ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Giving Sons

Updated on July 10, 2011
Image of my mother with her loving son, Billy, on his wedding day.
Image of my mother with her loving son, Billy, on his wedding day. | Source

A Great Writer

For the first time in my life, I was at a loss for words. This is not an easy thing for a writer. In the past, the words just always seemed to flow. But circumstances were different now.

All the arrangements had been made. The music was selected. And the flowers had arrived. It was time to catch up on some much needed sleep, for tomorrow would be a hard day.

That night, my mother and I checked into a motel. After unpacking our bags, I fell right into bed, totally exhausted, and pulled the covers over my head. My mother lie on the edge of the bed, pillows propped up behind her back, with the night light on, scribbling her thoughts endlessly on paper.

"Mom, what are you writing? Are you going to bed soon?" I asked, half asleep.

"In a little while," she said, flipping another page.

Six or seven pages later, she was finished.

"Mom, what are you writing?" I asked again, poking my head out from beneath the covers.

"I'm writing your brother's eulogy," she replied.

"What? Mom, there's no way you're ever going to be able to read all of that tomorrow. You'll never make it through the first paragraph," I said.

"I can do it," she said. "A mother does what she has to do for her child."

God had taken my younger brother Billy in his sleep at the tender age of 32 for no apparent reason. But then again, it really doesn't matter. The end result is the same.


Searching for Answers

The mere thought of public speaking gives me anxiety attacks. I was panic stricken, knowing that if my mother couldn't finish the eulogy, then it would be up to me. So, the next day, I sat in the funeral parlor rehearsing her lines, knowing that at some point, I would have to pick up the standard. I asked God to give me strength and peace.

"There's no ending," I told Mom.

"I don't have an answer--yet," she replied.

"An answer to what?" I asked.

My mother turned and walked over to her son in the casket. She placed her hand gently on his arm and stood there for a long time as though she were having a private conversation with him. The two of them always were very close. Then she noticed a difference in his face. Something had changed. The smile that had been there for days was gone.

"He looked tired as if to say, 'Mom, it's time. It has been seven days now, and I'm tired. I must go.' Yet, it's hard to let go," she said.

I, too, had noticed the smile on my brother's face. It was as though he had been sent an angel to take him home. Someone he loved. Perhaps, his father, whom he hadn't seen since he was a little boy.

My mother kissed Billy on the forehead. Tears fell from her eyes. Then she walked towards me.

"I know the answer now," she said. "Everything's going to be OK."


Image of my mother hugging my brother, Billy, after he receives the rank of Eagle Scout.  Both my parents were scout leaders.  I also attained the rank of First Class.
Image of my mother hugging my brother, Billy, after he receives the rank of Eagle Scout. Both my parents were scout leaders. I also attained the rank of First Class. | Source

The Answer

After everyone was seated in the chapel, my mother took the podium and began to speak. I sat on the edge of my seat, ready to catch her should she falter.

"I'm doing this because I know that no one else can," she said, looking out amongst family and friends.

The room was so quiet you could almost hear her thoughts. Heads hung low in sorrow as they listened to the pain in her voice.

My mother spoke of life, love and values. She thanked family and friends for being there for her son--for guiding him in the best of times and the worst of times, at home and in his personal life, and at work.

She began: "When I received the phone call that my son had died, I screamed . . . and screamed . . . and life stopped totally for me. Just like you, I couldn't believe this was true. He was too young. It was supposed to be me, not my baby. I begged God to take me and give Billy back in exchange. I asked for mercy, for this not to be true and to let this be a bad dream. But it was not."

Even at my mother's weakest moment, there was strength in her voice. I sat in the front pew next to my sister-in-law, now my sister, with a box of tissues ready to burst.

My mother went on to tell the story of how the women in our family flew to Bermuda, where my brother was living to search for the truth--only to find that, yes, it was Billy.

She told of how he touched the lives of people there and here that he loved, protected and worked with, and spoke of his accomplishments. She described him as a man like his father, whose shoes would not be easily filled.

"Most of all, he was my devoted, loving son, who just called me Mommy, not Mother, just Mommy," she said.

With my hands clasped, I listened to the irony and beauty of her words. Before me stood a woman I admired, a woman of great inner strength, who at age 54 had buried two husbands and now two sons. But most of all, I saw for the first time a great writer, one who had written and delivered a speech that would forever be instilled in the hearts and minds of those in attendence. I was so proud of my mother.

I sat patiently waiting for the grand finale, the clincher, the ending of the story that would offer an explanation for my brother's sudden death. After all, mothers are supposed to know the anwers to everything. I knew she wouldn't let me down.

Then came the punch line that would give us all closure . . .

"Today, as I looked at Billy, I asked God, 'Why did you take my son?" She said. "His answer was 'I gave you mine, can I not have yours?"

First published in the GettysburgTimes in 2001


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Debra Charney profile image
      Author

      Debra Charney 6 years ago from United States

      Lucky Cats:

      Thank you, so much for your kind words. I have endured many loses in my life. My mother and my son are the last of my immediate family members. Perhaps, that is why I love to write first person narratives that recollect years gone by. It is a way of paying tribute to all the people that were a significant part of my life.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Oh My God, Debra. How achingly beautiful are these words. I am floored, truly! So very sorry that you lost your brother...Such a young age he was, and you, as well...to have to endure this. Your mother...a saint. This is a loving and heartfelt tribute to both your brother and your mother. Just wonderful, even in the sadness. Thank you, Debra.

      B,A,U

    • Debra Charney profile image
      Author

      Debra Charney 6 years ago from United States

      Thanks. Unfortunately, I don't have very many good photos to post with my stories because we had a house fire a few years after my father died. Plus, my brother died fairly young, so photos are very precious to me. That is also why I write so many personal narratives. I love preserving all those wonderful memories. It keeps them forever alive in my heart, soul and mind.

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

      Thank you so much for sharing this Hub. I appreciate the photos because when I hear of a person's passing, it is comforting to learn more about them and what they have done and enjoyed in their lives. The best to your mother, to you and your family. You are certainly a beautiful writer.

    • Debra Charney profile image
      Author

      Debra Charney 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you, Caty. And yes, my mother is an incredible woman. She has been a positive role model in all aspects of my life.

    • catydid52 profile image

      Catharine Parks 6 years ago from Niagara Falls, On

      Beautifully written, moving and encouraging for those left behind who one day find eternity facing us - your brother is with the Lord. Your mother is an incredible woman, and mother.

    • Debra Charney profile image
      Author

      Debra Charney 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you both, Sinea and Mike, for voting up and sharing with followers.

    • Debra Charney profile image
      Author

      Debra Charney 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you. And I hope your son is doing well. God always blesses us with inner strength when we need it the most.

    • profile image

      mikeq107 6 years ago

      Great hub and so sorry to read of your loss....Honestly felt like I was there well written.

      Loss is hard but knowing he is with God makes it a little easier.

      Mike :0)

      Voted up and shared with followers!!!!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      What a testimony to the love of your mom and the strength that God can give when we need it most. Voted up and beautiful.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 6 years ago from America

      My deepest sypmthy for the loss of your brother. We almost lost our baby boy 28 at the time I know how terrible it can be. How brave of your mother to be able to talk about her beloved son I could not have done that. When our son was dying I was trying to figure out how I was even going to pick out his casket.

    • Debra Charney profile image
      Author

      Debra Charney 6 years ago from United States

      Thank you. It was a tough subject to write about, but sometimes, the best stories are those written from the heart.

    • tnderhrt23 profile image

      tnderhrt23 6 years ago

      This is a gripping, emotional read. Well done and I offer my condolences, and prayers.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)