• 52°

Good-bye to an honorary brother, son

He was a funny kid, a little bit mischievous like my own kids, but he had a way of making you smile. My children and this young man were close in age. All of them, with the exception of my youngest son, were entering their teenage years and were together a lot at one point in their lives.

It wasn’t an easy time for my family because it was a family breaking apart at the seams. Anxiety and uncertainty were the energies stirring in our house most days.

I’d like to say I did a good job of making it easier for the kids, but I was living in a whirlwind of my own emotions. Sometimes, I fear, they got lost in that whirlwind of me trying to survive.

That’s when they learned to cling to each other and to their friends. This sweet, funny boy was one of those friends. Because his parents were friends of ours, we spent time with them, which meant the children hung out as well. I hate to admit, but often times they were on their own.

My daughter claimed him as her “other brother” and they looked out for each other. I remember them laughing a lot.

When the inevitable end came and we finally spoke the word, “divorce,” I’m sure they talked to each other about what that meant. One thing it meant almost immediately was a move for the children and me.

We packed up and started life in a new place. For the kids, it brought new schools and new friends.

Once we settled into a different routine, they lost touch with most of the friends from those earlier days. Occasionally, I’d hear them mention seeing this one or that one. Sometimes, they mentioned seeing their “brother.”

That painful divorce and the move afterwards is a part of my past. More than 30 years in my past. Sometimes it feels like it happened to another person, as if I’m looking back at someone else’s life. I know that is not how it feels to my oldest children and I will always be sad for what they lived through.

However, I’m grateful that for a while they had a friend who was there with them, one who made them smile. This boy was part of their lives through some really frightening, unsettled days. Someone told me their friend’s parents also divorced. I hoped he had someone who was the kind of friend he was to my kids when our family came apart.

After high school and college and marriages, my three oldest children started lives in places other than the towns where they spent their growing up years.

Several years ago, my daughter told me she reconnected with her old friend through Facebook. It was just a hello and seeing where they each landed in life.

The other morning, I got a call from my daughter. I could tell that something was wrong.

“Mother, I just got a Facebook message,” she said. “Scott died.”

There was so much sadness in her voice as she remembered her friend, recalled how she made him her honorary brother.

“I messaged the boys,” she said, talking about her brothers. “I don’t know what happened; just that he died.”

She told me she didn’t know about a funeral. As she talked, I knew she was lost in another time, in reliving long ago memories.

After we hung up, I searched Facebook to find the mother of my kids’ “other brother.” I wanted her to know I was sorry she lost her only child. I don’t know if she got the message I sent. I hope she did.

Funny how people who were close and helped each other through a rough patch find themselves separated. But that is how life works isn’t it.

Even though they went in different directions, I’m grateful that when they needed a friend, my children had their sweet, funny, slightly mischievous friend Scott Kennedy to be that friend.

 

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.