all things social work


I’m sitting here thinking about a young man I never had the privilege to meet.  His 18th birthday was yesterday.  That’s also the day he died.

There is usually some amount of making a lost loved one into a hero.  But from all accounts, in this case, they are accurate.  This young man was a leader in my community.  He was doing all the things that the best of the best do.  He was also a musician and in scouting.  I think of students I have known, one in particular.  And I can’t imagine this world without that student’s presence.

He died as a result of a car wreck.  Apparently his younger brother was driving and now charges are pending.  His other brother was also in the vehicle.  They have both been released from the hospital.  What a burden for two young men to carry.  All the questions.  Why wasn’t it me?  If only I’d taken that curve a little differently…?

So now a community, touched by this student’s short life, grieves.  Not just a school.  Because this young man, involved in so many activities, knew students from across the county.  It extends beyond bitter high school rivalries, which seem so empty now.

So what now?  We hug those precious to us.  We live fully today with the knowledge that tomorrow is not promised.  We talk about grief and what it looks like.  [It looks different on everyone.  It may may make us angry or sad or numb.  But it’s ok to laugh, too.  It’s healing to remember those moments that touched us.]  We pray.  We keep going.

I’ll spend this afternoon with some family members, babysitting my two nieces.  And when Katherine asks to play Barbies, well, I’ll ask her first.

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