I know death is a daily occurrence, and for those in the funeral business, dealing with it, or helping others deal with it is a daily issue. Most of us, however, don’t see it, hear of it, or experience it on a personal level very often. And when we do, it’s usually not very graphic.
My heart goes out tonight to a young man somewhere in Ascension parish. I don’t know his name, but I know he’s struggling and needs prayers – as do a whole bunch of other people.
Debbie and I went to the outlet mall tonight (we’re the exciting type who goes shopping for our anniversary date). As I sat on a bench outside while she shopped, a young man (18 or 20) sat down next to me, talking on his cell phone. He was polite enough to ask if his cigarette would bother me. As he talked, I heard him telling the person on the other end about something he’d seen earlier. He told this person “I don’t know how talking to someone about what I saw is going to help. I mean that kind of thing never leaves you.”
He talked a little longer, told the other person he loved them, and hung up (btw – is “hanging up” the right term for ending a cell phone call?). As he stood up to leave, I had to stop him. I told him it wasn’t really any of my business, but I had seen a couple of cars on fire with people in them, and that he was right – that sort of thing never leaves you. But, when you talk to other people, it does help you understand that you are not alone.
He then started telling the story. As he stood outside at the community college campus with some friends, they heard something snap and looked around to see a student falling from a utility pole, and a metal piece from the top of the pole fall on his head (the student was in a lineman training program). As a registered first responder he ran over to help. A nurse on the scene was performing CPR, but they couldn’t save him. He didn’t know the guy, but it was someone he’d spoken to at school several times. That was 9:00 this morning, so he said that was all he could see where ever he went all day.
I told him that he was right – he’d never forget it, it would never go away. But I was sure they’d have people at the school to talk to and he really should go see them. Or at least talk to the other students – anyone who could reassure him that he’s not alone. I told him a few other things I can’t remember, trying to encourage and lift him up. By this time, Debbie was standing there, wondering what in the world we were talking about, but knowing it was serious. As he stood up to leave, and shook my hand, she gave him a hug.
I’m praying for this kid tonight, and all the others who were there. I hope you’ll take a minute to do the same.