It’s Not About Knitting

**Two warnings:  1.  This post will not be the one I had planned to write today and as the title states, it will not be about knitting.  2.  This post will contain references to suicide, addiction, and grief.  If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, suicidal ideation or addiction or grief due to those types of losses, you may wish to not proceed.**

It begins with an amusing story from long ago, which at the time, as the parent of a teenage boy, I didn’t find quite so amusing.  It was about 3 AM on Christmas Eve in 2011.  Our home phone rang, (remember those?), rang waking me.  My daughter, home from college, had gone out with friends and so my mind quickly filled with all types of tragedies that can beset young people out late at night.  But when I answered the phone, it was my son’s voice that greeted me.

“Mom, I fucked up,” sixteen-year-old Mason said.  He proceeded to tell me that he had been pulled over by the police in our town.  I was confused.  Mason wasn’t supposed to be out.  His sister was to have picked him up from his parttime job and bring him home because Mason didn’t have a car.  Mason didn’t have his driver’s license, only a learner’s permit and was scheduled to take his exam after the holidays.  Before I could ask any more questions, the policewoman who had pulled him over got on the phone.  It seems she had been heading home after her shift when she encountered an SUV driving towards her with its headlights off.  Pulling the vehicle over, she discovered the unlicensed driver was my son and the car was registered to my husband.  She also mentioned that there were two other teenage boys in the car and one of them had been trying to conceal a pipe with illegal substance residue under the seat.  Joey and Connor, two of Mason’s friends since elementary school, were along for the ride.

After a few moments of discussion, it was decided that my husband and I would come and bring the boys and the car home.  So that is what we did, my husband driving home Joey and Connor in his car and me driving home a very contrite Mason.

The rest of the holiday break was not as fun as any of us had planned.  I’m not sure who was more miserable, my husband and I who had to enforce the consequences or Mason, who was grounded, lost all access to the internet, and had to delay taking his driving test.  But we got through it and over the next few years, this escapade became just one more entertaining story, as most teenage pranks do.  

Six years later, we lost Mason to suicide.  He was twenty-two.  

Joey came to Mason’s memorial service, looking so grown-up, he had to tell me who he was because I didn’t recognize him.  When I told him I was going to mention the car story in my remarks, Joey looked a bit sheepish at the memory.  I told him it was a story that made me smile and a memory I was glad to have.  

Three years later, we lost Joey.  He was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of twenty-four.  I would learn that he had been working as a park ranger at the very park where we held Mason’s service.  Knowing the crushing grief that comes from losing a child, I reached out to his mom, Robin.  We’ve become good friends, frequently taking walks together in the park where Joey worked.  A park where there is a bench in Joey’s memory and a tree planted for Mason.  A fellow knitter, Robin was a test knitter for my first design, Anchors Aweigh.  A pattern designed in honor and memory of Mason.  Besides talking about knitting or books, we also reminisce about our sons and often think back that long ago Christmas Eve and smile.

But the story isn’t making me smile today.  Today, it’s breaking my heart.  I learned today that we lost Connor.  He was twenty-seven.  

It happened last week, and the details are vague.  Social media posts allude to suicide, or an addiction relapse that ended badly.  It doesn’t really matter, accidental or otherwise, the result is the same, Connor is gone.  A talented musician, I last saw him a few years ago at an event where his band played.  My heart goes out to his family and to his young daughter left behind.

This post isn’t about knitting, but I will be doing plenty of that after this is posted as it is my way of coping with stress, anxiety, and grief.  I will knit and I will cry as I remember those goofy teenaged boys of twelve years ago and their young, promising lives that ended much too soon. 

**If you or someone you love is struggling, please call 988**

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