Later Mom

By Kay • February 8, 2016

Today is Saturday, February 6th. I remember well Saturday February 6th, 1988. This was the saddest day of my life. Little did I know when I woke up in the morning that this day would change my life forever.

It was a very cold day on that Saturday. I woke up early thinking about my Dad. It had been two years since his death on this very date. I remembered my Uncle Mel who had also died on February 6th a few years before Dad. On February 6, 1990 my Uncle Fred also passed on.

I got up and dressed. I'd remembered the year before on February 6th. I was feeling down. I'm an only child and my Mom had died many years before. Somehow, when Dad died I felt like an orphan. This was an odd feeling. I know it seemed strange to feel like this considering I had my own family, but I did.

I knew the hotel in the town where Dad lived was having a party in memory of him this day. I smiled thinking about all the funny stories they would be telling. Evidently the year before had been such a success that they were doing it again. I wanted to be happy too in memory of Dad.

When Todd came up from his bedroom I told him, "Last year I wasn't too happy on this date. Let's make this a special day in memory of Grandpa. Why not do something that you've never done before." Todd agreed.

This year I had been reading Dr Norman V. Peale's books a lot and had started to have a change in my thinking, so instead of being down, I decided to think in a positive way this day.

I asked Todd what he wanted to have to eat that night. He said he'd like baked chicken. I got the chicken out of the freezer and put it in cold water in the sink.

Todd grabbed the kitchen phone and started making calls. It was very cold. As I recall it was 17 degrees. I was busy in the kitchen, so I overheard Todd's conversations. He was trying to find guys to go sledding with him. I can still hear him saying, "I know it's cold, but it'll be fun!" Although we were going to go skiing the next day Todd had never gone sledding. I thought that was a great idea to try something new in memory of Grandpa.

Todd and Brandon had a very close relationship. Brandon was only 2 1/2 at the time, but he thought he needed to go everywhere with Todd. That day was no different. Todd came upstairs. He was all ready to go. He had his new red ski outfit on with red face mask in his hand. Brandon heard him about to leave and came running. "Todd, Todd!" I can still see him holding his little arms up, tears running down his face. Todd bent down, gave him a hug, and said, "Not today, we'll go skiing tomorrow."

I was standing at the sink pouring cold water over the frozen chicken. Todd turned around and looked at me. He pointed his finger saying, "Later Mom!" Little did I know then how much later that would be.

About two hours passed when the phone rang. It was one of the guys Todd had gone sledding with. He told me there had been an accident. At first I thought he meant a sledding accident. I had told Todd before he left not to stand up on the sled. I know how crazy boys can be. He had just had new braces put on his teeth. But somehow I wasn't getting the message that he meant sledding accident. I asked where they were. I thought they were going sledding in town. But now I found out they were not in town at all. Later I learned that the sun had melted the snow on the hill they were going to in town, so they had decided to go to the levy in Zoar.

I called Bill at work. I didn't really know much to tell him except the name of the road I was given, County Road 81. One of the girls in the office had lived on County Road 81 so she knew where it was.

I didn't have a car since Bill had the van and Todd had taken the car. I called Shannon, who was across the street at Amanda's playing. I told her that Todd had been in an accident. I needed for her to come home. Judy, Amanda's mom called. She asked me if I needed to go to the hospital. I really didn't know, but thought if there was an accident maybe they had taken Todd to the hospital. Judy was at work, but said she would come home and take me to the hospital. As crazy as this seems I hung up the phone and started to vacuum! Why, I don't know, but I did!

Judy pulled in the driveway and I got in the car. We drove to Union Hospital. I don't remember saying anything. Judy dropped me off at the Emergency Room door. I got out and she went and parked the car. I walked into the Emergency Room waiting room and I walked to the window. The girl looked up and I said, "Hi, I'm Kay Heitsch." Silence! There were several people standing in the waiting room. When I said, "Hi, I'm Kay Heitsch" everyone looked at me. Then everyone's eyes dropped to the floor. It wasn't hard to read body language that day! I knew Todd was dead! The girl at the window didn't ask for my insurance card, but rather asked if I would wait in a small office and the doctor would be in to talk with me. Judy came running in after parking the car. She looked at me and I remember saying, "Todd's dead!" Judy asked if someone had told me that. I answered, "No, but look around!" The girl as the desk took us both in the small office to wait for the doctor.

I don't remember saying a word while we sat in the small office. I was already feeling very numb! I felt like I was in a nightmare. I heard a loud scream and the next thing I knew Bill was standing in the doorway. Right after that the doctor came in. What he said I don't remember. All I know is that he confirmed what I already knew. As soon as the doctor confirmed what I already knew, Judy left.

I remember getting up and walking slowly out to the Emergency Room. I was in a hazy daze. As we were walking out I noticed several people that I recognized standing there. They were people who worked at the hospital that had heard the news. I didn't say a word. I was silent!

We drove home in silence. I remember noticing that the sun was shining. I wondered why! When we walked in the back door there was the half frozen chicken still in the sink. I felt as cold as that chicken and as dead inside. I was in a daze and numb, but my mind was screaming, "I don't believe this! This can't be true!" The sad news spread like wild fire. The phone began to ring over and over because it was true! My beloved son Todd was gone!

But as we all know that's not the end of this story! God has used Todd's death to bring hope to me as well as many others. All who knew Todd were blessed to have him in our lives for the 16 years he was with us.

A lot of people know of all the positive things that have come out of Todd's death. It's been amazing!

The first year some of Todd's friends came over and we made cookies. On Feb. 6th we took the cookies to the jail with a condensed edition of "The Power of Positive Thinking" in memory of Todd. I became involved in a Booster program. I made a point to pick up the children on Saturday at 2:00. On the first Saturday of February we started to go skiing with our youth group at church. Then I started to send out "Let the SON Shine!" emails for many years ago every Saturday in memory of Todd. When I got on face book I started to post a positive quote or story almost every day. The Lord has helped me use Todd's death for something positive and I am forever grateful for that.

Today on this February 6th I'm baking cookies and taking them along with brownies to a Memorial Service dinner for one of my best friend's son, Mitch who passed last week. As odd as this seems the service starts at 2:00 the exact time and day I believed Todd died.

This week as I thought back to other February 6th and today I came on this text "Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses." Ecclesiastes 3:1 I don't believe anything that's happen is a coincidence. I may not understand why, but there's a reason.

Todd's words, "Later Mom" have been a comfort to me because I know that I will see Todd again. Seeing Todd will happen just later than I had expected.

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