The most precious thing I have ever lost is the prompt for the Daily Post. The most precious thing I have ever lost is not a thing, it is a person. My son, Donald Phillip Gwarjanski, died unexpectedly on August 18, 2012, just two days after starting his final semester at Auburn University. My son was truly precious.
This is the definition of precious from Merriam-Webster:
Definition of PRECIOUS. 1: of great value or high price <precious jewels> 2: highly esteemed or cherished <a precious friend> 3: excessively refined: affected …
My son was highly esteemed and cherished, not just by me, but by the entire family and a multitude of friends, fellow students, teachers, former coaches, and parent of friends. Donald brought life and light into my life. His friends say he was the life of every gathering. Everything Donald did, he did it completely. There was no middle ground with him. He always had a smile on his face and was the first to encourage others. He loved his family deeply, especially his Mimi, my mother. Donald and I had a special bond , even through his teenage years, which are always tough for a parent.
I’ m not sure why my son died. I may never know. When I was pregnant with him, I went into premature labor at 24 weeks and spent the next 10 weeks on strict bed rest. I did everything that the doctor ordered because Donald didn’t ask to be conceived and I was responsible for his health in utero. I was in and out of the hospital and took various medications to try to postpone labor and to speed the growth of his lungs. He was so impatient to be born that he arrived six weeks early, only 5 lbs, 2 oz. But, by the time he was 3 months old, you would never had known he was born prematurely. He grew fast. He grew up to be extremely talented in sports. He was very smart. He was an only child, but had many close cousins who always enjoyed being with him. He never felt that he needed a brother or sister. He had two special friends, Chayse and Matthew, who he considered his brothers, and they also considered him their brother. These two young men were the first people I talked to when I heard my son had died. They text and call me frequently. Matthew was my rock during the planning of the funeral and at the funeral. He was the only friend who had the composure to speak at the funeral about how special Donald was.
When Donald died, I wasn’t there. I didn’t know about it for hours. But that day, at about the time he died, I felt as if something was wrong. I felt strange and uneasy. I was with friends and they said I just “went out of it” that afternoon. Later, I found out that he had been found dead. My world collapsed. The light of my life was gone. I had talked to him the day before but had not seen him since May. We had plans to have lunch the next week. I know that the strange feeling I had that Saturday afternoon was when his soul left this earth.
Every day, I think of him. Every day, I wish the phone would ring with his special ring tone, the Auburn Fight Song, or that I would receive a text from him, as he texted me most days. As the days get shorter, and the holidays approach, I am apprehensive. I don’t know how to do holidays without him. His father and I are divorced, many years now. Thanksgiving was the holiday Donald always spent with my family. He loved all the food and Matthew couldn’t wait for Donald to come back to Auburn with leftovers from Mimi’s house. This year, family members who have not been to Thanksgiving at Mimi’s will be there. We have learned, very tragically, that life is even shorter than we ever realized. I have lost a part of me, a part of my heart and soul, and it was not a thing, but a person, who was most precious to me.