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A loving mother has written a heartbreaking essay in which she tells of how her 18-year-old son was killed on his first day of college after an ‘unstable structure’ collapsed on top of him.

Elizabeth Kopple, from Santa Monica, California, had personally taken her teenage son, Henry, to his undisclosed college.

It was a rite of passage for both of them as she prepared to send him on the next chapter of his life. Sadly, that chapter was cut short after tragedy struck when Henry was fatally injured.  

One year after his death, she describes how she is coming to terms with the family’s devastating loss.

‘After one final hug — He always hugged you twice when he said goodbye — I left for the airport,’ Elizabeth notes.

He died days later. 

Grieving mother, Elizabeth Koppel, has penned an emotional essay recounting the tragic loss of her 18-year-old son, Henry, who was killed on his first day of college

Elizabeth recounts her son’s childhood and how she had watched him grow into adulthood

‘He’d overcome so many challenges to get there: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and difficulty connecting with other kids,’ Kopple began in the touching essay for HuffPost. ‘As he matured, he gained confidence by participating in cross-country running, drama and debate.’

Henry had gone to the college, which Elizabeth does not identify by name, and bonded closely with fellow classmates, going on hikes with his newfound friends.

One week later, Elizabeth met her son on campus to be with him for a few days during his orientation. 

‘Henry arrived early to hike with other incoming freshmen. When I met him on campus the following week during his orientation, he introduced me to his new classmates. I joined them for a meal in the dining hall, attended a presentation for parents and helped him get settled,’ she explains. 

Elizabeth notes she could see that her son was happy and appeared to be quickly settling down to college life.  

Within a few days it was time for her to fly back home. It was to be the final time they would be with one another.

Elizabeth writes about how she took her son, Henry, pictured, to college to make sure he was settling in and even joined him on his orientation week for a few days before parting ways

‘I placed my hands around Henry’s middle, pressed my right cheek to his chest, closed my eyes and squeezed. At that moment, I was embracing every version of my son: chunky baby, curious toddler, zany seventh grader in braces, hungry teenager, all the rest I knew and had known,’ Elizabeth wrote.

But disaster struck just days after they parted ways, on Henry’s first day of class.

He was killed beneath an unstable structure had collapsed on top of him. Two other students also were injured.

Bluntly, she writes: ‘Just like that, he’s gone.’

‘The middle of my chest starts to ache, the way it does when something terrible might happen. But it already has. I’ll never again feel my arms around my son’s broad shoulders. There is so much. It’s too much. In my mind, I’m still planning for parents’ weekend, Thanksgiving, sending his winter clothes, and on and on and on.

‘In an instant, every expectation for our family and our future was obliterated,’ she writes movingly. 

Henry was killed on the first day of class when an ‘unstable structure’ collapsed on him. He is pictured in his dorm room after being moved in with the help of his mother

Describing him as ‘quirky and clumsy, brilliant and handsome, honest and kind,’ from her writings it is clear how she is finding it hard to grasp the concept of life without him.

It has now been almost a full year since Henry died under such tragic circumstances.

The entire family have been trying to cope with the huge void Henry has left in all of their lives, including his younger brother who is also about to head to college. 

‘I’m still living, but at a lower volume,’ Elizabeth explains. ‘Our family has spent these months as a close-knit unit, seeking therapy, attending loss groups, and passing time with loved ones.

Elizabeth shares how the nature of grief is that it is ‘all-pervading’ and always present even after a good day in which she might dress up, wear makeup or ‘appear well’. 

‘Acquaintances reveal tragedies from their pasts, and I’m more attuned to the sadness of strangers. I’ve connected with over a dozen grieving parents in my support groups, each with a heart-wrenching story. We understand and accept each other’s losses in a way no one else can.’

While still dealing with such a massive loss, Elizabeth’s other teenage son is about to move out and head across the country to attend school in Washington D.C.

Knowing she would be thousands of miles away from her only other living child, she together with husband Chuck, have decided to also move to the nation’s capital to stay close with him. The family have opted to rent the home of a local professor.

It is a coping mechanism, of sorts.  

‘We gave him the chance to say no. He’s not thrilled by the idea, but he agreed, as long as we keep our distance. He may recognize how important this is for our mental well-being,’ Elizabeth explains.

‘It’s not a perfect situation, but it’s a way for our family to move forward. Maybe there are other ways — dealing with grief is different for everyone — but this is what feels right, at least for now.

‘All I can do is wish for good days ahead and never take anything for granted. This might be the happiest I’ll ever be.’

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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