school was moving to iPads instead of text books, and I was slowly pushing a grocery-laden trolley. I remember her saying "Oh my gosh, when are you due?" and I said "12 days ago!!" We just laughed. I gave birth that night!
|We are standing directly below the ball - it's enormous!!|
|The ball at night|
So this morning started out as a beautiful spring morning, but very soon became one of the very worst days of my life. One minute I was finishing up with a bit of admin, promising my rowdy kids that I would hurry and take them somewhere special because they are on school holiday, and the next minute I was speeding towards a hospital, praying for my friend's son's life.
My friend's 16 year old son Kyle had been riding his scooter and was hit by a car. He was rushed to the Flora clinic. A nurse told us that she would keep us informed every 20 minutes and true to her word, she did just that. Firstly she told us that he was undergoing surgery as he had damaged his spleen and it would need to be removed as he was losing a lot of blood. He had also fractured his pelvis and had possible head injuries but these issues would be dealt with at a later stage, the surgeons needed to stabilise him first. We waited and prayed. The nurse came back and told us it didn't look good, we hugged our friend and prayed harder. Then there was some positive news, he was being sewn up and taken to ICU, the immediate family could see him.
The family went upstairs for a long time and when they returned, it didn't look good. We were all in shock. Kyle had not regained consciousness. The doctor called us and we all went up to the ICU where the surgeon told us "there is nothing more we can do, his injuries are too severe and he has lost too much blood." He had no blood pressure and he was being kept alive on the medication that they had given him, but it would wear off. It just didn't seem real. If the doctor's words were foggy for me, I can only imagine what my friend heard as he delivered the words that would rip out her heart and change her life forever. I cringed as my friend asked, how long she had with her boy. The surgeon gave her approximately an hour. How do you say goodbye to your beautiful child? In an hour? How can anyone be expected to do this? She kept asking if the surgeon was sure and he kindly answered each time, that he was very sure, there was no hope of recovery. Each time he said it, it jolted through me.
What struck me was that Kyle was lying there, with tubes and pipes everywhere and his head in a red, steel vice, so there was nowhere for his mother to touch him. His granny held his hand. Words are insufficient to describe the feeling that overcame everybody in that room as his mom lay over him and hugged his lifeless body and his parents, grandparents, uncle and friends said goodbye to this beautiful, precious soul, who has been a part of their family for what must feel like a lifetime. We left the family and shortly thereafter the kind nurse came to tell us that his pulse was fading and minutes later, he was gone.
8 October 2014, the day that started out as a beautiful spring morning, will be emblazoned on this woman's heart forever. The day that she held her beautiful, precious baby boy in her arms for the very last time, told him she loved him and that he was her angel and finally had to say goodbye and leave him in that cold, stark, hospital bed and to go on without him.
How does this strong, fiercely-loving mother go on? Friends and family can hold you, pray for you and with you, but what could ever repair this mother's heart? Parents are not supposed to bury their children for a very good reason, it's not the natural order.
I found this quote and thought it sums it up completely:
Incredibly, life goes on and after leaving the hospital, they had to go home and break the terrible news to Kyle's sister, 10 year old Megan, who was blissfully unaware of the life-changing events that had occurred earlier that day while she was at school.
A lesson to take from this, and I believe there is always a lesson, is that we should not take life for granted, nothing lasts forever and our children are lent to us for a finite time. Live your life to the fullest and enjoy each day that you are blessed to spend with your loved ones, especially your children.
I know that when I got home, I just hugged my BLT (children) close and cried and cried for the hugs that my friend won't ever have again.
R.I.P. beautiful Kyle Shaun Du Preez Lowry
The above blog post was posted on the day of Kyle's death. This has impacted me much more than I had thought possible. Facebook immediately became flooded with images of Kyle and the most heart-wrenching messages from people who cared about him and knew the side of him that was shielded from his family. So many images and stories, that his family hadn't seen before, surfaced. This gave enormous comfort to his mom and sister.
On 14 October we all gathered together at Kyle's school hall to celebrate his life and bid him a fond farewell. 741 people were counted at the memorial service for Kyle. There were many school friends, family and people who knew and loved him. Kyle's life was all about lights and music and his mom arranged for a send off in true Kyle-style with lights, decor and beautiful music.
Gordon Harrison then got up to speak:
Kyle's godfather (and principal of his school) gave the eulogy which was so personal and beautiful. This is what he said:
Being the oldest meant that neither Mom nor Dad had any experience in the ‘baby’ business. From bottles, to changing nappies to feeding. So dear old Kyle was fed, clothed, changed and medicated, sometimes by trial and error. Picture the next scene. Jo-Anne and I were in the room with Kyle, not even a week or so old. I look at this little thing and start thinking that he has a pretty mean tan for a Highveld winter baby. On closer inspection, I see that his skin is a serious tinge of yellow. “Jo-Anne”, I ask with alarm, “does Kyle not look very yellow to you”? “Oh”, she replies, I thought all babies are this colour when they are born. Fortunately, it was a mild form of jaundice and a few days in the flirted rays of the winter sun soon sorted out his tan.
We all have a fond memory of Kyle. Some, shared his passion for motocross. As we were going through photographs these past few days we realised how many motor bikes Kyle rode and just how much he enjoyed it and how good he was at riding.
Kyle's sister Megan was strong enough to read the following poem:
When at first I awake
Your thought is with me
With each decision I make
Since the first breath I took
Now I have to go on alone
But for love, I need not look
In our short time together
Will last in my heart
Forever and ever
And now walk above
I'm never alone
I'm wrapped in your love
Then his mom bravely stood up, took the mic and gave this tribute to her son:
"I am standing here living every parents worst nightmare and I am broken. But I am also the proudest mother anyone could ever be. I have received literally hundreds and hundreds of messages, emails, facebook postings and sms’s these past few days and the love that we have felt has been overwhelming and I thank you all for this and for being here today.
To Kyle, my ratbag, my sunshine and my Angel, you made me so proud. You were the most amazing and brave son, kind hearted loving big brother, gentle grandson and loyal friend and have left a huge hole in so many lives. Your passion for lighting and music will remain your legacy. The Angels in heaven have put down their harps to listen to your ‘deep house’ music and the Upstage flags lowered to half mast in your honour, and I trust that todays event is a fitting celebration for you, and testament to the very full life you lived as we never do things in half measures in our family – there is always drama, lights and music and a production!
The picture behind me is my favourite – you made me so proud with your lighting and told me that night what a cool mom I was and used this pic on all your social media for weeks. I know you had no regrets. You lived and died happy and with passion and I have no doubt in my mind that you are watching and listening to this right now from the sound room with a smile & giving me the thumbs up!
Looking through pictures of your life, you are smiling in every single one. This gives me peace knowing you were a very loved and happy child. And after meeting so many of your special friends who truly loved you, it is an indication of the person you were, as you attract back what you give. And speaking of attracting, it has been brought to my attention this past week just how many girls had a crush on you – even Megan's 10year old friends. Your energy, humour, kindness, and wholesome attitude, along with your need for fixing your hair, stealing my spray tan, eating egg whites and salmon sushi, xxx mints and blue Energades will be sorely missed.
I know that you are always with us and that you have become Taylor, Megs and my Guardian Angel and my only regret now is that Heaven does not have visiting hours.
Thank you for choosing me to be your mom and may you fly with the wind in your wings, music in your ears and know you will always be loved and with us."
After the memorial service we were each given a white balloon on which to write a message to Kyle and send up to him. His grade sent theirs up together. It was so sad but so beautiful.
So as friends and friends of friends say farewell to a beautiful soul, who graced this earth for a very full but very short period of time, his family are left to deal with the massive gap in their lives. The empty seat at the dinner table, his empty room and all of his things. They will be reminded by the "first" of everything without him - the first Christmas, the first New Year, the first birthday without Kyle. And slowly the hurt will fade from a raw wound to a scar that will ache from time to time but will always be a strong reminder of his life and what would have, could have, should have been.
I am sending love and light to his family, especially his mom, who will suffer the most. As mothers we are the very first to feel our baby's energy and then the first to feel the physical movement within our bellies. When we first hold our newborn baby in our arms, we feel an overwhelming connection and we will be connected to our children forever. A mother's love and connection is greater than any other bond. Kyle's mom knew that something was not right on the 8th of October, it was her maternal instinct. That maternal love bond and energy that a mother and child share is not only felt on earth, but for eternity. Kyle's spirit will never fade.
Rest In Peace Kyle