My son Shane stayed after school yesterday to catch up on some school work, he is a senior this year. He sent me a text to make sure I would be able to pick him up later. Of course, I text back.
Thirty minutes later another text: he has heard that two of his friends have been in an accident and it is very serious. “idk what to do. I’m scared.”
As I arrive at the school I see that I am not the only one, grim faced and frightened, making my way to my own beloved child. Moments after I enter the school library where the children have gathered, the announcement is made. Ryan didn’t make it.
The community wails, sobs, and collapses into and onto each other in disbelief, in terror, in anguish. Small-town life in Mossyrock has tilted into tragedy and we are all in danger of falling. We cling to each other. We slide. We falter. And we try, again, to hold on.
There are no words. We have no words. Shane tells me that school is very quiet today. “It’s completely silent,” he says, “Except Mr. Nelson laughing cuz Ryan has In-School Suspension today. ha.”
Shane and I had talked about grief and laughter last night and again this morning. He is prepared for the laughter and is able to welcome it.
Ryan was a toddler when we moved to Mossyrock. His older brother and sister played on my soccer team. His brother was a good friend of my eldest son and I have spent a lot of time on sidelines, on bleachers and in stands with Ryan’s parents. A LOT of time. Ryan always made me laugh. He was the type of kid that warmed my heart just looking at him.
The laughter of fond remembrance has healing power.
Shane made it through an hour and a half of school this morning before he sent me a text to say that he had checked himself out and is “just going around the school to see what I can do.” That’s my boy. He’s a healer. He has a talent for loving people right where they are and a calming, practical, forgiving spirit.
Before he left this morning I gave him a Protein Power Bar, a pack of gum and a pair of prayers that I wrote for him to carry in his pocket. (You think that, being that I am the tissue cozy “Share the Love!” lady that I would have given him tissues, but…) These prayers are from the Book of Common Prayer:
O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother Ryan. We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthy pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And then, if you will pray with me:
Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, deal graciously with the Rashoffs in their grief. Surround them in your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
TODAY’S EXERCISE: 2.1 miles (0.5 mile jogging)
YESTERDAY’S EXERCISE: 2.8 miles (0.84 mile jogging)