A funeral for a boy.

A boy from our church died last week. He was in Henry's confirmation class.

He was 13.

It was an accidental death. An accident on a Thursday during Spring Break.

I didn't know this boy personally. I knew him by sight, from seeing him at church. Henry really liked him.

Their confirmation teacher called me last Friday night, just minutes after the kids were picked up by Big Daddy. I cringe now, remembering how I immediately assumed that Henry was in trouble for something, something he'd done at church.

I wish that's what the call had been about.

The confirmation teacher is a dad who volunteers every Wednesday night, just like I do, to take on the role of leading a wriggling, giggly group of 7th graders through the Bible. He has a son the same age as the boys in his class.

I thought of my group of girls. You really do end up loving these kids. My heart sank as I listened to this man talk about a boy. A boy who was here one day, and now, he isn't.

At first I scrambled to put a face to the name. And then it came to me. A cute blond boy (I know...how odd to find one of those in a Lutheran church in Minnesota) who always had a happy look on his face. He had that fresh-scrubbed, crew-cut cuteness, that boy-next-door, Norman Rockwell aura about him.

And now he's gone.

After Henry's teacher and I finished our call, I sent Molly a text: "Henry needs to call me, now. It's important."

I thought about waiting until he came back, on Sunday night, but didn't think he would be able to go all weekend without hearing the sad news.

My kids have never had anyone die.

Sure, they've seen it in the movies, they've seen celebrities go.

But they've never known someone, like met them, talked to them, gotten to know them...and then lost them. I wanted to tell Henry this horrible news because I knew it would hit him hard. I wanted him to be in the company of someone who loves him, who understands him and would let him absorb the information in his own way.

And that's what happened. My boy let out a sound that you don't want to hear any kid make. My boy cried for the other boy. He asked what happened, why it happened, and was I sure? I talked to him for a bit, tried my best to comfort him over the phone (damn these away weekends), and told him that we'd go say goodbye to this boy. Told him we'd go to this boy's funeral.

A funeral for a boy. That doesn't make sense.

Boys should be getting cleats for baseball and dreaming of weekends at the cabin and shooting hoops as the sun sinks into the pink/orange horizon on cool spring evenings. They should be getting taller and have crackly voices. They should be trying to flirt with girls in that wonderfully awkward thirteen year old manner.

They shouldn't be having funerals.

That doesn't make sense.

Tomorrow I will take my son to say goodbye to this boy. I will sit back, quietly, and watch another mother go through something that no mother should have to endure. We will see a father paying his last respects to a son. Family members and friends who are most likely still just a little bit unsure if this is all real.

I will hold my own boys, and my girl, a little bit tighter for the next few weeks. My friends and I will discuss this tragedy, and talk about how we hovered over and stalked our babies and toddlers, how we capped outlets and locked medicine cabinets and gated stairs. To keep them safe. And how cruelly ironic it is that when our kids get "bigger", when they reach that Golden Age of ten, or twelve...or thirteen...we finally exhale and assume that they're safe from harm.

A funeral for a boy.

That doesn't make sense.


  1. What a poignant post, Jenny! Thank you for writing it.

  2. During a hs football game last year, a player fell down and died during the game. He was only 16 years old and I had the same feelings. Going to a funeral for a boy shouldnt happen. I coach the cheer team and I had to comfort them (they watched it happen...), and it was my job to talk them through it. Time will heal your little boy's heart. I found that they do want to talk about it and that seemed to really help them...

    Good luck.

  3. Just doesn't seem fair does it? Makes the saying.. everything happens for a reason seem very untrue. Thinking or saying God needs an angle, doesn't seem to make much sense either.
    3 weeks ago, we had a 6 year old die. I happen to be on the road when the police came racing down at 120 mph. Found out the next what had happened. I just thought .. how many times my boys played with ropes. How many times we said, it's nice out , go outside and play. How quickly 1 accident can crush a whole community.
    Hugs! Kelly

  4. SO sad, and tragic. I feel your pain Jenny...you know I do. Its the worst thing(s) i've ever had to endure. Just be there for your kids, answer their questions, and hug them.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...