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