The other day my world came crashing in on me in a way that I never dreamed it would…no scratch that. I DID dream this a few weeks ago, which makes it so much harder for me.
It was last Saturday morning and I had just gotten out of the shower and noticed I missed my phone. When I realized both calls were from my son Derrick I called right away not truly expecting to hear or relive that horrible nightmare I had weeks earlier, telling me someone I love so much was gone. When he spoke those words “Mom, Preston is no longer with us” I think a little piece of me died too……
I loved that kid with all my heart and I would do anything for him. I think he could have asked me for the Moon and I would have found a way to give it to him. One chunk at a time if that’s what it took but somehow it would have been his. Anyone that knows me knows I would have done anything for Preston.
Preston Okesson was just 21 and probably had one of the most beautiful souls I have seen in my 44 years. He was smart and funny and had an amazing amount of wisdom for someone his age but at the same time he possessed a sweet childlike quality that made him endearing to everyone he came in contact with . In the time I knew him I think he only
got mildly annoyed once that I witnessed (and it was with me :D) and I only saw him get sad and upset once, and that was only because his close friend was leaving for college and he didn’t think he would see her before she left. Preston’s main goal in life seemed to be to make everyone around him happy. I can honestly say that every moment with Preston was a joy and something that I will cherish forever.
Y’know I haven’t even known Preston a year but the impact he has had on my life and the lives of my children is tremendous. Derrick my son met him one day or I should say re-connected with him (they went to high school together but didn’t really know each other that well) and brought him home like a little adorable stray and that was it, he was ours forever from that point on. Whenever he had to go home to his family even for a day or two, the house just felt empty. He was this spectacular ray of light, like a lighthouse that would guide you or a bonfire that would cast so much warmth on you that you never wanted to leave its side. Like moths to a flame we never truly wanted to be away from Preston for very long, something about his spirit was just that powerful.
Preston was even able to make someone like me see the best in myself. He made me feel like a better person, or the best person I could truly be and whats more he made me want to BE a better person and for a self loathing narcissist, well that’s a tall order but somehow he managed to chisel through my walls I had built up and find a way to get through when no one else could and I desperately needed a friend the most. He didn’t even know he was doing anything amazing or special. He was just being…..well, Preston.
I have cried enough tears to fill the Great Lakes at this point but I keep trying to look back to little things that Preston would do or say, the things that seemed to connect us all to him and try to find any flicker of positivity in this because quite frankly it’s not fair and it doesn’t make any sense. I have to do that or I will be swallowed up with grief.
I keep thinking about the time right after moving to Eugene from Bend and I was walking through Target looking for new pillows and all of the sudden I hear this little voice singing Paula Cole’s “I don’t want to wait” (and not very well) and I looked around and said “Preston what in the hell are you doing”, and he gave me this sheepish grin and said something like “I don’t know but this song is useless”. I guess it had been playing over the speakers or something. Every time I hear that song now I laugh and automatically think of him 😀
Then there were the times I would go out through the living room in the middle of the night to grab something to drink and the boys were engrossed in some stupid cartoon show (or that’s what I called anime) and damn it, if Preston and Derrick didn’t talk me into just sitting down for just one minute to watch. Every amazing episode of Death Note later……
Then there was Silent Hill…watching Preston play Silent Hill was probably one of the highlights of the time he spent with us over the summer. I know sounds kinda weird but seriously…I don’t know what was more fun, waiting for the creepy marshmallow zombie looking things to attack or Preston to scream like a little girl when they did. He was so adorable and I will never forget him all bundled up in a sleeping bag in front of my flatscreen in our pitch black living room, gasping and squealing with each level.
Then there are all the times when he and Derrick would come and sing the theme from Captain Planet, but sometimes when I wasn’t expecting it he would be right behind me and start singing while Derrick was in front of me so would I jump just a little bit (what a little shit).
When he stayed over at our house all the time before we moved, Preston and I had coffee time. It was the time in the morning before everyone else got up and we would just have a cup of coffee or two together, sit on the porch and just talk about whatever, it really didn’t matter but it was our time when everything was still quiet and nice and things weren’t so hectic. I like to think he appreciated that time as much as I did; we had some really nice conversations over those few months.
Then there is the KINGS CUP. That damn cup, I swear you could have bought 5 cups that were bigger and made substantially better for what Derrick and Preston put into that damn thing but when it was all said and done they had a masterpiece that would rival….. well, somebody but it was their masterpiece and they were extremely proud. I am so very glad that I never got a chance to ask if I could just throw the cup away because it got broken at some point, is held together with duct tape and all it does is clutter up and take up shelf space. As far as I am concerned from here on out, it will be treated like fine china and flatware, it will end up being our first family heirloom.
One of the last things that makes me smile and cry at the same time because it is so prophetic, is how Someone had said to him that they thought he looked kind of elfin (I had always thought that too 🙂 ) and asked him to put his hands on his hips and say “I am Pan” as in Peter Pan….the boy who never grows up. I guess they were right because that was only a few weeks ago and he will never have a chance to grow, get married, have children or experience the love of his lifetime :(. He told someone that he could learn a lot from me and I only wish I had been able to teach him what he needed to know before it was too late but I am confident we will meet again in another life.
I choose to believe that like Peter Pan, Preston is now in Never Neverland where he will play and have fun and be waiting for the rest of his lost boys (Derrick, Anthony, Austin and the others) to join him on whatever great adventure comes next and we will find him if we go to the second star to the right and straight on till morning ~
You know how sometimes you meet someone and you feel like you have known them forever but you just met them? You hear people say it all the time, “Dude I feel like I’ve known you my whole life” well if you believe in past lives and re-incarnation, which I do, nothing I say next will seem like a big deal but some people might raise a brow at this next part so y’know it is, what it is.
I am quite sure that my soul has crossed paths with dear little Preston’s before and we were great pals in a different life. I knew it the first time I laid eyes on him, I felt like I knew him forever and so I was really comfortable around him. I think he got a little freaked out by that fact and never quite understood any of it but maybe now that his soul is out there bouncing around looking for a new home, he might finally get it.
When we do see each other again, I’ll say “hey how’s it goin”, break out in a chorus of “I Don’t Want to Wait” or “Captain Planet” and we’ll go hang out, party a little bit and catch up on old times. Until then, I’ll do my best to honor Preston by living my life the way he’d would want me to; he was a happy guy that wanted people around him to be happy and content. He lived his life to the fullest each day without regret and somehow, someway I will find a way to remember that the next time I feel devastated over losing him because I don’t believe for a second that Preston would think the world should just stop spinning because he’s no longer with us in his body, we have to remember we still have his spirit amongst us and if we hold on to that we’ll hold on to him forever.
This song was written by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and was dedicated to Curt Cobain after his death but I love this version of it by David Cook. The song is about ordinary people who are heroes to us, which I think in a way Preston fits that description. He was everything a hero should be and more…..
Definition of HERO