My #2 son came home to California today after being away at school in Utah. Normally, this would bring me such joy and happiness, but today was different. The look in his eyes when he arrived was difficult because I could see he was tortured. He had come home to attend the funeral of a friend he had grown up with. This friend played youth football with my son, attended the same high school, graduated the same year, and now he's dead. The reality of this was apparent in my son's eyes.
There comes a time in everyone's life when they have to accept death in one form or another. For me, it came early. When I was 6 years old, my baby brother died at 7 1/2 months old. I didn't really grasp the meaning behind it, but I hurt non-the-less. As I remember the young man they are burying today, it makes my heart ache for his parents. I struggle with the reality that this didn't have to happen, but I pray those who knew him will think long and hard about the decisions they make from this point on. Young people sometimes believe they're untouchable, that it couldn't happen to them. Sometimes they take foolish chances and make stupid decisions. It's nothing new, and it will continue on from generation to generation. But hopefully, after this result, it might help someone make a better choice in the future.
I believe that when you die, there is more. I believe in eternal marriage and eternal families. I feel comfort in this knowledge knowing when we lose someone we care about, we'll have the opportunity to see them again. I hope my son believes this too, and can feel some comfort from this belief. I'm sure that his sorrow stems from losing a friend much too soon, and the reality that it didn't have to be this way. I admire his determination to be there for his family, and to focus on the good aspects of the person he was. I'm sure the family will be comforted by his insight, and I am proud of the loyalty he shows to those he cares about. I look forward to spending these next couple of days with him, and I'm grateful that I'll have more time to spend with him in another week once the shock and grief has softened a bit. It comforts me to know that those who die will live on forever in our hearts.