No matter! When he got home he plopped down on the sofa next to me with his bag of goodies and asked what my favorite candy was. Why, Reese's peanut butter cups, of course! He began digging around, pulling them out, and sweetly unwrapping and handing them to me, knowing it would be frustrating for my newly one-armed self to try. I tried to stop him, knowing he loved them too, but he was not to be deterred. "What else do you like," he wanted to know. I told him I'd always loved Smarties and Bottle Caps, and again he began pulling them out and unwrapping them for me. That kid stuffed my stomach full of his hard-earned candy until I couldn't eat anymore. He was just a really sweet kid, and he always cracked my mom up.
That's why it makes me so sad to think that though he was enjoying my party ten years ago today, it was less than three years ago that he was killed on his street bike, only 18 at the time. I have seen so many people die before their time, and watched so many friends mourn the loss of a loved one. I always try to remember that the ones called Home early are the lucky ones, while we have to stay here in this shitty world. I know that thought brings hollow comfort to the ones left behind, still envisioning all they had wanted for their dearly departed. That's why I try to keep in mind and pass on two quotes from Harry Potter (where else?) that have brought me immense comfort.
The first is in line with my previous thoughts, when Dumbledore told Harry "Do not pity the dead. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love."
That quote rings so true, and I love it as much as when Sirius Black tells Harry "The ones who love us never truly leave us." That one has proven true time and time again, as I can always feel the comforting love of my grandparents around me, especially if I'm talking to or thinking of them.
I was at my best friend Jaena's parents' house when I noticed her younger cousin Tess had that quote tattooed on her forearm. When I saw the quote, I began tapping the tattoo wildly, excited she had been as affected by it as I had. I love Tess; she's like another little cousin to me, and a lot like me. We were all heartbroken for her when she lost her mother and beloved grandmother back-to-back, right at the time in her life when a girl really needs her mom. That was the only time I've seen Jaena cry, when she lost her aunt and grandmother. Fortunately for Tess, her mom had 3 sisters who have been able to be there for her, but she will always miss her mom.
As I think about Hunter today, if I get sad, I'll try to remember not to pity him, but the mother and sisters left to live without the boy they adored so much. And for their sake, I'll remember that he never truly left them. May God be with them, and all of you as you face life's heartaches and struggles.