I had lunch with a very dear friend the other day. Her stepson, Christopher, was killed in a helicopter crash recently, he was my age. He had discovered he had a 16 year old daughter 4 years before his death. The discovery had given his life meaning and was starting to build a relationship with her. Apparently, it had been going really well.
I have had the sad reality of knowing more than one mom who had to bury a child. Its heart wrenching. They say the mother will never be the same after the death of a child. I believe that to be true. With any great love loss, there’s always a little bit of your heart that goes missing. My friend is no different. She loved her stepson like he was her own child, she married his father when Christopher was still a young child and watched him grow to be a fun-loving and caring brother to their next two daughters to come along.
Her daughters are grown now and took their mom, my friend, for a girl’s weekend in Boston. I was so happy to get the invite to join them for lunch on their last day in the city. The start of the conversation was mostly catch-up talk. At the lull in the conversation, I saw in her eyes that her mind drifted to Christopher.
I took her hand and asked her to tell me about him. She glowed telling me about her wonderful son. I gathered from our conversation he was a kind and generous soul with a perfect sparkle of mischief. His sisters adored him and he showered them with love. He was athletic and loved adventure, his work had him in a helicopter on a regular basis. (Sounded pretty exciting to me, too.)
On the way to the funeral, his two sisters stopped into a coffee shop to pay for the next 50 cups of coffee in honor of their brother. I immediately teared up. She then dryly stated that they walked into the funeral home to an 8×10 picture of William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Christopher’s birth mother in a Star Trek outfit. I gasped and asked, “Why?!” She said the mother was telling everyone, “Christopher was named after a Star Trek character.” “Was he?” I asked. (Shocked.)
My poor friend. Grief held her tightly as she whispered, “No, he was named after A. A. Milne’s Christopher Robin.” (Her husband’s nickname for her is Winnie the Pooh.) At that point we both had tears rolling down our cheeks. We sat quietly for a few minutes before she continued.
Christopher’s mom left him when he was two and never seemed to care about building a relationship with him. I know there are always two sides to a story and I’m definitely biased. Honestly, I don’t know a kinder person than my friend quietly trying to compose herself next to me. However, the more the story unfolded the more unfortunate it seemed.
Can I just tell you? His death included a $5 million insurance policy that would go to next of kin. It’s unknown if the daughter is really his, there needs to be a DNA test. The Star Trek mother is broke and discouraging the girl from the testing because the insurance would go to her.
Shame on her. What would Mr. Spock say?