I look down at the post and read what my 15 year old sent.
“I knew that boy who died.”
I was unaware of the fact that a teenage boy died a few miles from here and of the circumstances surrounding it. All I knew was at my age, I am still shocked to find out people my age pass away, because, they also are too young to die. How could someone so much younger possibly comprehend this. They simply cannot, which is probably what led to the circumstances of the tragic death. Children often feel invincible.
The boy was driving, way too fast, and swerved to avoid hitting a pedestrian, careening into not one, but two trees. The car was ripped in half, and the child was thrown out of the car, sustaining a massive brain injury, which he succumbed to later in the hospital. He had went to a different high school from my daughter after middle school so she did not know him well anymore but she remembered him fondly and found it hard to grasp.
That evening, his close friends gathered, lighting candles and crying in each others arms. I cannot imagine the grief of losing a close friend at such a young age. I feel like most children think that they and their friends are all invincible and this contradiction multiplies the grief they feel. I think the only thing harder to process than your own mortality is that of your children. I hope these parents find a way to process this and learn to live with this, because getting over it is not in the scope of possibilities. This will haunt them forever.
This morning, my daughter and I walked about half a mile to the local police precinct to look at the car. It was overwhelming to see a car that was hard to even logically rebuild in your mind. I think she needed to see it to believe someone she knew, who was so young, was gone forever. I needed to see that she saw how quickly and drastically a decision can change your life. She had been recently asking about learning to drive and I was already apprehensive, but honestly, I was less apprehensive about her driving, than the fact that she would have opportunities to get in the car with other young drivers.
His friends will never forget him. They will often stop at certain pivotal moments and their life and wish he was there. They will think of him every year on his birthday. His face will never change, he will never age, but I pray that maybe, he becomes the angel on their shoulder to tell them to slow down and stay in their lane when they find themselves becoming reckless in the future.