At 12:00 a.m. this past Sunday, I turned 35 years old.
When my cell phone rang at 12:01, I listened to my dear friend tell me a six-year-old child had been tragically killed in a car accident.
My life turned so quiet, and a darkness overtook my mind.
My husband and I drove home from work, and I got into the bed without brushing my teeth, and I started crying.
When I woke up the next morning, I was still crying.
I left the house that morning to listen to one of the most beautiful concerts I have ever heard, and my tears continued to flow.
After church, I drove to On the Square to pick up the grieving father’s favorite bottle of wine, “Nero Misto” from Elyse. I also picked up a bottle of white wine called Evolution No. 9 made by Sokol Blosser Winery in Oregon for the grieving mother. I drove to their home where I looked at pictures of their gorgeous red-headed child. One of the things that caught my eye was the card celebrating the child’s loss of her first tooth on February 21st.
My daughter who is one month older than Ava still hasn’t lost a tooth.
I left the house, and I listened to Sufjan Stevens and cried like a baby.
All I could think about was the pain these parents were feeling. When would it end? Would it ever end? How were they going to get through this?
There isn’t enough wine in the world to help heal the pain of losing a child. My hurt wasn’t personal. I didn’t have a relationship with this child, but my hurt was for these two parents who I knew were hurting more than most people can imagine.
That night, my sweet husband had brought some of my all-time favorite wines to open for my birthday. Wines I hadn’t drunk in a decade. Wines that had special meaning to me.
Stephen opened these wines that night. I had lots of family there to celebrate my 35th year. Unfortunately, the juice just couldn’t make me happy. It just couldn’t make me stop thinking about this family who was suffering such a devastating loss.
I went to bed hurt and asking the “why” question over and over again, until I fell asleep.
The next morning when I woke up, the sun was shining. That helped a little bit.
My son woke me up with a big kiss on the lips, and that helped a lot more.
I went downstairs to get ready for my drive to Beaufort, and I looked at the Huet Vouvray Demi-Sec we had opened the night before.
Eleven years ago, that Vouvray was the only Vouvray I knew. I remember serving it by the glass at Wild Blue, the newest restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center that had opened in 1999.
I saw the bottle of the Tomasso Bussola Valpolicella Amarone that I first tasted with my Mark Coleman, my boss at Windows. I remembered how enamored of it I was when the wine first touched my lips.
I will tell you right now I don’t believe there could be anything worse than losing a child. I truly believe that.
I also know that I felt so empty, so alone, so damn angry after September 11th that I thought I would never make it out of that state of deep, deep sadness.
But I did make it. And I have to believe this family will make it too. The Huet Vouvray and the Bussola Valpolicella are wines that reminded me of a happier time. A time where my heart was whole. But these wines also reminded me that I made it through a time I thought I would never get through, a time where my soul hurt so much I cried and cried and cried and cried.
No, there isn’t enough wine in the world to ease the suffering of the Kendall’s loss, but as time goes on, I pray there is enough love and support to lessen the pain.