2:00am May 18, 2013. Kory Lewis Hunter took his last breath and died peacefully in his bed at the age of 43.
There is no shame in saying that this SUCKS!!!
A healthy strong young man should not have died this way. He should not have gotten brain cancer. He should not have been taken away from his family and friends so soon.
Four years and the pain of loss still sits right under the surface. Always waiting.
The pain doesn’t boil like it once did. Unpredictably erupting and unbearably suffocating. It simmers. Lying in wait for a memory, a song, a smell, a familiar phrase to trigger the tears. The pain of loss does not burn like it once did, but the heat is a constant reminder of what was and is no longer.
Laughing together over an inside joke or a silly story.
Cheering on a new accomplishment.
Crying over hard moments and parenting frustrations.
Arguing over the best decision or plan.
Praying for the safety and health of family and friends.
Organizing and arranging the next adventure.
Everything is experienced now as a solitary parent. That strong and solid counterpart is missing, gone forever. No one to lean into. No one to share with. Most days I am confident in my path and choices. Other days I find myself questioning, “Am I doing this right?” Some days I am simply too exhausted to even contemplate making any choice, right or wrong.
Heartbreak now comes when a new event is experienced, “a first”, a time when I want to lean towards my partner and whisper, “Did you see that?” That shared awe and pride in witnessing the beauty of the family you both created.
In the past four years there have been many FIRSTS. So many questions that have gone unanswered. So many times I have leaned into the absence of my husband. So many times I wanted to ask,
“Did you see that?“
Did you see your daughter memorize and recite her poem in front of the entire school?
Did you watch as she learned how to dive into the swimming pool?
Do you know what a huge heart she has developed for animals?
Have you seen her bake muffins from scratch?
Did you see your son conquer Agony Hill in cross-country?
Do you know what a good and kind friend he is?
Have you seen him ski down the mountain?
Did you know that he loves church and sleep away camp?
Did you see your son started the pole vault team as a freshman?
Did you know he has his driver’s license now?
Have you seen his creative eye for photography?
Can you believe we are looking at colleges already?
I ask these questions through tears, with a broken heart, listening intently for an answer. The answer I already know in my soul is, “YES”.
Yes, he sees. Yes, he hears. Yes, he feels. Yes, he is here.
Before Kory passed he knew that he would be able to watch over us. He told us that he would never leave us, that he would be in our hearts forever, and that is where we carry him.
In our hearts…
On every new adventure
With every accomplishment made
During times of sadness and suffering
Through all life’s laughter and joy
He is in our hearts.
This does not make the loss any less painful and the past four years any less sorrowful, but perhaps it makes his absence slightly more bearable.