Thursday, May 22, 2008

For SCC and Family

I have a clear picture of the sunny summer day when I was perhaps seven or eight, with its blue sky and green grass and the grasshoppers languishing on our dusty gravel driveway. My mom came home from the store, I think, and I wandered up from playing by the barn as my dad also came out to greet her and then suddenly turned serious, trying to find the way to tell her what he'd learned that day as a fire/rescue volunteer. "Something bad happened today," he said. "Mary Anne Wilson ran over her own son in their driveway."

I remember my mother gasping and holding onto him, crying, as I shuffled around nearby, half-playing, trying not to look like I was listening in as my dad told how the boy had been riding his bike fast down their long, curvy, country driveway as she drove up. This woman was a local teacher and had three or four boys ranging from a little younger than me to around my older brother's age. Our small town knew them well and I'm sure extended much grace, and yet . . . the shadow of what happened hung over her for a long time. In a few years she returned to teaching.

I read this morning that Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman lost a daughter in a driveway accident. And while it's strange to me in a way to be part of blogging about the tragedy of a family I don't even know--somehow feels a little borderline gossipy--I keep flashing back to that moment in my yard when I saw my mom's heart break for another mother's lost child. And we do have a connection (and I don't just mean that whole smart-aleck autograph incident) because their family helped unite ours by giving us a grant to help with adoption expenses. And so my heart and prayers go out to them, and I ask for yours too.

1 comment:

RMMcDowell said...

Heart-breaking seems to put it so lightly, you know? We who have used it so loosely have done a grave disservice to the English language, leaving us the same word to use for this horrible, "how-can-God-allow-this?" tragedy as a teenage breakup or a too-early departure on American Idol.

I can't stop thinking about their family and how this loss seems almost worse than any I've encountered . . . not only does the grieving last a lifetime, so, too, does the self-blame and the wonder if, somehow, others blame you too. I pray most for their son and for them as parents who have endured what I can only imagine is the hardest task of parenting--how do you bury one child at the accidental hands of another, both you have longed for and loved so desperately? And how do you live when you daily long to take the place of both of them?