We all have interesting encounters in life. I remember one specifically, that is still so vivid in my mind. I met this young man a few months ago, who eagerly greeted me every time he saw me and who looked forward to having a conversation with me.
My first impression of him was that he appeared to be the stereotypical young man: one who lived a carefree life and had no real aspirations. But what did I know? This was just an assumption, but then again, we are constantly reminded that first impressions are lasting ones. Unless of course, the individual proves us wrong.
He was warm and respectful and seemed to take a liking towards me but it was harmless.
His death came as a surprise. I was at work when my colleague questioned me about whether I had heard about the latest homicide. He then described the latest victim and proceeded to show me an image and I remember my stunned expression; my disbelief.
I had seen him, perhaps a week before his death and again, he eagerly greeted me. I waved and continued walking.
Our meetings were a series of pleasantries but yet he seemed so excited every time he met me. I knew nothing about him—prior to his death, I did not even know his name!
I went online searching for his obituary but I never saw it; I did so repeatedly.
I had seen his mother before and on many occasions I wanted to question her about her son but I refrained. How does one approach the victim’s mother? Perhaps my timing may be wrong. Would my questions bring her to tears? I could not ask her. Not yet, anyway.
Then I saw her. She greeted me with a small wave and a smile and I decided to ask her. Was it really her son? It could not be! We crossed paths all the time! How can one be here today and gone the next? It does not make sense. I had to know once and for all.
And so I inquired, and she told me it was her son who had died. She admitted that though he was a good son, he was rather difficult when he consumed alcohol; that was well-known. And there it was; I did not know.
She recalled moments with him and she admitted that she missed him and his kind ways. She told me he assisted her daily with various things as her life is an arduous one and she was so appreciative of his help.
Again, she stated that though he was a great individual he was “troublesome” when he drank. She added that with God’s help, she would get by; I concurred and went on to tell her that though sometimes we face the greatest of situations, God sees us through.
Even without my reassurance she knew it and I was pleased.
It’s sad that he lost his life like this, but it was something he brought upon himself. Of course that does not mean that the individual who took his life had a right to do so, but it’s the society we live in: “a tit for a tat”, “an eye for an eye”.
I knew I had to share my encounter after I had spoken to his mother. It was a sad one and one I won’t forget in a hurry—I can still see his smile and his enthusiastic wave.
The situation is sad but there’s a lesson to be learnt. Remember the life we choose, usually, determines what happens eventually. Choose wisely.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone.