A Community Grieving Together

This last week has been very difficult for our little bubble of community. A dear friend’s child passed away, and we are all left asking Why?

As our children turn to us for answers, we have to admit that there are none. For some of us, it’s the first time that we can’t have an answer, and that there is no way to smartly create one either. We have had to tell those questioning eyes that sometimes you get to have someone in your life for just a short while, and then they are gone. The only thing that can be done is to honour them as they were, and to acknowledge that they impacted you more than you realized at the time.

Kids are different, they do this whole grief thing in such a straight forward way. A few boys were chatting, and watching the beautiful slide show of all the different times in his life. The one said “oh, you did martial arts with him?”, the other replied, “Ya, he was a black belt”. I watched the other boy taking this in, and then he quickly moved on to the very next moment. Another question, this time about a video game.

The kids get a little weirded out when the grownups start to cry. They take shy glances upward, with tiny smiles of uncertainty. But it is important for them to see the tears, to witness adults dealing with grief in a healthy way. The inevitability of when and how we die is a fact of life that none of us escapes. This cannot be denied.

But when someone so young is suddenly gone, without explanation, it leaves a great hole in the pocket of his community.

This boy was so loved. This boy was so special, and creative and fun-loving. This boy was unique and hyper and strong. He was courageous and loved a challenge.

One time I took the boys on a long walk down the trail to the creek. We had to hoof it all the way back, and I challenged him to run all the way back. As soon as he heard that he bolted, and was GONE! He made it back to the house so fast, and I was so impressed with his drive and his willingness to go above and beyond what I had challenged him to do. It was amazing.

And now that he is gone, we are left here to ponder each of our own lives, and the lives of our babies. The outpouring of love towards the family is generous, overwhelming and true. There is no “moving on” when there is a tragedy like this, but a slow unfurling of a “new normal”, that incorporates precious memories with changed perspectives and reflections of our own selves.

After this moment, and the next, and the next, Life will ever be the same again.

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