Now I think I can write about what was haunting me earlier. Brice's son - who is also named Brice. He about 13 years old and just an absolute rock. So mature, so sweet -- so hauntingly calm. God, I could just identify with that eerie calm.
I think kids that are thrown into adult situations early in life with no other kids around, grow up really fast. And tonite, I think I was watching a 13 year old going on 45.
I had already heard that on Wednesday evening around 8pm, the air was turned off on Brice Sr., but he managed to keep breathing on his own until 1am Thursday morning. The whole time, Brice Jr., stood calmly by the bed holding his father's hand.
Tonite I watched Brice Jr., as he made his way around the room where the viewing was held. No one acknowledged him that I saw - he simply looked at the various people and walked to the various pictureboards of his father. At one point he was by himself in the hall looking at the book where all the visitors had been signing. For the first time since I had been there, the hall was empty. At that point I approached him and asked if he was Brice. He said he was and I told him how fantastic his dad was and I was so sorry for his loss. He had such a serene look on his face and said, "It's ok" so politely.
I know on some level he resolved himself to his father's approaching death, and I know some won't agree with me, but it was good he had every possible moment with his father to the very end. Speaking from experience, that will be best. You never remember even what classes you were taking in school but you always remember in vivid detail every moment of those last days with the person you love so much.
It's weird because it seems like as a kid you are emotionally stronger -- or maybe just better at keeping the facade up. As you grow up, you find the oddest things can set you off emotionally. People around you always try to give helpful advice like, "You need to find a way to deal with that. It's been years since they died."
I know in their own way they are meaning well, but unless you've been a kid confronted with the enormity of the impending death of a parental figure, watching the ups and downs of each day, taking on more responsibility than anyone at that age should have to bear, and the ensuing visitation, funeral, etc., no one can truly understand what it does to you.
In the eyes of the law you may be a kid, but the childhood is left far behind. For that reason alone, I wish so much that there was one particular little boy tonite that could have stayed a kid a while longer.