It's been too long since I've posted. I just feel so strange and disconnected. This past Sunday night I received some news so sickening and horrifying, I've been hesitant to even write about it. I can't stop thinking about it so I will write about it. I received some messages to pray for Evan, the three year old nephew of one of my very dearest friends. He'd been found unresponsive in his grandparents' pool and paramedics were working on him. When I received the call from my mom that he wasn't able to pull through, I just lost it. It is one of those things you never want to have to process.
I've known this family since Evan's aunt and I met at Kindergarten registration when we were five. I have almost no memories of my life before we were friends. Of course, I hate the thought that anyone would suffer a loss like this, but the fact that it happened to this family just breaks my heart. Evan's parents (my dear friend's younger brother and sister-in-law) are some of the warmest, most generous people you'll ever meet. They are good parents who love their children. This was a horrific, tragic accident.
Last night was the visitation. There are a group of five girls, including Evan's aunt, who accumulated each other over the years. At various times, we've all been closer to one or the other, but we've stuck together for years... through many ups and downs. The four of us not related to Evan all met in front of the church to attend the visitation together and offer some extra support to our dear friend. So many thoughts are going through your head at that point. We stood outside for a good twenty minutes, trying to make small-talk as though if we delayed long enough going inside, then none of it would be real.
In a situation like this, there are no words. There is nothing you can say to provide any comfort or make the pain any less. Certainly you can express your condolences and let the family know they are in your thoughts and prayers, but that doesn't help. All these thoughts are running through your head, pushing you to the brink of breaking down despite your best efforts to remain composed for the sake of the grieving family. Parents should not have to adjust their routines to a reduced number of children. They should not have to go through birthdays and holidays and milestones and vacations with a smaller family than before. Coffins should not be made that small. A six-year-old and a three-year-old twin should not have to grow up minus their brother. It's horrifying and heart-breaking.
I managed to compose myself enough to hug Evan's parents and to mutter something that at the time seemed appropriate. I hope it was. But, when I got to Evan's grandparents, I broke down. Oh how I love this couple. How many hours of my growing up years had they spent shuttling me to and from Wilmington? How much of their lives had they invested in me and my school projects and my 4-H projects and the crazy ideas their daughter and I cooked up together? And just because that's what great parents do. They become like parents to their kids' best friends because in a way those best friends are extensions of their own children. I just hated having to see them under these circumstances. Hated this whole thing for the whole family and I can't help but question God on why he couldn't have intervened for them. Why he couldn't have just made someone look sooner or made them realize they'd had a miscommunication over his whereabouts or made someone lock that stupid gate. If something isn't God's will, but it happens anyway, where does that leave us?
I guess it leaves us with questions. It leaves us as human. It leaves us living in a fallen world and hating it, but not being about to do anything about it except hope for the days when there is an new heaven and a new earth and no more sorrow and no more pain. It leaves us choosing if we are going to believe the promises of God and cling to them or strike out on our own to find a different way. I've considered the alternatives. I'm going to cling.
And I'm going to pray for Evan's family for the rest of my life.