Just the other night Mason came in my room and asked if he could hug me. Of course, I never turn down a hug from my loved ones and as we hugged he started to cry. I asked him why he was crying and he said he didn't know, he just felt sad. I didn't ask anymore questions, I just held him a little longer, kissed his head and told him he should go to bed. On his way out of my bedroom I added, "Keep crying if you want, it feels good sometimes to just let it out." With his tear stained cheeks, he half-heartedly smiled and said he loved me. I don't know if he cried some more or not, but it wasn't twenty minutes later that I checked in on him and he was sound asleep.
My darkest hour was back in 2009 when I lost my sweet Riley. I didn't know what to do or how to reconcile my grief. I was heartbroken in a way no man ever affected my heart or soul. To say I was soaked with sadness would not even come close to communicating the depth of my pain. I cried every day for months and all these years later, I still cry if I let myself go back to that time. I suppose we don't teach our kids about dark days because we hope they will never have to feel pain like that, but that is simply not realistic.
Mason was just a little boy when we lost Riley so he didn't all the way understand the depth of my grief but he and I talked about it recently. He noted that the people who said Riley was just a dog probably don't think that young people can have a real love crush. I asked what he meant (I knew, but I wanted him to elaborate) and he said that kids have crushes, they have feelings that make their stomachs tingle, and they get excited when they see each other, those crushes are like kid love. Yes Mason, kid love, or puppy love is what we called it when we had crushes. His point is that early love will invariably lead to young heartaches and learning how to process and manage emotional pain is an important part of nurturing growth. Did you have someone tell you it would be okay in your darkest hour? I did and Mason will, I hope you do, too.