It’s been hard to settle into writing something for this blog in past weeks. Every time I sit down to cobble some words to the page, they seem trite and superficial. How do you confine great, empty feelings of loss into mere words?
New Brunswick has been robbed of much of its future in recent months. Car accidents have stolen nineteen young people…gone with the passing of a single breath.
Last summer, Harrison Trimble High School lost five teens – one young girl in July; four boys in a single car crash in September. They were just teenagers doing what teens do. Having fun.
In October four more teens from Kent County. Gone.
Days before Christmas, my own Albert County lost three young men – Shaun Williamson, Dana Butland and Kris Irving - when their car left the road and flipped into Shepody Bay.
Then this past week, images of the Boys in Red from Bathurst - Codey Branch, Daniel Hains, Nick Quinn, Nick Kelly, Javier Acevedo, Justin Cormier, Nathan Cleland and teacher, Beth Lord - have filled our newspapers, TV screens and our hearts.
I delivered a eulogy at the funeral of a dear friend last week - an elderly man who drifted quietly away after a long, well-lived life, leaving each of us with special memories. Part of it included this quote from Carl Frederick Beuchner, which is, perhaps more appropriate than any words I can find within my own heart:
"When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are.
"It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me.
"It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.
"For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I'm feeling most ghost-like, it is your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I'm feeling sad, it's my consolation. When I'm feeling happy, it's part of why I feel that way."
Yesterday, I stood outside in a gentle snowfall and caught several large snowflakes on my bare hand. I had just a moment to appreciate the unique fragility of each one before they were gone...and I was left with a single drop of water in my palm. Just snowflakes in another form. I touched my lips to the water.