Today I went to the memorial for our next door neighbor. He died in an accident on his grandparents ranch last Thursday. He is the second of three boys and he was only 10 years old.
We've been living here for almost a year and I'm sad and a little embarrassed to say that we don't know the family very well. We say hellos and exchange small talk. I often make a mental note to get to know the neighborhood better. Most have lived here the last decade, all of those kids growing up together, and I see the tragedy reflected in everyone's eyes. I'm still reeling from the news.
I feel shock, tears, anger and sadness. I play with Peanut, we eat our dinner, we go through the bedtime routine, and I cannot stop thinking that 10 feet away their family is in a living nightmare. It's any parents nightmare. How do you survive everyday without your child?
I want to be able to help. I want to give them their privacy. I wish desperately that they could have their little boy back. Every day I'm reminded of something that they won't get to share with their boy. I think of holidays, graduations and weddings. I think of breakfast, baseball and passing by a room to see him reading inside. He was just about to start the fifth grade. I think of Peanut, and the way he smells just before bed, as I step into the pantry to cry. Mostly I think about that little boys mother.
In the backyard there is the low rumble of talking. It comes in soothing tones or perhaps the murmur that comes when you lack the energy to speak in more than a whisper. The pain is so raw and deep, I can feel it through the walls. Or perhaps I'm projecting my own visions of myself if I were to lose Ryder. I think to myself that they will never be OK. Never. They may survive and they may find happiness, but they have been robbed of so much. Of their little boy, of the future they could have had, of an innocent childhood for their 2 surviving boys. I'm angry and heartbroken simultaneously. I pray that their family will make it through this intact, or as intact as you can be when you're missing one of your pack.
Today we listened to his father read something written by his son. It was a list of things that this little boy foresaw in his future. When I am 20 years old, when I am 30 years old, when I am 50 years old, when I am 75 years old.... it made me laugh and cry.
The church was packed full of people who loved him. People he inspired with his smiles and kindness shared stories of him. The little boy full of "What if's" had a big smile, a big imagination and a big heart. There were kids wearing jerseys from teams they were on together and teachers talking about his eagerness to learn.
I don't know how to wrap up this post. I could say something about cherishing every day with your loved ones. I could talk about the gift of children. Maybe I should just ask everyone to pray for this family. Send good vibes. Bow your head. His loss is tragic, unfair and awful. I wish it were also untrue.