Tonight it’s not about us.
No matter how hard I try. No matter how much I trust. No matter how much I pray. There will be some things I will never understand. Ever.
Today a generally healthy 11-year-old boy, a 6th grader from the neighborhood died. A few days ago he stopped breathing, and today he is gone.
The details leading to the tragedy just don’t even matter, as much as the fact that it happened at all.
When I began teaching, his mom taught with us. It wasn’t long before she would take childcare leave to build her family of three. We were not close friends, but colleagues still the same, and close enough that I am absolutely sickened by the loss she and her family are enduring.
Years later the children would come, first through my school, then another local elementary school. The two boys are in Junior High. The 8th grader, the oldest, is just two years ahead of the little brother who passed. Their sister is a 3rd grader.
The family is just like any of ours. The mom was a teacher, dad a police officer. They were the “regular” family.
This is the stuff nightmares are made from.
Even though we live in a “big city,” our borough is a small town. There is so much interconnection in this area it seems everyone knows someone.
I was not “friends” with the family. We chatted when we saw each other, but our kids didn’t play together. We weren’t “close.” Yet still I am heartsick.
I know families who have lost children. I know mothers who continue to function after burying their babies, and fathers who get up and one day go back to work. I am in awe of their strength. I can not imagine the depths to which the loss of a child changes you.
And we seem to hear of it all the time. There are tragedies, school shootings, traffic accidents, and the like. There is cancer and its far-reaching effects. There are countless rare diseases that I learn more about each day, that rob parents of their children way too soon.
Chronic illness is not fun. It can be downright difficult to bear at times. But tonight again I will thank God for Cowden’s Syndrome, because despite the headaches and trauma it can cause us, it is a blessing. We have a warning system. We have constant screenings that will likely protect us from the ominous cancers looking to attack. We are blessed.
I do not by any means think that any type of loss is easy to bear.
The loss of my cousin shaped my existence as a person, but even I never fully recovered. I still pray for her parents and her sister.
I was in the 6th grade when a friend from my church was hit by a car and killed on the school bus stop. No criminal charges. Just regular kids playing. And then they weren’t. I remember the whole experience vividly 30 years later.
A few weeks ago I stood by the side of a work associate whose 39-year-old daughter had died of cancer. No words.
One of these parents told me there is a reason there is no word to describe a parent who has lost a child. The grief can not be contained in words.
I just can not for even a moment imagine the shock and trauma when you put your healthy 11 year old child to bed, and he doesn’t get up.
Tonight my heart is with the family. The mom and dad, the brother and sister, as well as all the extended family and close friends whose lives are forever altered.
I will pray that God holds them all so tightly, and that He binds them close together, and showers them with His love.
There are just no words.