This morning Tanner, my eldest son, and I went to a funeral. The funeral was for a friend of his, a 15 year old absolute gem of a boy. On Monday, without warning, he collapsed in class and died shortly thereafter. The actual cause of Nick's death has been identified as natural, but is still unknown. Our schools, and the community at large, have been in shock since.
The service today was lovely - the church was full beyond capacity, filled with teachers, teammates, classmates, and friends - the sadness in the room was palpable, and I did my best to bear up for the sake of my son, who was working hard to maintain his composure. The music, performed by the school's music teacher on piano and her brother on violin, was achingly beautiful, and so much more soothing than the typical strains of organ music. Pictures of Nick surrounded the altar: with his cat, cuddled with his sister, in a cub scout uniform.
My son knew Nick as a fellow Star Wars afficionado, and as the brother of Madeline, who has been in his class since kindergarten. I have known the family through my work at the school. It was Maddie who made me weep this morning in a particularly poignant moment, as her father visibly wept, and she laid her head on his shoulder, whispering. Her father kissed the top of her head, hugged her, and whispered something in return. I dissolved. I do again as I type.
My heart is leaden tonight - heavy with sadness for Nick's family, who will find themselves no longer a tight quartet once extended family return to their lives, but a trio. My heart breaks for Maddie, who will no longer be walking to school with her big brother, deep in conversation and utterly engaged. I wish beyond anything that I could do something for Paul, Tamara and Madeline, but this is of course beyond the capacity of anyone to mend.
My mother feels that as long as they have their faith, they will get through this. Me? Well, my faith has been shaky since my late teens, and this makes me question, question, question...
No answers, only questions.
We will return you to your regularly scheduled knit chat tomorrow. Thank you for your patience, and indulgence. Godspeed, Nick...