Today was a day I've been dreading since Monday.
That was the day that one of my good friends lost her 6 year old son in a truly tragic way. While playing on the playground, Nik somehow got a stone into his mouth and it lodged in his airway. Just one, 1 cm stone. It was so small that the emergency personnel that tried to pass a breathing tube into his airway didn't see it. So small that the Medical Examiner couldn't see it either. Not at first, anyway.
I've thought about my friend, her husband Dave and their 10 year old son Lucas on an almost constant basis since it happened. I can't imagine the pain they are experiencing. Well, I CAN imagine it, but I can't imagine how they could possibly live through it. They are living through every parent's nightmare.
So today was Nik's funeral.
I can't tell you how much I dreaded going to that funeral. I don't think anyone necessarily enjoys going to funerals, but in certain cases, where a person has been sick a really long time, or they are 99 years old, funerals are a logical event in the procession of things. But 6 year old, healthy little boys don't fit into that category. I found that throughout the week, when I would call Lisa or go visit her, I had put up some sort of barrier around my heart so I didn't let it get to me too badly. So today, I knew I would be confronted with the realization that this was all too real.
And it was really, really hard to sit in that church and say goodbye to a sweet 6 year old boy that I really didn't know all that well. What I DID know about him was that he always had a smile on his face, and he loved life. Like most kids do. The pastor of the church did such a nice job of making some sense out of this tragedy. He reminded us that Nik was exactly what God tells us to be like. Nik loved his neighbors and visited most of them quite often. He had the gift of hospitality and made others feel welcome wherever he went. He also had the gift of joy and spread it like crazy to others around him. He was an example of what love looks like. Nik's Uncle Scott also spoke and really gave a clear picture of just the kind of kid he was. I was laughing and crying at the same time.
It turns out, I needed to go to that funeral. I'm a big "everything happens for a reason" kind of person, so this whole event didn't really fit into that philosophy, and I was struggling with it. Right before I left I was saying goodbye to Lisa. This woman, who had just said goodbye to her baby ended up comforting ME. "I don't think God causes people to die", she said. "I think people get cancer, and people die in tragedies not because of something God allows to happen, but that He will be there to take them home when they die. I don't think God caused Nik to swallow that stone, but I'm convinced that He was there waiting to take him to heaven when he did." That makes sense to me. I can live with that philosophy too. Maybe sometimes things just happen.