He was only 20 yrs old.
Although my friend and I have never sat down together over a cup of coffee, or glass of wine; never spent an afternoon strolling through the mall picking out new shoes for each other; never sat on a park bench gossiping, while our kids played on the swings ... it doesn't, in any way, diminish the fact that I call her my friend, and that my heart is breaking for her and her family, today.
This Internet world we live in, has introduced us to many new evils in our generation; but it has also delivered the power to bring people together.
People who never would have 'met', had they not ended up following the cyber trails that sometimes force our paths to cross.
On this day, I wish I could be with my friend, and her family, as they try to get through what can only be the most difficult day of their lives.
I wish I could hold her hand, wipe her tears, hug her close and just make everything right again.
Unfortunately, some people just don't get it.
They don't get how someone who lives only in a computer, can be considered a 'friend'.
Don't get how you can feel their pain, share in their anguish, if you don't 'know' them. Have never seen or physically touched them.
Those people who think that way, those who just don't 'get' it are wrong.
Oh so very WRONG!
I have grown to know, and care for my friend through her words.
Through her descriptions of her family and their adventures, and love for each other, she brought me into her world and made me care about them too.
I worried about her dad's heart condition, I fretted over her husband's injured hand, I was nervous when her son was being deployed, and cheered when her other son got his braces off and feel proud that he's doing so well in his recent track meets.
I may not be close enough to be able to walk across the street to borrow a cup of sugar from her, but dammit, I DO care about her, and her family.
Just over a week ago, I read the news about the death of my friend's son.
At the time, I was in shock. It was completely unexpected. Simply incomprehensible.
And now, on this day, she buries her child.
And profound sadness replaces my shock.
No mother should have to do that.
The first time my friend and I spoke over email, she said I made her cry.
I certainly didn't mean to. Way to go, Kim, ya dork!
We had started reading each other's blogs.
I decided to contact her, outside the blog, after she'd written a post about her two boys, and how close they were.
Reading her words made me long for my own boys to have a relationship like theirs.
Somehow, through her words, I didn't see the bickering, teasing, and just 'being jerks' to each other that I see so often in my own two boys.
Because of the closeness her boys shared, it reminded me of a song, which I decided to send to her.
What I didn't realize at the time, was that her son was in the air force, or that this song would hold as much meaning as it did.
Because it reminded me of her boys, I sent her the song 'Brothers' by Dean Brody.
Because it reminded her of her boys, it made her cry.
Some of you who have been visiting the Korner for awhile, may know my friend.
You may remember me encouraging you to participate in her Organ Donation Raffle.
Or you may have checked out her blog when I guest posted for her on a Morbid Monday.
Her name is Hallie, from the Wonderful World of Wieners.
She is a wonderful person.
A great mother, wife, daughter and friend to MANY.
And she is my friend.
And I wish with all my might I had the words to take away her sorrow, or the power to bring her son CJ back.
But I can't.
All I can do, is share in her pain, and offer her my sincerest words of condolence.
Which of course, seems like very little, in the big scheme of things.
On this day, I'm hoping my friend, Hallie, as well as John, Connor, and their entire family, know that I'm thinking of them.
And I hope she knows ... and more importantly, BELIEVES that CJ is watching over them, having traded his air force wings for his angel ones.
And that he's got those wings wrapped tightly around them.
On this day, please take a moment to remember a wonderful young man you didn't know.
If only for a moment.
Remember his mother, who is having to say goodbye to a huge piece of her heart, her being, her soul.
Her little boy.
Please take a moment to remember, what none of us mothers should ever have to even think about.
On this day, please remember this mother, and every other who has had to outlive her child.
Because, but for the grace of God, any one of us could be that mother.
RIP CJ Twomey.
You were loved by a wonderful woman, a great family.
On this day, and always.
(Not the original video, but given CJ's profession, I thought it appropriate)
Be sure to visit Hallie's Wonderful World of Wieners, to read the beautiful tribute written to CJ, by two of Hallie's close friends, Kimmy & Dayna.
UPDATE: If you would like to see where the boys and I were honoured to scatter CJ's ashes, four years later, you can do so, here: Scattering CJ and Remembering Rehtaeh at Peggy's Cove