Monday, September 7, 2009


What a weekend. Friday was a great family day hiking, even if I can't figure out the video and am too tired to care anymore. Saturday and Sunday were just work. We are all struggling with a new computer system hospital-wide and were all crabby, but it wasn't horrible.

This morning... there was an email (ok, several!) from church about the pastor's son. He committed suicide in the wee hours of the morning, at their home. Twenty one years old, with the struggles of not liking college, not knowing what he wanted to be when he grew up, dating on and off again with another girl from church, finding a job, getting his EMT license and most recently deciding to go to Paramedic school. Nothing awful in my 35 year old head, but rough to a 21 year old.

I did not know Justin well, but I liked what I saw. He was a great young man, struggling a bit to find his way, but generally on the right path to being a happy, bill-paying, productive young man with a bright future. He loved music, and loved rocking the praise band at our contemporary service. He could rock at 8:30 am on a Sunday, and had plenty of energy to do so. He was a child of God. He loved music, loved God, and loved helping others. He loved his truck, his family, his friends.

And now, my heart breaks for Debbie, his mom, and Chris, his brother. Justin has gone to be with God, deciding (for whatever reason we may never know) it was a better place for him. Deb and Chris are left to pick up the pieces of their hearts and the pieces of their lives and fit them back together not into what they were, but into something different, for Justin took with him the life they all knew yesterday.

Today, we went to the zoo. What else do you do? While their world has fallen apart, the rest of the world still continues to rotate on it's axis, and my children do not understand that I just want to cry and hold them and keep them safe from monsters and the dark and growing up. And so Tom was superdad while I intermittently melted. Evan asked how they knew it was Justin and not a bad guy, and I am a little ticked at Justin for making me explain this whole thing to my highly intelligent but anxious kid. I was asking Evan in the car on the way to the zoo if he wanted to go to church with me to a prayer service for Justin and Debbie...
Me: "But Debbie won't be there tonight."
Evan: "Why not, Mom?"
"Because she is very sad."
Colby: "Is she sad because she lost her little boy?"
"Yes, she is very sad because she lost her little boy."
Colby: "Did she love that boy?"
"Yes, she loved that boy very much."

As I love my boys, and God loved Jesus and Justin and the rest of us sinners, she loves Justin and Chris.

I think the thought of losing my boys, of burying one of them, is what is bothering me the most. To plan your child's funeral. To not be able to go to their room and find comfort in the rocking chair that I have spent so many nights the last 7 years in. Debbie can't find comfort in Justin's room at the moment. And I'm a little ticked at him for taking that away from his mom. Dammit Justin, you were still a newbie EMT, but I'd have thought you had seen enough to not do it at home!

Kleenex, please...

And that prayer service? It was packed tighter than Christmas Eve. He had no idea how many lives he touched. I am sure Deb's not ready to deal with much right now, but I hope she and Chris felt the love overflowing from the middle of town to the west side. As a pastor, her role is to comfort and support us. She has been a rock in times of need, a voice of reason in insanity, a hug, kleenex and prayer in sorrow. We all want to comfort her now, but it's a little crowded and she needs space.

The echo from the prayer service to the many many young kids in high school and recently graduated was to choose life and find help. Choose life. Choose life, and the folks around you will support and walk with you through any struggle. I hope Holly, his girl, can begin to choose life again as her pain heals. That Debbie and Chris can choose life, one day or one hour at a time, whatever time frame they can deal with.

A small town mourns for many things. A young life lost. Warning signs unseen, left to be second-guessed by all. A pastor hurting beyond belief. Her church grieves with her.

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