The King's Lion ... Bound for Home!
by Trent Bolesky
(Howell, MI USA)
The following is an excerpt from my book which I wrote about my son's life after he died in a car accident back in 2010. Because of the word submission limit I have had to modify this from its original content so it may sound choppy.
We Hug, We Cry, and We Say Good-bye
This unwelcomed chapter will touch that intensely sobering, dark part of his story, his sudden tragic death, and how that unwelcomed event has impacted me and continues to taunt and torment me as well. I genuinely wanted to skip over or just ignore this gloomy final part of his earthbound journey.
I will go to a dark, gruesome, unhealthy place inside, which I only tap into on rare occasions. This is genuinely unlike me, or my glass-half-full style of character to dwell for too long in this morbid place, or speak at length in this chilling regard very often. As I mentioned in my prelude to this book, writing T. J.’s story has been a great source of personal therapy, and therefore, getting out and releasing some of the deep clutter of blistering, branded scars, intense grief, and lingering hurts that are bottled up underneath the surface, will help with my continued ongoing healing. Going to that dark sobering place and working through the intense pain is like finally taking a breath deeply into my lungs of fresh, pure, cleansing air. I can finally breathe freely again, and smell the sweet aroma of the pure-white, silky essence of a loving God.
About two months before T. J. died; we were doing our occasional summertime ritual of sitting on our back patio porch swing and puffing on a cheap cigar while watching the blazing sun go down like a fire ball and lighting up the brilliant evening sky. T. J. had been asking a lengthy series of questions about heaven, what it looks like, where it is located, what people do there, and will it eventually get boring seeing as that we will be there for all of eternity. He asked about people who have died, could they see us now, and we talked for a long time about these supernatural wonders which await us. I wondered why he was so curious and therefore I asked, “Teej, why are you suddenly interested in heaven and all of these heavenly things?”
He hesitated, and I started seeing tears beginning to roll down the side of his cheek.
He asked, “Dad what would you do if I died?”
I knew I needed to answer his sobering query. I explained how completely and thoroughly crushed and totally devastated that I would be, and how all of the life and the air would suddenly feel sucked out of me. I explained how difficult this life would become without him to look forward to, and our times together, or simply watching him grow, and then moving on with his life. I told him how immensely sad and heavy life would instantly become, and how each and every day I would miss him and cry and severely struggle to move forward through the intense grief.
Now he was really starting to weep.
“T. J. what’s wrong?” I was now concerned.
After another long pause, he finally blurted out, “Dad I’m going to die! I am not making this up, God told me that I am going to die soon, dad, I’m going to die!”
Wow! I was not prepared for this. I explained to him that we all feel that way at times, but I stated that I was certain that everything would be okay.
It was as if he completely ignored what I was saying. He went on to tell me that he was worried about how we as his family would do without him. He worried about his friends and told me that he absolutely did not want me or his family and everyone else to be sad for him. He told me that his death meant that many people would get saved. He explained that he did not completely understand it, but that it would all make sense to me one day soon. He told me that his greatest heart’s desire was to serve the God that he loved, and that this was just a part of that faithful service, as hard as that may seem. He begged me to please not be angry or mad at God, and instead to rejoice for him in that he will be in heaven. He additionally asked me to make a celebration from his life, and to be happy for him in that he was selected by God to serve Him in this way.
I was stunned! His lengthy speech was spiritually mature, fiery, and passionate, almost like he had been coached on what to say to me to speak to that Christ-centered fatherly part of me, and connect to the living Spirit of God deep inside my soul. I still could not accept what I was hearing. I told T. J. in a stern fatherly voice that I did not think that God spoke to us in that way. I was becoming distraught, severely unsettled, and even a little agitated. I was now done talking and wanted to abruptly dismiss myself from this strange, eerie, disconcerting conversation.
We hugged as we still wept, and then we went to bed.
Around two months later on a gorgeous summery September evening. T. J. was headed to a Sunday evening church youth meeting with his girlfriend Lydia and his best friend Roy, who was also Lydia’s older brother. They were in a large jeep and on back country roads. The weather was warm and it was sunny and clear. The young couple who had been dating since last spring was sitting in the back seats and they were softly teasing Roy who was driving about a girl whom he would see at the youth meeting once they had arrived at the church. Roy realized that he had slightly crossed the center line, and then quickly corrected his steering, in his haste he mildly overcorrected and then left the road into a ditch.
The jeep struck a tree …
Carrie and I had decided to ride our bicycles downtown because it was such a sunny, warm, beautiful evening. Carrie skidded to an abrupt stop; she had a horrified look on her face. I asked what was wrong. She yelled back at me with tears running down her face, “I just got a text message giving us sincere condolences on losing our son who died in a car accident earlier this afternoon!”
“What! What do you mean died? We just saw him! He is at youth group!” I cried out in desperation.
“Call his girlfriend! I will call him and we will clear this up! This must be a mistake Carrie! It has to be a mistake!” I said in a hopeful, quivering voice.
Everyone we called had their phones turned off! This is a bad sign! Carrie broke down, “I think he is dead! Trent, I think T. J. is dead!”
We determined to quickly get back home and then get into our car and head for the youth meeting where the kids were headed earlier in the day figuring that if they were in an accident somewhere along the route we would surely be able to find them. We made a breathless sprint home on our bicycles, not slowing for anything. Once arriving home, we grabbed our daughter, and sped off in our car.
I heard the engine screaming as I punched the accelerator to the floor; about half a mile ahead I could see scores of emergency vehicles in a cluster. I headed for the area just to the rear of the last flashing lights, and skidded to an abrupt halt. I threw the car in park while simultaneously leaping from the vehicle which was jolting to a stop. I made a beeline sprint for the mangled wreckage that I could see, the whole time screaming, “T. J., T. J. dad is here! Answer me T. J.! Where are you? Dad is here!”
A half dozen or more police officers and emergency personnel rushed at me, but like a Heisman Trophy winning running back I slipped and darted around a few of them and continued my sprint toward the wreckage. Finally they corralled me, and I screamed in my struggle to free myself, “My son is in there, and I need to see him now!” In my adrenaline pumped up state, I was dragging six officers with me toward the mangled wreckage.
One of them screamed in my ear, “Sir, who are you, and why are you here?”
“My son T. J. was in this accident and I need to see him now!” I demanded.
“I need you to stop struggling and show me your I.D.!” they had gained leverage and better footing and he was now in control.
I stopped struggling and stepped back. As I showed my I.D. they could see that my hand was quivering and shaking uncontrollably. He took my license, his face became stern, and yet, full of compassion, “Mr. Bolesky, I am sad to report that your son was in this accident, and he did not survive!”
My knees instantly buckled, I fell to the ground, and I began beating the pavement with my fist. “No God! Please God no! Not T. J., you cannot take T. J.! No God! Please … NO!”
I suppose that I could tell you about the numerous amazing and unbelievable things that we have experienced in the wake of his passing, but that is not the direction that I promised myself earlier. I now need to deal with the bitter, grief-stricken parts of the best friend and the father which he left behind. It is time to finally be honest and real about the bitter scars that are torturing my bruised and battered soul.
Pure pain in its rarest form is associated with death. The intense pain that is attached to death is connected to evil. Evil in its most refined, purified state, takes human life without regard or remorse. Add to this the unnatural sequence of death, which rips a child away from its parent’s nurturing arms before the slow, natural unfolding of time, and you can literally stare into Hell’s flaming furry, and know exactly what that is like.
The death of a loved one, especially a young child, has the potential to connect you to an ugly mass of powerful, dark, sinister, and evil emotions. This can overwhelm you and overtake your life, rendering you useless and feeling helpless. In having lost a child, I can attest to this fact.