Moms

Life after losing Brian: grief again

Jerry John Garlock & family
Jerry John Garlock & family Photo courtesy of Tammy Garlock

I am no stranger to sorrow…we’re old friends, well acquainted through no choice of my own.

Even so, for as much as I’ve learned about grief and suffering, I am continually surprised by all that is left to discover… There are an infinite number of ways that a heart can be broken…

Some are readily apparent to anyone…others are subtle, less obvious to the casual passerby…

I clearly recall an image of my father-in-law Jerry from June 14, 2008; he is standing beside Brian’s casket, hand resting on the top edge near the flowers; his shoulders are shaking as he tries to say goodbye to B for the final time…

For months I watched silently from the shadows as my mother-in-law begged him to wake up, eat something and talk to her a little bit, the way they used to… “Jerry, you must try harder to get over this, so we can go back to our lives…”

I paid attention whenever he woke up enough to really talk: “One thing I wish I’d done differently, I wish I told the boys I loved them more. They knew it, but I just never said it enough.”

“You know Tammy, at first I had a hard time believing what the doctors told me was happening, but when I was in Baptist last month, I could literally feel my life force slipping away.”

“June, if He lets me, I promise you, I’ll be waiting at the gates for you with my arms wide open…”

I mingled tears and lifted prayers with my sister-in-law Kim as we administered medicine around the clock and did what had to be done…

Jerry John Garlock passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of February 24, 2015, surrounded by his family.

I saw my brother-in-law Mike pat his dad on the chest, utter “Goodbye” and run from the room, emitting an unintelligible, ear-splitting roar of pain from the opposite end of the house…

I held my husband close and cried for him and with him…

Jerry was looking forward to seeing Brian again.

I absolutely believe Brian was there to greet him with his arms wide open, ready to show Granddad to his new room in the Father’s mansion…

I hope it’s an adjoining suite, overlooking heaven’s great fairway in the sky…

Wishing you blessings and hope…tg

On Twitter: @briansmom061208

Tammy Garlock is a mother of three who shares her journey of hope and survival following the loss of her teenage son. Tammy is an advocate for distracted driving education throughout the Charlotte community and shares her story with young drivers and lawmakers alike.

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