The picture of her son was a wallet-sized, high-school portrait from the late sixties. The boy’s hair was painfully dated. His smile was easy.
He was a good kid. That’s what they say.
He and his mother were close. Best friends, even. She was a single mother; he was a mama’s boy.
They were driving home from Atlanta one afternoon. They saw a car stalled on the side of the road.
“Don’t pull over,” she told her teenage son. “We don’t have time. Don’t wanna be late for kickoff.”
In those days, high-school kickoffs ruled the world. Her son was a good fullback. There was even talk about recruitment. Not serious talk, but talk.
Either way, he was a poster child. He had high cheekbones, promise, a sweet girlfriend, good grades.
“I gotta pull over, Mama,” he said.
He veered to the shoulder. He stepped out to help an old man change a tire.
She didn’t actually see it happen. But she heard the old man shout, “Move!”
And out of the corner of her eye, she saw the man jump. Then, a crash. Skidding.
And her boy was gone.
The days that followed were the worst of her life. Not only because he was gone, but because a piece of her had been buried, too.
Someone once heard her say, “I asked God to take me on the day of his funeral. I wanted to give up living.”
But God didn’t take her.
One sunny day, a knock at her door. Her son’s girlfriend. They sat at a table together. They cried big tears. They looked at photos. They held one another.
The girl told her she was pregnant.
And I understand that his mother’s happiness outweighed sadness.
The pregnancy was a normal, joyful one. Still, for each “congratulations" someone offered, an “I’m so sorry" followed.
But babies are immune to sadness. They make people feel warm, no matter…