I had a nephew named Stephen. He was blond haired, with blue eyes and a great smile. He was funny, sweet and caring. He lived in Alabama and would come visit us in Boston during the summers. I remember the summer of 1996, when I picked him up at the air port. I was driving a 1979 Buick Skylark that was held together by bumper stickers! When we walked out of the airport, Stephen walked to the car beside mine, preparing to get in. I said “Oh, no, my car is over here.” After Stephen got into my car he asked me how much I had paid for the car. I answered “A dollar.” Stephen said, “You got ripped!”
We went to the beach a lot. We flew kites. We talked and cooked bacon because his mother, my sister, wouldn’t let him have it at home. He was the best kid ever. He was my friend. He was a wise old soul.
The summer of 1997 I was pregnant with my second child. Stephen had come out to visit again, but this time did not ask him mother for an extended stay. I thought it was because I was pregnant and grumpy. It wasn’t.
At the airport, dropping him off, I couldn’t stop crying. I had never cried before dropping him off at the airport. I told him I felt like I was never going to see him again. I didn’t. He went home and was diagnosed with a lung disease and passed away that next February i 1999. He was sixteen years old.
At that time, I became very angry at God and the world. I had no compassion for anything save my nephew. He was too young, too good. This couldn’t have happened, but it did. What happened? I stayed angry for a long time. It was not long after that my son went to live with his grandmother. I was devastated.
What happened? I stayed angry and sad for a long time, but time has a way of changing the way you look at things and then my ex-husbands three boys came into our lives. They filled up a space for me for a time, and my own son came for summers and holidays. My step-sons faith in God fascinated me and we talked of these things. The anger seemed to fade into real grief and then was lifted.
I still miss Stephen. I wish we could go to the beach and fly kites again. I wish we could sit and talk the way we used to. But I am not angry the way that I used to be. It says on his grave stone, “We will meet again.” I hope so.