I was perusing Facebook on Saturday when I saw that a former high school classmate of mine, Tony, was distressed over the loss of a family member. While I don't really know Tony or his family, my entire high school class connects regularly on Facebook, so I was concerned and began reading further.
I learned that his seven year old son had been killed in a snowmobile accident that day. His son was on the neighbor's snowmobile and accidentally grabbed the throttle. The neighbor tried to hit the brakes to stop, and the machine flipped and ran over the boy. A terrible, tragic accident.
I can't imagine what his family is going through. I don't want to imagine it, but I can't stop thinking about them. This little boy was obviously the world to them. Brendan was his daddy's little shadow - he even sat on the bench when his father coached games at the high school. Tony's Facebook page is full of photos of his son playing football, loving his family, and just generally being a sweet little boy and his parents' pride and joy. And he leaves behind a sweet, adorable little brother too. I can just imagine the two boys, so inseparable, and now the one is alone and confused. Right before Christmas. How can Christmas ever be the same? I cannot imagine the agony in their hearts.
One day, everything is normal. Work brings some frustrations, some jerk cuts you off on the freeway and puts you in a bad mood, the electric bill is higher than you expected, and the world seems like it is working against you. But you never know how much you have until you lose a big part of it. It makes those little things seem so foolish, so trivial, so ridiculous.
Brendan's funeral is today. His father's Facebook updates have been absolutely heart-wrenching, and I've cried with every one.
That's the thing about these senseless tragedies: we relate to them. We realize that, there but for the grace of God do we go. There's no one to blame here, and while there is plenty of second guessing by the family - all of those horrible, soul-crushing "what ifs" - this is one of those things that could happen to anyone, be it with a snowmobile, a car, or just walking down the sidewalk. Accidents happen, and sometimes they can be tragic.
I hope that someday that family will find some peace.
I need to go hug Jack.