Mother of two. Daughter Erin is Sean’s younger sister. Faith, family and friends are what helped our family cope with the most devastating of losses. Over time, reading countless passages about grief. Probably the best quote I have come across to describe it is this: “Grief never ends … but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a weakness nor a lack of faith … it is the price of love.”
My son, Sean Kendrick Mecham, died ten years ago today at the age of 28. He had contracted sepsis and was not able to overcome it. After 30 hours in the hospital, he left this earth for a better place. It seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago, all wrapped into one.
Sean never did anything in slow fashion. He arrived three weeks prior to his due date, weaned himself at four months of age and never walked, but ran. He loved sports, particularly soccer, snow skiing, jet skiing, mountain biking and dirt bike riding. All, of course, at full throttle. Strong willed from the moment he entered this world, he could be as challenging as they come. But he was also protective of those he loved. He had a wicked sense of humor, and as a teenager, he would often blurt out something hilarious, maybe not totally appropriate and of a nature that should possibly require a reprimand by his dad or me. At the same time, it might be so outrageously funny, you had to turn away as not to let him see you laughing. But I know he always caught me, and he’d let me know it.
When we received the call from the hospital that fateful evening, telling us we’d better come (eight hours from our home), I never imagined we would never see him as we had known him again. They waited to put him on the ventilator until we arrived, and his body continued to deteriorate. His physicians ultimately gave us the news every parent fears. Obviously, the most devastating of blows. To this day, I don’t think we could have overcome the loss like we did without the outpouring of love and support from our family and friends near and far. It made the unbearable a little more tolerable.
When Sean’s death was imminent, the chaplain at the hospital said to me, “God gave Sean to you for the time he was to be here. You now, as his parent, are lifting him back to God.” It was such a heartbreaking statement, but an honor at the same time and comfort at a moment it was so deeply needed.
I remember reading a piece from an article my brother sent not long after Sean had passed, by a parent who had lost their child. We know you never “get over it”, nor should we, but it stated that our world with this loss is our “new normal”, and it struck me how true this is. Nothing will bring our son back, and this has become our “new normal”. And so it has. The pain has eased with time, but the hole in our heart remains. I feel I speak for all parents of loss when I say above all, we don’t want people to forget our children … just don’t forget them.
I so miss Sean’s hearty loud laughs, his bear hugs .. almost too hard sometimes … and his jokes. These traits of my son will forever be part of me.