Last Friday night, a neighboring town suffered a tragic and heartbreaking loss when the star quarterback of their high school football team died after being hurt in a game.  The cause of death according to the medical examiner was massive internal bleeding due to a laceration of the spleen (which the ME determined was abnormally enlarged thus making it more susceptible to injury).

I didn’t know Evan Murray, the young man who lost his life last week.  I don’t know his family, nor do I know his friends or his girlfriend.  But, the story of his life and his tragic death has moved me, bothered me, deeply saddened me, and made me take pause to appreciate each and every moment for what it is.

As mothers, our children are the greatest gifts that we could ever be given.  We are there from the beginning as we are charged with guiding them, watching them grow, and helping them find their way.  As mothers, we look at our children, the optimism on their little faces, and we dream big for them.  We find joy and relish in their accomplishments; and we can only imagine what their futures may hold.  We don’t really think (or at least we try not to) that they may never have one.

As a mother whose son plays football, I try not to think about what can happen as I watch my son play his heart out each week.  I cringed when he gets tackled as I know the risks associated with a contact sport.  But I let him play because he loves the game.

My son and his teammates, along with teams from all over the region have been honoring Evan Murray’s memory by showcasing Evan’s number and his school’s colors somewhere on their own team uniforms.  My son, whose only 10 years old, and his fellow teammates now wear the #18 on their helmets in Evan’s memory.  My son has told me that he plans to leave the number on his helmet for the whole season telling me, “Mommy I didn’t know him but I am leaving his number on my helmet to remember him.”

My heart breaks for the Murray family and the terrible loss that they have suffered.  I pray for them – a family I don’t know but whose loss has touched the hearts of so many people.  It is my firm belief that the true testament to the character of a person can be found in the lives that they have impacted and in the legacy that they leave behind.  Evan’s is a story that has reached well beyond his family, his friends, and his community and impacted so many who never even knew him.  For many of us, this has been a tragic reminder that every day is a gift.  There are no guarantees for a tomorrow …  live life to the fullest today….