I had just flown back into town and was excited about turning my iPhone on to get all the e-mails that I couldn't check while traveling for what seemed like an eternity. I had been in Europe for a family wedding. As I sat in the airport shuttle, I watched the pinwheel of my phone work hard to pull up the e-mails that had been waiting to come in to my inbox. And finally there they were. I scanned through and noticed one from a dear friend titled "our friend Anna's son."
I couldn't have imagined the tragedy that would be revealed inside. I opened it. Read it. And then read it again and again as my heart sank and my breath held. How could that happen? Could my friend be wrong about what happened. Then I read all the follow up e-mails wishing someone would say something about a mistake or that by some miracle Anna's 12 year-old son had actually survived. But all the e-mails expressed the same thing...sorrow, sadness and heartbreak for this a wonderful woman and her dear family.
As the tears flowed I kept trying to make sense of why this would happen. How this could happen. But mostly I thought of the unimaginable grief that Anna and her family were going through right now. That 's what it is, unimaginable, the kind of grief that a parent must feel when they lose a child.
Even the idea of it is terrifying let alone the reality.
I went to her blog to see if there was any information about how we in the blog community could help and I saw that her last post was about the kids first day of school and there he was, her beautiful son dressed for the 7th grade. My heart stood still looking at his image. What could I possibly do to help this amazing mother with her unimaginable grief? There was nothing I could think of that could come to close to being appropriate or helpful. So I said nothing. I felt paralyzed by the tragedy.
Then I got an e-mail from my friend, Kate, that talked about using words. The same way that we had come to know Anna and she us, through our blogs. And it felt right and appropriate.
Sorry doesn't begin to express how much sorrow I feel for the tragedy that Anna and her family are enduring.
But that is what I am, sorry that they have to go through this madness, sorry that a beautiful life had to leave this earth so early, sorry that the waters of that creek were so strong that they could take him from his family and friends, sorry for the incredible pain that his friends and family will have to endure, and sorry that their life had to change forever.
The light around this darkness may be that this family is surrounded and loved by their community and friends, that this beautiful boy's soul will be in peace, and that life and love will help this family go on and be happy again.
UPDATED: Please visit the blog of our mutual friend Kate, to see others who have been moved to write for or about Anna.
AND: If you would like to do something in the way of a donation, I have heard that the family has requested they be made to Samaritan's Purse.