When I was a senior in high school I spent one crisp October day attending THREE different funeral services for THREE 16-year old best friends who were juniors in high school. These 3 lovely girls were on their way to morning swim practice the Friday of Homecoming less than a mile away from school when a very drunk man ran a red light ending their life. Even at the age of seventeen it was not lost on me how difficult that day was for the girls’ parents.
The thing I remember most about that October day was the final service of the day. A shy, pretty girl slowly walked up to the alter to read her final letter to her best friend. The girl had suddenly lost her father earlier in the year making this day more heartbreaking for her. Through tears while holding a teddy bear she said words I will never forget “Don’t worry my dad will take care of you now.” I was in awe. It still amazes me today how a 16 year-old girl could create such striking words for her final send off to her best friend.
What a wonderful thought. Those who have passed before us are waiting to help us once we transition to heaven. It was the first time I had ever looked at death with a sense of hope. I have never forgotten those words and I never will.
Fast-forward many, many years to a cloudless September afternoon where I once again found myself standing in the sun watching a family grieve over a child taken too soon. It was a beautiful, difficult day. I say it was beautiful because the sun was bouncing off ever corner with warm arms wrapping comforting hugs around us. Nothing keeps the clouds away in Chicago on a September day but Little J had the heavens smiling down on his mom and dad.
My sweet, sweet cousin lost her 5 month old son in December 2011, which made me question “why?”. While we may never know why Ben-G was taken from us so soon it brings me comfort to know he has been waiting for Little J to join him.
To Little J, you brought so much light to everyone and I know your light will continue to shine from above. Take comfort, our little friend, knowing you have another angel waiting to take you under his wing to be your wingman forever more.