Feb. 7, 2022

What If Tomorrow Never Comes

What If Tomorrow Never Comes

So many times we are told that we should grieve, move on, and live our lives as if nothing has happened. However, when you lose someone that has been a part of your life, you don't forget about it...you don't quickly move on. And, a lot of times I don't think people mean any harm by making the statement, they just hate to see you grieving and want so badly for you to be okay.

I remember the day like it was yesterday. I called my son on the phone at 7:00pm on Thursday evening, June 14, 2018. He was visiting a family friend so we only chatted for a little while. He was in such good spirits. I was glad that he was having a good day. I told him I would talk to him later because we were planning for my birthday in four days. I proceeded to get ready for bed and as soon as my head hit the pillow the phone rang. It was the call that no mother wants to receive. You know the one that begins, this is the City of High Point Police Department.

"Is this the mother of Byron Slade?" I answer yes. "Ma'am we are sorry to inform you that your son has been in a car accident and is being transported to the trauma unit at Baptist hospital. You should leave now to meet the ambulance at the hospital." Of course I had more questions, but I didn't want to waste any more time. The police had also called my ex who came by to pick me up. It's probably a good thing that he did because I was a wreck; no pun intended. I prayed all the way to the hospital.

We get to the hospital and are directed to the waiting room where we waited for what seemed like hours although it was only thirty minutes. When we are escorted to the room, there he lays, connected to life support. My heart sank. We were told that his vitals were good. He was warm to touch, but there was no movement of any kind. There were nurses and doctors in and out of the room and the only information they would give is they were running tests to determine the amount of damage to his head because of the impact. I sat there all night singing and talking to him. My ex went to pick up our other two children to bring them to the hospital.

The next day I called my sisters and they also came to be with me at the hospital. We are all in the room when the doctor comes in and performs one final test on his brain. He explained that this is the last test to be performed to determine brain function. At the conclusion of the test, he looked at me and said, "I'm sorry, Byron is gone." The trauma to his head was so severe that his brain detached from his brain stem. In other words, he was brain dead. I remember falling in the chair beside the bed and crying. So many conflicting feelings. I didn't understand why my first-born son was gone. I couldn't imagine how my other son and daughter were feeling with the loss of their best friend. There were so many thoughts running through my head and yet I was not thinking at all. I stayed there for a while holding his hand before leaving to go home. I just couldn't believe that he was gone.

We never get over a loss, but God graces us to live beyond it. Every day really does get sweeter than the day before. I miss my son terribly, but I know longer remember the sadness of the day he left us, I remember the laughter he brought into our lives. I remember his kind and compassionate spirit. I remember how easy it was for him to love.

His death changed my life in so many ways, but mostly it changed my perspective on life. What if tomorrow never comes? How are we living our lives today to prepare for an unknown tomorrow? Are we living or are we just existing? Do we really love or are we just in a habit of saying I love you until we do it without thinking about what it means?

l am now living the life God intended me to live; intentionally and on purpose. I am learning to live in the moment and to slow down enough to enjoy the journey. I am no longer taking life for granted or treating it like it owes me something. I am making the most of this precious gift and enjoying every moment because what if tomorrow never comes.

Byron O'Neal Slade - July 18, 1988-June 15, 2018 - Asked for so little, but gave so very much. Forever in our hearts.