Our village is grieving.

A 17-year-old young man, a friend in the choir and theater departments of our high school, was killed in a car wreck this afternoon.

Middle Sister and The Boy sang and acted with him (and his older brother) through their high school years, both in school and extracurricular ensembles. He stood in our living room over several weeks last spring to rehearse with the legendary “Eight Random Guys” group for which The Boy inherited leadership. This group performs a “golden oldie” at the final concert of every school year. Last spring it was “Walk Like a Man.” Our young friend also participated in an awesome group of five who did a Pentatonix number at that concert – “Love You a Long Time.” It brought the house down.

I spent hours visiting with his parents as we waited in support of our kids at day-long festivals and competitions, as we worked together behind the scenes of concerts and shows, as we served on the board of the booster club.

This kid was larger than life on stage. As a freshman he brought the entire auditorium to its feet after a solo. His father, a Pentecostal preacher, has a grin and a personality that could light up an entire city. His mother is the most gentle, loving, generous woman I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. And she loves her boys with a passion that I’ve always recognized as a mirror of my own for my kids.

Today she lost her baby. I cannot begin to imagine how she will survive.

I also don’t know how our choir director will hold our kids together. Only five weeks ago a young man on our football team scored a touchdown, collapsed on the sidelines, and died of a brain aneurism the next day. Two of our basses in the top choir were his teammates. These kids were already hurting. It is too much to contemplate.

I do know our village is coming together. Phone calls and texts have been flying between parents and students. Students and alumni are gathering this evening to comfort each other. We will cry together, and we will hold each other up.

But nothing will erase the fact that a member of our family is gone.

Our young friend on stage with The Boy in "Guys and Dolls." The young man was nominated for a city-wide award for his performance.

Our young friend on stage (red tie, third from left) next to  The Boy in “Guys and Dolls.” The young man was nominated for a city-wide award for his performance.


6 thoughts on “Loss

  1. It is so hard for me to read posts about the loss of a loved one. To lose a child at a young age, must be heart-wrenching.

    This post transported me to my daughter’s middle school choir performance a few days after one of their classmates was killed in a tragic accident. I will never forget how many young people stood on stage, singing their hearts out, with tears streaming down their faces. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. It was a pretty powerful, and healing moment for the community.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this young man.


      • I just read this, it is a quote from an article on Mindful.org—it helped me. Every time I hear of the grief/loss of others, it brings back my feelings of loss as if it were yesterday. Anyway, here is the quote:
        When a young person dies, we’re tempted to think they lived too small a percentage of their life. In truth, they lived the entire life given to them, and remembering that helps us to celebrate that life. – Barry Boyce


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