I hope all of you town column readers will give me a pass this week for not writing a typical column this week. In all sincerity, I just can’t. Like so many in our community, my heart is heavy as a result of last week’s tragic car accident, and the things I usually write about seem so trivial today.
This is a tough one. We try so hard to protect our kids from pain and sadness. And we know, of course, that it is inevitable. No matter what we do, they will experience loss and grief, as we all have. But knowing it and seeing it are far, far different things. As adults, we’ve experienced this kind of pain before, and still, it is a pain like no other. For the kids, this is the first time many of them have experienced such a tragic loss. They are all so young, their pain is so raw, and their sorrow and confusion are written all over their faces.
Perhaps it’s because my children are in high school that this one seems to hit particularly hard. My kids were friends with Jake, Alia is one of Amelia’s best friends, and they both know Joe as well. And as the kids struggle through their own sadness and loss, they are doing their best to hold up others. Amelia has been by Alia’s side for much of the past few days. And Riley has stood solidly by his classmates as they mourn one of their own. I’m proud to see them being mature and responsible, and yet I am yearning to put them back in a little bubble where they don’t have to do such things, where they are still just kids, worrying about homework, or what to wear and where to go.
I was hoping that I would have something prophetic to share with you this week. That I would be able to write the magical words that would help our community heal from this loss. Alas, I don’t have those words. May all the families and friends touched by this accident know that the community is holding them in our collective arms.
To the Baird family, thank you for sharing your Jake with us. He brought joy and laughter to so many, and he will be missed. There are simply no words that any of us can say to lessen your burden at this time. But take solace in knowing that he was a true friend to many. And he was loved dearly. And he will be dearly missed.
To the families of Alia and Joe, we are thankful, as you are, that they were spared. May they recover, physically and emotionally, as quickly as possible, knowing that we all stand behind them during this time.
And to this caring Island community, continue to love and support each other. If there is one amazing thing about Island life, it is the way we pull together during the most trying times. And this is definitely that. Hug each other often. Tell people you love them. And take good care of one another. It’s not very prophetic, but it’s really all I’ve got.