While reading this book I suffered through a miscarriage. At first I had troubles even getting through the main character's loss of her child. My thoughts were at least she had that time with her child, something I might never even get to experience. Once I swallowed that elephantine sized pill of bitterness I really got into the book.
The death of her child brought back memories of the first time I dealt with death. I was a really young child and it was the early 1970's. We didn't wear helmets when we rode our bikes down the street. We were lucky if we even remembered to put on shoes. But we did know enough to always look both ways. Sometimes even knowing the basics won't save your life.
Jonathan was my best childhood friend. He would ride his bike up to my house, which was just up the hill and maybe a quarter of a mile from his own house, to play in the woods with my brother and I almost every day. We were always home when the street lights came on. Jonathon was on his way home one night when a drunk driver ran him down. No helmet would have saved his life. My father and my next door neighbor rushed out of the houses when they heard the tires squealing on the pavement. Mouth-to-mouth was given but there wasn't much face to give it too. He was gone.
After the loss of my friend I gave up on learning how to ride my bike, rather I was still at that point walk/ride it down the road. My parents wouldn't even let me leave the driveway with my bike after I did learn to ride it years later until I was twelve.
From the perspective of a child losing a friend at such an early age is devastating. Jonathan's parents had closure, I can only assume, but I did not until many years later. The wake and funeral were for family only.
Jonathan's younger brother, Adrian, and I would forever after, until his family moved to Pennsylvania, sit next to one another on the bus. Adrian confided in me many things one of which was that his mom and dad were going to have another baby. I asked him how he felt about that he told me he felt like they were trying to replace his brother. Maybe they were in some small way trying to fill that hole that was now in the family? Or maybe they had always planned on having another child? Before the baby was born Jonathan's family had moved and our community had a bigger hole in it, one that would never be truly filled.
Jonathan still remains my best childhood friend because he never got older, he never lived to earn my mistrust as so many people have in my lifetime, he never lived to learn to hate. Jonathan will always be that faded memory of happiness short lived, the one I loved the most.
This post was inspired by the novel Those We Love the Most by Lee Woodruff. Every family has its secrets and deceptions, but they come to surface a tragic accident changes the family dynamic forever.. Join From Left to Write on June 6 as we discuss Those We Love the Most. You can also enter to win a live video chat with Lee Woodruff! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.