This week, our MPS community was utterly and completely shocked and devastated by the loss of an amazing young man, Tucker. And for so many people in our little family, this passing has been yet another sobering reminder….no matter what we’re told when our children are diagnosed, we just never know how it will go, or when our child’s time will be up.
One day can be a perfect, sunny day spent hanging out as a family and cuddling, and the next morning it can all be over.
And on Tuesday morning when I woke up and saw that this is what happened to a young man beloved the world over, all the breath left my body. I felt sick. I was in total disbelief. And I have no doubt in my mind that this was the reaction of so many who read the very same thing.
Because in our community, every loss is our own loss. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and this is taken literally in our MPS family. We share intimate details of our lives with each other that we may not share with anyone else, we go to each other for advice on deeply personal and difficult medical and life decisions for our children. We build real world bonds with other families and adopt them as just that…our very own families.
Tucker was not my child, but I loved him as if he were. And you’d be hard pressed to find a parent in our “family” who didn’t feel personally connected with Tuck, regardless of whether or not they had the opportunity to meet him in person. We watched him grow up, we saw his accomplishments, we support him and his family through their struggles, and we felt like we were part of his life because of it. And we were. That love is real, and deep, and true. And now, the grief we feel in his leaving is equally as real.
Tucker was not my child, but I cried an ocean of tears for his passing. I have tossed and turned at night wondering if his mommy and daddy and brother are sleeping and eating and taking care of themselves. I have racked my brain trying to think of ways I can be of help to them in this time of complete and total devastation. I have selfishly cried knowing that I will never again receive the wettest, most innocent kisses a child could ever cover your face with, I will never again see those “soul eyes” that tell you everything his words could no longer say, I will never watch his family look at him with more pride than I think I’ve ever seen someone look at another person. That is all gone now. And that just seems impossible.
The funeral is over, but the grieving of this amazing boy, our Tuck….that will be forever. As an MPS family, it is now our duty to carry Jason, Casey, and Dylan into the next phase. We will need to listen when they don’t have the words to explain how broken they feel, we will need to help them carry the torch that is Tucker’s legacy forward by always remembering and honoring his beautiful life, and we will do this with hearts full of love and understanding, with pride and deep gratitude for having had the honor of being part of the life of Tucker. Because we are a family, and family is forever.
Jason, Casey, and Dylan. We are here. We will always be here. You will always be a part of this family. Thank you for bringing Tucker into our lives. It was truly a privilege and honor to watch him grow, to know him, and to love him. Lean on us now. We will carry you when you when you feel you just can’t take another step, because we love you and that’s what family is for.