Stuff That Should Never, Ever Happen

AUTHOR: | POSTED: February 4, 2013 | COMMENTS: 16 Comments
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Carolyn Savage

Grief is a word that I’ve become somewhat familiar with over the past four years.  God knows, I’ve traveled through all of the stages and flunked every last one of them.  Thank goodness for perspective.  The importance of keeping my head wrapped around proper perspective has carried me through the ugliest moments of my journey.

There are worse things.

Of course, my glutton for punishment mind would always imagine the worst.  I think moms do that.  We worry and imagine the horror of what would happen if our greatest nightmare suddenly became reality.  Whenever my brain would go there, I’d shudder and pray pleading, begging prayers that my children stay safe.

Take everything I have.  Take me… but please spare my child.

So how in the world do I, or anybody else, help friends who are living their greatest nightmare?

I got the call Saturday morning.  My poor sister-in-law was the bearer of the tragic news, and I should publicly apologize to her because I yelled at her.  Bitterly yelled.  Looking back on it I know in that moment I was hoping she didn’t have her facts straight.  That she was mistaken.  That the boy’s name she had just spoken and the accident she had just described were absolutely not connected.

Couldn’t be.

Can’t be.

Is.

Those moments where bad news is communicated and our minds race through a chaotic process always end in what I refer to as a reality crash.

This sweet boy, who I’ve known since he was five, and is friends with my son, and whose parents I adore, and whose family is awesome;  This child who was smarter than me, and witty, and handsome, and a great  golfer, and who was on the cusp of high school graduation and a promising future;  This big brother who was adored by his siblings: This son whose parents loved more than anything…

Why?

A few hours later I found myself climbing the steps to Brian’s home.  I remember noticing the flowers on the steps and was perplexed.  I knew people would leave bouquets, but the presence of  tiny boxed boutineers and corsages confused me?  I’d later learn that the high school had canceled their Saturday night dance.  The kids were bringing their flowers and laying their porch in Brian’s honor.

That should never happen.

As I went through the front door, I noticed the shoes.  Shoes everywhere.  Kids shoes, adult shoes.  It had been snowing and as considered polite in these parts, visitors kicked off their shoes before entering the home.  I’ve never been so thankful to see massive piles of shoes in my life.  Brian’s family is loved.  Brian is loved.  People were coming in droves.

Then came the hard part.

I was taking off my boots, and I felt a presence over me.  I looked up to see Brian’s mom, Cindy.  We hugged that desperate kind of hug where one is standing and the other is collapsing but neither of us knew who was supporting the other.  I buried my head in her hair and we sobbed.

I remember her saying,  “This shouldn’t be happening.  Stuff like this doesn’t happen to kids like Brian.”  

And the only thing I could come up with was the truth.  “I wish that I could take it away.”  God, how I wish I could take this away.

A moment like that should never, ever happen.

On our way home from Brian’s house, Drew asked me what else he should do.  He’d known Brian since kindergarten.  Brian was a friend. We talked about how Drew could gather his grade school friends.  There were ninety of them who’d spent kindergarten through grade eight together. They were all hurting.  They needed one another.

Within a few hours, Drew and his classmates were planning a prayer service to memorialize their friend.

That should never, ever happen.

Now we are processing.  Fumbling through a tragedy that has devastated so many.  I am so appreciative of the messages that have been sent for Brian’s family on our Facebook page.  Please know they have helped.  Prayers always help. Please keep them coming.

Now, I have to go. I have a memorial prayer service to attend with my son… for his friend.

Another moment that should never, ever happen.

******************

A link to Brian’s obituary….just so you know exactly what the world lost Saturday morning.

16 Comments on “ Stuff That Should Never, Ever Happen ”

  • Robbin | February 4th, 2013 9:12 pm

    I’m so very, very sorry for your loss. You expressed the exact reaction I had in 2001 when our family friends lost their teenage son. You need to stay present for them after everyone has gone back to their “normal” lives after the services and memorials. This is the instance to be the listener that you referred to a few weeks ago. Think ahead to their needs. Anticipate what birthdays and anniversaries and holidays will mean to them now. You are a great person, Carolyn…and I’m sure you’re the best friend anyone could hope for. Prayers for you all.

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  • Teri | February 5th, 2013 12:07 pm

    Oh Carolyn I am speechless. I’m so sorry to hear this and cannot imagine going through this either with God forbid my own child or a close family friend. Thoughts and prayers go out to all who knew Brian.

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  • Justine | February 5th, 2013 1:12 pm

    My heart aches for Brian’s family, for his entire community, for you. Sending my prayers to you all, and hoping that you are able to take comfort in each other … the loss is unimaginable.

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  • Kristin | February 5th, 2013 11:28 pm

    Oh Carolyn, my heart is breaking for you and for everyone who loves Brian. His loss is a real tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you.

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  • Kathy | February 8th, 2013 11:14 pm

    What a heartbreaking post to read and even worse reality for your family, Brian’s family and your community to comprehend.

    This line really struck me as it describes how I felt taking one of these phone calls two years ago this April when I learned that an old and dear childhood friend had died in her twenties.

    “Those moments where bad news is communicated and our minds race through a chaotic process always end in what I refer to as a reality crash.”

    I just remember her aunt telling me that she was “gone” and not being able to comprehend how that was possible. As you said, stuff that should never, ever happen.

    I am sorry it took me a few days to get here and comment, but I have been sending my thoughts and prayers your way and am so proud of you and Drew for how you are supporting Brian’s loved ones with your love and compassion.

    My Sean is in third grade in a one grade school with about thirty kids in his class that he will be with through eighth grade. I couldn’t help but think about that when reading your post, to put it in perspective with one of my own children. I hope and pray that our school/neighborhood family won’t ever been in such a tragic situation.

    Continuing to hold Brian’s family, your family and your community close in my thoughts and prayers. This also reminds me of a post that Mel shared this week on her blog about a woman who died a year ago of cancer and an awesome post she wrote on her blog about how “life isn’t fair.” If you haven’t read it, it is very powerful, especially knowing that she has passed away since she wrote it.

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  • Sharon | February 15th, 2013 9:00 am

    But wasn’t the service an incredible tribute to the brief life of this extraordinary young man. I work for Brian’s father and the show of love and support for this child and his family was amazing. From the Ottawa Hills students singing at the beginning of the service to the stories expressed at the luncheon afterwards…Brian’s memory will be cherished forever.

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  • Carolyn Savage | February 15th, 2013 7:55 pm

    Sharon the funeral was absolutely beautiful. Brian’s memory will be cherished forever. Just to clarify, the service I was referring to in this post was held the Monday evening after Brian’s accident at St. Joes for his grade school classmates. I just want to make sure that’s clear, as those kids (including Drew) had a lot to do with the planning of that service, but had nothing to do with the planning of the actual funeral service.

    I’m sure Brian Sr. is being wrapped in love at work. Thank you for being such a supportive friend. God knows, they need all the support and love they can get!

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  • Judy Johnson Ramirez (Manually Imported from Facebook Comment) | February 15th, 2013 8:08 pm

    As a mother my heart aches for the family and friends. Continued prayers for all those touched by Brain.

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  • Allie Darr (Manually Imported from Facebook Comment) | February 15th, 2013 8:08 pm

    So many prayers for his family, friends and loved ones!! xo

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  • Marguerite VandeBeek Smeda (Manually Imported from Facebook Comment) | February 15th, 2013 8:09 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I just can’t begin to understand why a young man has to be taken when he is just entering adulthood. I have an almost 18 year old and can imagine the grief they are feeling. My prayers will be with them all as they enter this very difficult tim

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  • Beth Noe June (Manually Imported from Facebook Comment) | February 15th, 2013 8:10 pm

    No words……only prayers.

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  • Carrie Johnson (Manually Imported from Facebook Comment) | February 15th, 2013 8:10 pm

    Continued prayers. Beautiful post, Carolyn. You are a good friend.

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  • Wendy Long-Mcclurg (Manually Imported from Facebook Comment) | February 15th, 2013 8:11 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful post. Our thoughts are with his family.

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  • Ann Sullivan Mancinotti (Manually Imported from Facebook Comment) | February 15th, 2013 8:11 pm

    So many Prayers……xo

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  • Angela Bonner (Manually Imported from Facebook Comment) | February 15th, 2013 8:12 pm

    Thank you for wonderful post. I read his obituary. I thought it was very sweet about the flowers and shoes!

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